Strolling through the meat aisle of your local grocery store, you notice ground beef is on sale, so you grab a couple of packages in excitement so you can save a few dollars.
However, once you get home, you realize that there is no space in the fridge.
You also realize that there is no way you are going to eat all of this ground beef in a few days.
A thought pops into your head can I freeze ground beef?
Can You Freeze Ground Beef?
Of course, you can freeze ground beef. However, there are a few factors to pay attention to when freezing ground beef.
You must store the ground beef at the proper temperature, and you must freeze the ground beef as soon as possible.
This means you should go home immediately once you purchase your ground beef.
If you stop by a friend’s house or run other errands, time could easily slip away, and you could forget about your ground beef.
The longer the ground beef sits in your hot back trunk, the longer it will be exposed to dangerous temperatures, which could cause the ground beef to spoil.
It is best to keep the ground beef at or below a temperature of 40°F to decrease the rate at which bacteria grow and keep your ground beef as fresh as possible.
Is It Best To Freeze Raw Or Cooked Ground Beef
It’s better to freeze raw ground beef. Raw ground beef maintains its moisture content much longer than cooked ground beef.
When ground beef is cooked, moisture evaporates.
Therefore, when it is frozen, its quality will decline much faster than its raw counterparts.
How Long Can You Freeze Ground Beef
Ground beef will technically last forever in the freezer. However, it’s best to use ground beef within 4 months.
After 4 months, the ground beef’s quality will start to decline. The color, as well as the texture of the ground beef, will also begin to change.
Can I Freeze Ground Beef In Its Original Packaging?
Yes, you can safely use ground beef in its original packaging. However, there is one condition.
If you do not plan to use your ground beef within a few weeks, you can freeze it in its original packaging.
Ground beef’s original packaging is porous, so the exposure to air can diminish the ground beef’s quality the longer it’s stored in the freezer.
In addition to this, air exposure could also cause the meat to become freezer burned.
In contrast, if you are not going to use the ground beef within a few weeks, it’s best to remove it from its original packaging.
You can wrap the original packaging with a layer of foil.
How To Freeze Ground Beef
The easiest way to store ground beef is by wrapping it tightly with plastic wrap. The plastic wrap will prevent air from permeating the meat.
It also prevents other odors from penetrating the ground beef.
Alternatively, you can also wrap the ground beef with foil or freezer paper or place it into a ziplock bag.
You can divide your ground beef into smaller portions before freezing them.
For example, if you are using the ground beef to make burgers shape the ground beef into patties. Next, vacuum seal each patty using a vacuum sealing machine before placing them into the fridge.
The ground beef can also be placed into ziplock bags and flatten it with a rolling pin.
This makes it easier to store the ground beef as you can store it by stacking it in the freezer.
No matter which technique you use to store your ground beef, label it with today’s date and the portion size.
In addition to this, keep the ground beef at the bottom of your freezer.
This will prevent the ground beef from contaminating other ready-to-eat foods such as frozen vegetables or fruits.
If you are freezing several packages of ground beef, use the package that was placed in the fridge first.
How To Defrost Ground Beef
Since we are talking about how to freeze ground beef, we have to talk about how to defrost ground beef.
Defrosting ground beef in the fridge overnight is the safest method to thaw ground beef. Yes, it takes 24 hours to defrost.
However, it is the safest method since the ground beef will not be exposed to dangerous temperatures.
Additionally, if you do not get to use the ground beef right away, it will last in the fridge for 1-2 minutes.
Nevertheless, you can also defrost the ground beef in cold water. Simply place the ground beef into a ziplock bag and seal it tightly.
Fill a large container with water, then add the ground beef to the water.
You can place a plate on top of the ground beef to prevent it from floating to the top of the water. Let the ground beef sit for 20 minutes.
If your ground beef is still not defrosted, drain the water and add more cold water to it. Let the ground beef sit for another 20 minutes until it is defrosted.
Repeat until the ground beef is completely defrosted, then cook it immediately.
You can also defrost ground beef in the microwave. However, you must use the ground beef immediately.
Parts of the ground beef will start to cook. If you do not cook the ground beef immediately, it could become a breeding ground for bacteria.
Remove the frozen ground beef from its packaging and place it on a plate.
Heat the ground beef in the microwave at half power for 2-3 minutes flipping the beef and rotating the plate in 45-second bursts until it is fully defrosted.
Freezing ground beef is possible. As long as you know how to freeze ground beef properly, it will last up to 4 months.
So, the next time there’s a sale on ground beef, don’t be afraid to toss a couple of packages into your cart.
After all, you can freeze the ground beef and save it for a later date.