Ok! So here is the story.
You have bought fresh, extra lean, ground beef from the market and kept it in the refrigerator. Now suddenly you remember that your beef is at work, for a longer period and you are not sure if it is edible or not.
Pretty much, a common story of every household.
In case you are wondering how long does ground beef last in the fridge then probably you cannot get your answer in one line.
Because there are many factors ruling the safety of your food.
Usually fresh ground beef can stay in the refrigerator for 1-2 days and 3-4 months in the freezer.
But frankly speaking it is definitely not the answer you should look for.
As food safety is of paramount importance, you need to learn it a bit deeper so that you can analyze the state of your food better.
Points To Consider While Storing Ground Beef In Freezer For Longer Period:
There are numerous factors depend on which you can finally come to the conclusion that how long does ground beef last in the fridge.
Here are some important points that you need to take care of while dealing with any ground meat.
Always Use Good Quality Ground Beef That Has An Extended Shelf Life:
One of the factors that largely affect the quality of your ground beef and the freezing period is the freshness.
If the beef is ground by you at your kitchen then surely the quality of the beef is unquestionable.
But in case the beef is bought from the supermarket which has a extended shelf life then probably it is added with preservatives and will highly influence and increase the freezing period.
Usually, after the expiry of the shelf life, you can cook the ground beef if it is stored properly.
The only way to store your freshly ground beef for months is to place it in the freezer and same goes for the supermarket packed meats. Only they are hazardous to your health.
Maximizing The Shelf Life Of The Store Bought Ground Beef:
The store bought ground beef has a low shelf life than the meat, ground at home.
In case you want to maximize the life of it in the refrigerator or in the freezer then keeping the packaging is recommended.
The packaging that comes with your ground beef keeps it in its perfect environment where bacteria cannot penetrate easily.
So to increase the shelf life of your packaged beef, keep it that way in the freezer.
Where Should Raw Meat Be Placed In The Refrigerator?
Knowing the correct position to store the raw meat can also extend the shelf life of the meat.
The raw ground beef can be stored both in the refrigerator and in the freezer.
In case you are grinding a large amount of meat and want to store it for a longer period then storing it in the freezer is the best idea where it can sit for 3 to 4 months.
Or, you want to use the ground meat within 1 to 2 days then you can certainly put it in the refrigerator.
How Long Is Ground Beef Good For Cooking In Room Temperature?
First of all keeping ground beef in the room temperature is a very bad idea. So, in case you are grinding your beef at home then do not keep it for a longer period in the room temperature.
Bacteria starts to grow rapidly at temperatures between 40 degrees F and 140 degrees F. So keeping your ground meat in the room temperature more than 2 hours can cost you to throw the meat in the dustbin.
How Long Does Cooked Ground Beef Last In The Fridge?
While storing cooked food, one of the greatest mistakes we do is to treat them lightly than the raw ones.
There is a common myth that plays in every kitchen, where the homeowners think that cooked food has better longevity than raw food.
They never ask the question that how long cooked beef can stay in the refrigerator.
But the truth is cooked ground beef also has an expiration date and can only last long up to 3 to 4 days in the refrigerator and in the freezer for 3 months.
And here ‘last long’ means they are hygienic to eat.
In case you are not sure about the day you are going to eat the beef again then keeping the meat below, ‘0’ degree Celsius in the refrigerator will be safe.
How Long Can Be The Thawed Ground Beef Stored In The Refrigerator?
After keeping the ground beef stored in the freezer, you need to thaw the meat before using it.
You can defrost the meat in fast or you can select to thaw it in the refrigerator.
Once the thawing procedure is completed you can again freeze the beef for 1 to 2 days.
But using the microwave or cold water for defrosting the meat, will need you to cook the meat immediately.
How To Maximize The Shelf Life Of The Meat In The Freezer?
The shelf life of the meat can be enhanced while keeping it in the freezer.
To do that you need to overwrap the original store package with heavy-duty plastic wrap, aluminum foil or freezer paper.
Or you can keep the packaged ground meat in another freezer bag to keep it safe from freezer burn.
How To Understand If The Beef Is Spoiled?
For the experienced cooks identifying the rotten meat is easy, but for the beginners sometimes it really seems confusing.
Well, in that case, our senses will come into great help. Usually, the meats that gone spoiled have slimy, dull flesh, and sour smell.
Also look for the color, as the fresh meat has reddish color whereas the spoiled meat has the brown color.
The gray color indicates the complete spoilage of the meat. So always buy meat which is of red color, though artificial colors are also added in huge amount nowadays.
So be aware before buying such deadly food.
Also, the freezer burns indicate that the meat has been kept for a longer period in the freezer. Unlike the regular ice patches, the freezer burns appear in more dull white patches.
If there are some few patches then maybe you can remove them, but in case there are more than enough patches then get rid of the meat because nothing is more precious than good health.
Clearly a one-line answer to the question how long does ground beef last in the fridge cannot guarantee the quality of your meat as it varies with many factors.
For assessing the quality and edibility of your meat you need to keep track of many important points. So that next time you encounter such a situation, you can alone take the right decision to make sure, you and your family are in a good health.