Food For Thought
Keep your cool with these meat storage tips
By: Leanne Ely
I got some great feedback on a post I shared recently about how to maximize the life of your produce by learning where to store it in the fridge. So, I thought it would be a great idea to expand on that theme a bit by talking about how long you should be keeping that expensive local, grass-fed and organic meat and wild caught fish you’ve been investing in. Y’all make me so proud! 🙂
First let’s talk about poultry storage.
Nothing has quite as off-putting a smell as chicken that’s past its prime. Eew. When you come home from the market, ideally you’ll be prepping your chicken for use later in the week (we have many cookbooks that can help you turn that plain old chicken into a masterpiece!). But, if you need a day or two to gather your bearings, keep that poultry in its original packaging and use it up within a day or two. I recommend putting the package of raw chicken on a plate in the fridge so the juices don’t drip, contaminating whatever they touch.
Never consume poultry past its best-by date. That’s asking for serious trouble. And you do not want to mess around with chicken.
If you’re not sure when you’ll be using it, wrap the original packaging in a resealable freezer bag and keep it in the freezer for up to three months. If it will be frozen longer than that, use resealable freezer bags to wrap the chicken in portions in order to prevent freezer burn. The best way to cut down on freezer burn is to purchase poultry in vacuum-packed bags or use your own vacuum sealer contraption.
Shellfish storage. Shellfish storage. Selfish shortage . . . what a tongue twister! However you say it, you need to keep that shellfish and seafood good and fresh when you get home with it.
Keep fish in its original packaging and store it in the fridge for no more than two days, preferably on a bowl of ice. Ideally, you will eat it on the day you bring it home. To freeze fish, put a resealable freezer bag around the original packaging and keep it in the freezer for a month or two.
With live shellfish like clams or mussels, you definitely don’t want to keep them around longer than you have to. Eat them soon after bringing them home. While they’re in the fridge, make sure they have some air, so poke holes in the packaging. And place them on a bowl to prevent juices from leaking into the fridge.
Beef, pork and lamb storage
Ground beef and stew beef should only be kept in the fridge for two days, and for up to four months in the freezer. Keep it in a cold spot of the fridge, preferably towards the back of the middle shelf where it’s good and cool.
Keep a plate under your beef (and any other meat, really) while it’s in the fridge so you don’t have blood dripping onto anything. Not very appetizing.
Beef roasts, pork roasts and steaks will last up to three days in the fridge, and for six months in the freezer.
Lamb chops and pork chops shouldn’t spend more than three days in the fridge and you shouldn’t freeze past six months.
Sausages should only be kept in the fridge for two days; they can be frozen for up to two months.
Remember that when you freeze meat, it will result in a drier finished dish. The more time it spends in the freezer, the less tasty a dish you will have. Try to buy only what you can use if you aren’t going to be freezing it in its marinade (which our freezer menus will help you with!).
Do you have any meat storage tips to share? Let us know on our Facebook page! http://www.facebook.com/savingdinner