Sometimes we buy beef and we need to cook it later either because of the time or to make a sudden change in our dinner program, which leads to keep the meat in the fridge for another day. As it is known, raw and cooked ground beef does not last long in the fridge. So your best solution would be to freeze it, but not in any way because there are steps and ways you should follow in freezing and defrost to assure that our beef is good without dangers or a change in flavor. So here’s the ultimate guide to how to properly defrost it.
How long does ground beef last in the fridge?
Beef should be kept in the fridge for one or two days, either it is frozen afterward or cooked. When we decide to store it, it must be in the coolest place in the refrigerator, so it’s preferable to place it on the bottom shelf of the fridge and avoid any liquid dripping on it causing contamination according to Butcher Cara Nicoletti.
The fridge keeps bacteria from growing but it doesn’t prevent it entirely. That’s why the freezer is the best choice for long-term storage.
How To Tell if the Ground Beef is Good to Use?
According to the International Food Network (IFN), ground beef should never be slimy to the touch whether it is raw or thawed. So you should discard the beef if it’s acquired a smell. Butchers say that “fresh beef has a subtle, clean, ironic smell. So if yours smells fishy, or if it smells strong in general, it’s probably not good to eat anymore.”
Color is a good indicator of freshness, but not always. Because ground beef that has been frozen can sometimes change color from red to brownish-gray due to a lack of oxygen or the introduction of oxygen into the freezer, but it can still be good to eat. But if the meat has only ever been in your refrigerator and his color turns brown, it is probably no longer good, and the smell and slimy feel would confirm this.
Frozen meat is usually good for a while, but The Kitchn reports that a buildup of ice crystals inside the package may indicate that it has lost its moisture. The meat can still be eaten, but it may not be as delicious.
What is the Shelf Life of Ground Beef in the Freezer?
Moisture loss is one of the main reasons why frozen ground beef loses flavor after letting beef in the freezer for a long time. It is true that meat can technically last forever in a well-cooled freezer ( that remains at 0°f), it also has a “best by” shelf life if cooked ground beef stored in the freezer for two to three months because some moisture is lost during cooking process.
How to properly defrost Ground beef?
We can use many ways to defrost beef, but you should avoid thawing it on the kitchen counter, as this exposes meat to harmful bacteria for a long period of time. Instead, when we pull it from the freezer we can keep it in the fridge overnight to gradually thaw (on the bottom shelf to avoid juices from leaking onto other foods). If you need to thaw it faster, you can also use the microwave to defrost it or by using a zippered plastic bag and immerse it in water for two to three hours until thawed, it is best to change the water several times to ensure it stays cold, then you cook it immediately for safety.