So, you’ve visited your favorite meat counter and picked up a couple pounds of fresh ground beef! Or you stocked up and purchased 25 pounds of frozen ground beef to have on hand for simple meal making. Awesome – ground beef is simple to prepare and full of nutrition. Don’t let that stuff go to waste by improperly storing it!
Fresh Ground Beef
If you purchased fresh ground beef out of the meat case, keep it refrigerated! Get it into the refrigerator as soon as possible after purchase. Your refrigerator should run at 40*F or less to preserve freshness of all foods and slow bacterial growth. Plan to use that ground beef within one or two days.
Frozen Ground Beef
Ground beef that you plan to store in your freezer should be appropriately wrapped:
- Freezer paper
- Plastic bags made for freezing
- Aluminum foil
While this ground beef can be stored for a very, very long time in the freezer, it DOES loose quality over time. We recommend storing ground beef around 6 months. That being said, ALWAYS mark your ground beef with the date of freezing so you can keep track of storage times.
Thawed Ground Beef
The safest way to thaw ground beef is in the refrigerator. Keeping it cold while defrosting prevents the growth of bacteria. Sometimes, people will defrost in the microwave or even in cold water. To do this, you need to first seal the ground beef in a water tight plastic bag. Rule of thumb: after you thaw ground beef, thaw or refreeze after one or two days.
Cooked Ground Beef
Ground beef should be refrigerated quickly after cooking – within 2 hours or 1 hour is the temperature is above 90*. Keep this product in the refrigerator for around 4 days OR store cooked ground beef in the freezer for 4 months. Just make sure that when you reheat any of this, that the internal temperature reaches 165*.
See - simple! How do you keep your house stocked with ground beef?