How to Best Store Your Meats
Learning the best way to store your meats will extend the shelf life of your food. You probably have experienced this before; You start preparing your meals, get the rice going, start steaming the kale, then reach for the fish or steak, open up the packaging and it reeks. The smell is horrendous. How can this be? You just bought it yesterday! Now what are you going to do for dinner?
Follow these tips below to prevent this from happening again. Reduce waste and save money. Also, by learning how to extend the shelf life of your meats will allow you to buy in bulk and purchase meats on sale. While others might steer away from this because of fear of spoilage before use, you can take advantage of these deals.
Buy the Freshest Meat
If you are buying already packaged meat, like ground beef or bagged fish, look at the expiration dates. The ones with the best dates are usually placed at the back of the pile- store employees push the closest dates to the front to try to sell those out.
Use Meat Within a Few Days of Purchase
If you are not planning to freeze, be sure to cook off meat soon after bringing it home. Meat usually keeps in the refrigerator for only a few days.
You can go by this standard:
- Ground Beef- 1 to 2 days
- Chops- 2 to 4 days
- Steaks- 2 to 4 days
- Roast- 2 to 4 days
- Poultry- 1 to 3 days
- Eggs- raw can last up to a month, hard boiled lasts for a week
- Lunch meat- 3-5 days if opened, 2 weeks unopened
Freeze Meat Properly to Avoid Freezer Burn
Be sure to wrap meats tightly with plastic wrap. Avoid any air pockets which breed freezer burn. Follow up the plastic wrap with butcher paper and masking tape to ensure best insulation. Make sure to write on your package the date frozen and you the ‘First In, First Out’ Rule.”
Vacuum Seal is Best
If able to, use vacuum seal for both freezer and refrigerator storage. Again, label dates and use ‘First In, First Out’.
A Few Tips
- Always be sure to wash your hands before and after handling of meats. Also wash cutting board or area that you are preparing the meat.
- Store meat at the bottom of your refrigerator where it is coldest.
- If freezing, look for discolored areas- which could be freezer burn- be sure to cut off these areas before preparing.
- If meat smells sour, it could be spoiled and you should discard. Eating spoiled meat can cause medical problems, so if you have any doubt in its freshness, throw it out.