Is It Safe to Eat 2 Year Old Frozen Meat

Do you love stocking up on meat in bulk in the freezer? If so, you probably have some months or more of frozen food.

You might also have some questions like

  • Is It Safe to Eat 1 Year Old Meat – What About 3 Years or Even More
  • Is Freezer Burned Meat Safe to Eat
  • Is It Safe to Eat Frozen Food with Ice Crystals

Along with answering the above questions, this article provides some tips on the long-term storage of meat and how to thaw it properly.

These are essential tips to follow since your health and food safety is at stake if you eat any meat that has gone bad.

If you are wondering whether or not it is safe to eat two-year-old frozen meat, read this post carefully. We will discuss here the best way to store meat for future use.

Is It Safe to Eat 2 Year Old Frozen Meat

Probably all of us would agree that storing meat for two years in the freezer is already too long.

But is it still safe to eat it? Yes, given that it has undergone a safe storage method, the quality is still good. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, food products consistently kept at 0°F or lower are safe to consume.

What Is Freezer Burner and Ice Crystals - This Is an Example of Ice Crystals that Will Likely Lead to Freezer Burn.
What Is Freezer Burner and Ice Crystals – This Is an Example of Ice Crystals that Will Likely Lead to Freezer Burn.

The USDA also says that there is no need to worry about eating meat that is older than three months and it should be safe from pathogens if it is prepared and frozen properly.

However, if you know or suspect the meat went through a poor preparation or storage process, you should think twice about consuming it.

In fact, the longer the meat stays in the freezer, the more likely it is to spoil. By spoil I do not mean unsafe – but that it will start to degrade or lose its texture and taste.

So, if you want to keep the meat fresh, make sure that you freeze it immediately after purchase.

Is It Safe to Eat 1 Year Old Frozen Meat

But how do we know that frozen meat for 1 year is safe to eat? And how long does it stay safe after being thawed? 

Yes, you can eat meat that is frozen for a year, it is safe. You should do a visual inspection to check for excessive browning or the breakdown of the meat cells.

For me that is this old it is advisable to only thaw it in the fridge, not at room temperature.

Is It Safe to Eat 3 Year Old Frozen Meat
Is It Safe to Eat 3 Year Old Frozen Meat – It Maybe Safe – but The Taste Will Be Not so Good.

How Long Can You Safely Freeze Meat?

The safest way to freeze meat is by freezing it right as fresh as possible. Sometimes people buy a whole beast, have it butchered, and freeze it straight away.

Well prepared and clean meat as we already have said can last for more than 1-2 years. But like anything, there is an optimal freezing shelf life and that is typically 6-12 months before any loss of meat quality.

Does Meat Go Bad in Freezer

Meat does not typically go bad in a well-operating freezer.

The main cause of freezer meat issues is water content inside meat increases during freezing,

This can cause ice crystals to form and damage the cells. As a result, the meat becomes dry and hard, making it difficult to chew. 

Is It Safe to Eat 2 Year Old Frozen Meat
Is It Safe to Eat 2 Year Old Frozen Meat

What are the Signs of Bad Frozen Meat

 Several signs indicate that the meat is spoiled. These include:

  • A strong odor
  • Dark color
  • Soft texture (possible freezer failure)
  • Slimy texture or appearance
  • Greenish/brownish discoloration
  • Discolored fat

The first sign of bad frozen raw meat is its smell. You must never use meat that smells strongly of ammonia or rotten eggs. This means that the meat has been stored improperly.

The meat should look firm and dry. As mentioned earlier, if you see any of these signs, then it means that your meat is spoiling.

Is it Safe to Eat 2 Year Old Frozen Chicken

A two-year-old frozen raw chicken is typically safe to eat but expected it to have lost some of its original texture and flavor.

The longer it stays frozen, the higher the chance of losing its high-quality meat.

When defrosting a long-term frozen chicken, make sure that you let it thaw in the fridge.

Does Frozen Chicken Go Bad
Does Frozen Chicken Go Bad

You do this so that none of the meat ever goes above 33.8F (4C). Thus stopping any bacteria present from multiplying during the thawing process.

Can I Eat Frozen Chicken with Freezer Burn?

Freezer burn can happen if you do not seal it properly. Although it might get dry, it is still safe to consume the chicken.

Is it Safe to Eat 2 Year Old Frozen Pork

Pork that has been frozen for two years is usually safe to eat. However, it is important to note that pork that goes through improper storage methods could become infected by bacterial growth.

Therefore, avoid purchasing pork that may have been exposed to higher temperatures than the safe 33.8 F.

Pork, like chicken, can grow bacteria very quickly if not stored at a safe temperature.

This is an example of poorly stored Chicken in a freezer - this will not last for more than a week.
This is an example of poorly stored Chicken in a freezer – this will not last for more than a week.

Is it Safe to Eat 2 Year Old Frozen Ground Beef

Uncooked ground meat (whether it is ground pork or ground beef) that has been frozen for two years is generally safe to eat.

With ground beef make sure that it is packed well so that moisture can not enter. Ground meats are more susceptible to water and freezer burn than whole roast beef say.

Make sure that you also label it clearly with package dates so that you will not forget the start of freezing time.

How Long Can Deer Meat Last In A Freezer

Deer meat, like other red meat if clean and prepared well can last for 1 year and still taste good when frozen.

How to Freeze Meat Properly (Long-Term Storage)

Freezing is a great way to preserve food. But just like anything else, there are some things that you need to know when it comes to freezing meat. For example, you need to know how to freeze it properly. Here are the steps in freezing meat:

Make sure the meat is clean first. If unsure wash it and pat dry.

  • Wrap the meat using plastic wrap.
  • If you are going to store is a really long time Wrap it again with aluminum foil to avoid freezer burn. 
  • For Extra long storage, I recommend using a vacuum pack.
  • Place the wrapped meat in an airtight container or sealable plastic Ziploc bag. 
  • Label the bag or airtight container with the date of storage.

In addition, here are some tips on frozen meat products:

  • Always keep the meat in the fridge before freezing.
  • Never refreeze cooked meat.
  • Keep the meat in airtight containers.
  • Label the packages clearly.
  • Do not expose the meat to direct sunlight.

How to Thaw Meat Properly

There are three methods in thawing meat properly: in the microwave, the refrigerator, and cold water. Each method has its own advantages and disadvantages. So let’s take a look at each of these methods:

Microwave Method

This method is ideal for small pieces of meat such as steaks and chops. Here’s how to do it:

1. You simply place the meat on a plate and put it into the microwave.

2. Then, set the timer for 30 seconds and check whether the meat is fully thawed.

3. You need to cook the meat immediately after this so that warm parts of the meat do not grow bacteria.

Refrigerator Method

This method is best used for large cuts of meat. Here’s how to go about it:

1. Lay the meat flat on a tray or plate with edges so that no juices leak out into your fridge.

2. Cover it with plastic wrap.

3. Put it in the fridge.

4. Check the meat after 12 to 24 hours.

5. Remove the meat from the fridge if it is thawed enough.

6. You can then cook it

Does Frozen Chicken Go Bad
Does Frozen Chicken Go Bad

Cold Water Method

The process is simple:

1. Take out the meat from the freezer and let it stay inside the air-tight, freezer-safe container or bag. 

2. Submerge in a large bowl of water and let it thaw. 

3. Do not allow the water to go too far above room temperature since it can elevate bacterial growth. Change the cold water from time to time if needed. 

I do not like this method as it is inherently unsafe if meat is left our for more than two hours using this method.

Cook any meat very very well when using this method.

Does Freezing Kill Bacteria in Meat

While some may be killed, freezing does not kill all pathogens. Many can survive years in a freezer.

It is beyond the scope of this article to cover which can last a long time and why.

However, freezing does have its limitations:

1) Freezing destroys the texture and flavor of the meat.

2) Freezing makes the meat tough and dry.

3) Freezing may cause the meat to become discolored.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you eat a 3 year old frozen meat?

No, we do not recommend eating a 3-year-old frozen beef steak

What are the signs of freezer burn?

Freezer burn occurs when liquid gets trapped within the meat. This causes the surface of the meat to turn white. Some people call this “white meat.” There are several different types of freezer burns, like moist freezer burns, wet freezer burns, and dry freezer burns.

How long is frozen meat good for after the thawing process?

Once the meat is defrosted, it should be eaten immediately. After all, fresh meat is always better than frozen meat.