Storing & Thawing Beef 101
May 26, 2016
We all know what it’s like — it’s 5:30 after work, the kids are home from schoolâ€¦ and they’re “starving”.
Or maybe it’s a hungry husband. Or just a hungry self! Dinner time approaches quickly on busy days, and it helps to have little life hacks here and there to help. Beef can be the perfect dinner solution with the flavor your family wants. Whether they’re craving the classics like spaghetti, or something totally new, it’s a life-saver to have a good amount of beef stored in the freezer for easy access (and to avoid the grocery store on a weeknight)!
Maybe you always have a few packages of frozen beef on hand. But whether or not you’re storing and thawing it correctly is a good question to ask yourself! We have a few tips that will help keep your uncooked beef as fresh as possible, and your kitchen a safe and healthy environment. You’ll also have a quick and delicious meal on your table in no time!
If your stock is low and you have to make a run to the store, grab beef just before checking out. If it might take longer than 30 minutes to get it home, consider taking a cooler with you to keep it in for the ride.
- Before you put the beef either in the refrigerator or freezer, think ahead to your weeknight meals. If you already have some planned, you could probably store it in the refrigerator (depending on the cut). Check out our refrigerator and storage guidelines beforehand. Some cuts, like ground beef, can only stay in the refrigerator for 1-2 days after purchasing.
- If you don’t have specific meals in mind, but want beef on hand for last-minute recipes, stick it in the freezer and check out our thawing tips below!
- Place beef packages on the lowest shelf on a plate or tray to catch any juices.
- If your beef reaches its maximum stay in the fridge and you still haven’t cooked it, go ahead and move it to the freezer!
- If you plan to freeze your beef, think ahead to what you might use it for. Try to repackage the beef into right-size portions for you and your family.
- You can freeze beef in its original package for up to two weeks. For longer storage, wrap in heavy-duty aluminum foil or place in plastic freezer bags, removing as much air as possible.
- Label each package with the date, name of beef cut and weight/servings. Practice the FIFO (first in, first out) inventory system.
- It’s best to defrost beef in the refrigerator, never at room temperature. We know, this is probably opposite of what your parents did growing up! Our defrosting guidelines will give you an idea of how long it will take for your beef to thaw.
- If you didn’t have much time to defrost, you can pop it in the microwave. Avoid the “defrost” buttonâ€¦ it can begin cooking the beef if you aren’t careful. Click here for a step-by-step guide to microwave thawing!
Keep it Clean
- Keep the raw meat and juices away from other foods, both in the fridge and during prep.
- Before you start cooking, wash hands well in hot and soapy water.
- Immediately wash all plates, utensils, cutting surfaces and counters that touched raw meat with hot and soapy water.