How Long Can Beef Be Frozen (And Why)?

Exact Answer: 6 To 12 Months In Freezer

Although freezing beef for an extended period is not recommended, it is possible to freeze beef for up to 12 months without significant quality loss. 

The key to keeping the beef frozen for an extended period is to store it in a moisture-free environment and use quick-thawing methods when one is ready to cook it. 

An adequately stored frozen beef can be delicious for a long time for cooking. This way, it is easier when it’s time to take it out of the freezer.

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How Long Can Beef Be Frozen?

TypeDuration
Frozen beef 6 to 12 months
Cooked beef3 to 4 days

Beef will stay fresh and edible for about a year if frozen. However, any surplus meat will also start to dehydrate and lose moisture during this period. 

Added salt does not help extend its shelf life, but it can help maintain the stable quality before freezing or defrosting. Some retailers may advise their consumers to use beef within ten days of purchase. 

However, this should only be considered a rough guide as the exact length of storage depends on other factors such as type of cut and fat content in the meat, among others. 

Ultimately how long a piece of beef stays good depends on not only one’s preferences but also what degree one needs it cooked at the time of consumption.

Tips on freezing beef below 40 degrees:

Tips for safe freezer storage of beef dates back to the 1950s. Meat should be frozen in a quality vacuum package, a can, a metal bucket with a tight-fitting lid, or an airtight food-grade plastic bag only if it is to be cooked within two days after defrosting. 

Beef can be stored at 40 degrees F for up to 1 year without any change in flavor or texture.

Anything longer than this and the risk of bacterial contamination from prolonged exposure happens. 

Bacteria love ambient temperatures of 35-40 degrees F. They will begin multiplying quickly, deep inside the meat, where they’re protected from harmful disinfectants like chlorine bleach diluted with water used on cutting boards and butcher blocks.

Why Would Beef Be Frozen For So Long?

One can freeze Beef for up to a year to keep potential contaminants, bacteria, and parasites out of the meat.

The aged beef tastes better because it’s tenderized due to the freezing process. The aging also increases the concentrations of carcinogens in beef, but this can be offset by cooking it thoroughly or not eating it too often. 

The FDA recommends that the beef be cooked to an internal temperature of 145 degrees Fahrenheit to kill any pathogens present. However, some people prefer lower temperatures for their meat–140 degrees being a popular choice. 

Freezing is also an inexpensive method for preserving food stocks if they are not used adequately within a reasonable time frame.

A common reason why beef can be safe while it’s frozen for so long is that the meat is destined for export to places where refrigeration may not be typically available or where it’s prohibited in religious observances. 

Another typical example would be floor-standing retail display cases in grocery stores, which often contain a refrigerated bottom section and an unrefrigerated top section so that people can see all of the options without opening every package individually. 

Overall, freezing beef safeguards food against bacteria, specifically pathogenic E, Coli bacteria.

Many people associate freezing with quality control. There are fewer volatile flavor compounds in frozen meat than in fresh meat; hence it might make one’s hamburgers tastier. 

The meat will also retain its natural juices better, which will result in an overall moisture product when it’s thawed and cooked. The last reason one may want to freeze the meat is for optimal taste after cooking or grilling. 

Conclusion

One might freeze beef for an extended period because one would freeze if it was in the process of being shipped but was delayed or held up for some unforeseen reason. 

It is essential to keep meat cold while shipping, so presumably, most slaughterhouses freeze their meat before shipping it to another location. This will allow them to resume shipping with minimal risk of spoilage once the product arrives at its destination. 

If the procedure is not done, one will have problems with bacteria and other uninvited guests spoiling the expensive shipment pretty quickly. 

References

  1. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/0309174080900182 
  2. https://ifst.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/j.1365-2621.1980.tb00978.x 
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