To begin with, ground beef is an essential diet ingredient that people of all ages love. Because of its use in making meatballs, burgers, lasagna, savory pies, sausages, and tacos, it is essential in the kitchen. But, people have various concerns about its storage because it can last for a minimum period. If not stored correctly, it can spoil within days.
If you have the same concerns and are looking for the right platform to collect all necessary information about this matter, you have landed on the right spot. Here, we have come up with a complete guide that can help you clear all the doubts and beat out all the myths. So please read it all to explore more about it.
How Long Does Ground Beef Last in the Fridge?
As we all know, grinding the meat will expose more of its surface directly to air, making it more likely to offer attachment spaces to the spoilage organisms. And there are things that make it go bad faster than steaks or other large pieces. This way, such meat will be affected by both pathogenic bacteria and spoilage. In general, bacteria causing spoilage are not harmful, but they can cause food to develop bad taste and odor and lose its quality.
On the other side, pathogenic bacteria are hazardous to human health and can tend to cause food poisoning. To add more, spoilage makes such bacteria sustain in your food. Therefore, though it is a bare fact that spoilage bacteria can not make you sick, you should still discard soiled ground bacteria to avoid the consumption of disease-causing bacteria.
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, a ground beef package can last in the fridge for at least two days from the date of purchase. Afterward, it's better to either cook it or freeze it. Freezing is a great solution that can make it last longer, for months.
How Long Does Raw Ground Beef Last in the Fridge?
The answer to this query merely depends upon the storage conditions to a large extent. Keeping the raw ground beef refrigerated is considered the best practice. Soon after purchasing, ground beef may be refrigerated for one or two days. This practice makes meet remain safe if it is appropriately stored even after its expiry date.
To maximize the shelf life, it is best to keep raw ground meat in its original store packaging when refrigerating. To do so, try not to open the package until it is ready to use.
If raw ground beef is left out at room temperature, it should be discarded after about two hours. This is so because, at temperatures between 40 °F and 140 °F, bacterial growth is so rapid to spoil the beef.
To further enhance the shelf life, freeze the raw ground beef. To add more, it is good practice to place beef in the freezer before the elapse of the number of days shown for refrigerator storage.
Overwrapping the original store packaging with an airtight heavy-duty aluminum foil, freezer paper, or plastic wrap can maximize its shelf life. To add more, it can also be kept in a freezer bag to prevent freezer burn.
How Long Does Cooked Ground Beef Last in the Fridge?
How long-cooked ground beef will last depends upon the storage conditions. The good practice is to refrigerate it within two hours of cooking. In the refrigerator, such beef can last up to three to four days if stored properly.
To further enhance the shelf life, freezing it in heavy-duty freezer bags or airtight containers is the best option. In the freezer, cooked beef can last for around two to three months. To add more, the constantly frozen meat at 0°F can last for an indefinite period.
At room temperature, bacteria get a chance to increase at temperatures between 40 °F and 140 °F. In this way, cooked ground beef must be discarded after only two hours at room temperature.
How to Freeze Ground Beef
As Chef Gavin Said that freezing is the way to maximize the shelf life of ground beef beyond just a couple of days. To make it stay for about three to four months, it is necessary to keep it at 0 degrees F or below in a freezer. In an excellent freezing process, wrapping the original store packaging with freezer paper, heavy-duty aluminum foil, and plastic wrap is a good practice. To add more, placing it in freezer bags can prevent it from freezer burns. If in any way, you have opened up the package, you can shift the beef to a safe freezer bad and label it with the date.
At the time of use, take the bag out and place the package of ground beef in a large bowl full of cool water. Later, submerge the meet by making use of some heavyweight. After doing so, leave the beef to thaw for at least five to ten minutes. Already frozen ground beef must be used immediately. It should not be refrozen.
How to Know if Ground Beef Is Spoiled
It is much better to be safe than sorry, so sticking to the two-days only rule is best. It means that you should purchase meat to be used only within two days to avoid any mishappening. Storing masses of beef is not encouraged as it takes extended practice to store it and use it for long. Various factors can help you tell if the ground beef has gone wrong. The most important of them include:
l Sour smell
l Slimy texture
l Dull color (brownish-gray)
These things are the indicators of spoilage of ground meat. If you have noticed any of the following factors, it would be best to discard that meat. Otherwise, you can consume harmful organisms causing food poisoning or other issues.Get All the SHAN ZU Knife Essentials: SHAN ZU Knife Series
4 Ways to Tell If Ground Beef Is Bad
Some straightforward indications can tell you if the ground beef has gone wrong. Among them, the most important ones are described as under:
Inspect the texture: A way to check your ground beef is by conducting a touch test; inspecting the texture. The fresh ground beef will have a firm consistency. This beef will break apart on squeezing. On the other hand, a slimy or sticky texture while cooking raw beef can be an indication of spoilage bacteria. So, you should toss such beef immediately. It would be best if you washed your hands after touching meat in order to avoid the spread of bacteria from one surface to another.
Check the expiration date: Both the sell-by and expiry date provide an additional guideline to determine the condition of ground beef. A sell-by date means how long a retailer can display a product for sale. If we talk about ground beef, it can be refrigerated to be eaten safely up to 2 days after this date. On the other hand, an expiry date refers to the day a product is likely to begin going bad. It tells the people that your food will have the best quality and date before this date. You must not eat it after the expiration date unless it is completely frozen. In the case of freezing, ground beef can last up to four months.
Check the color: The color of the ground meet may change because of the following factors:
l Microbial growth
l Exposure to oxygen
Fresh raw ground beef is red because of high oxymyoglobin levels. It is a pigment that forms when myoglobin (a protein) reacts with oxygen. But this s right for the surface of it. The interior shows a greyish brown color because of a lack of exposure to the oxygen. So, do not worry; it is not a sign of spoilage. But, if the meat starts turning brown or gray on the outside, it means that it is the beginning to rot. To add more, mold can cause spoilage, so you must throw away the leftovers if you notice any gray, fuzzy blue, or green spots.
Perform a smell test: To determine whether ground beef has spoiled, the fastest and most straightforward test is to smell it. It is applicable to both cooked and raw ground beef. Fresh ground beef has a barely perceptible scent, and rancid meat has a putrid and tangy odor. Once it is spoiled, it is not safe to eat. Increased growth of spoilage bacterial species causes this change of scent. Also, it can change the flavor too. If you fail to notice any smell but see the signs of spoilage in texture or color, it is safe to throw it. The reason behind this is that pathogenic bacteria can not be smelled.
How to Tell If Cooked Ground Beef Has Gone Bad
It is much hard to examine cooked beef than raw beef. As cooked beef has other ingredients, it becomes hard to see its slimy texture or touch it. But, you can use the following things to check cooked beef:
Smell: The most significant indicator that cooked beef has gone wrong is its foul smell. If it is still good, it should have an aroma that it had before you placed it in the fridge. But if it hits differently, like a foul stench or sour, it is spoiled and should be thrown.
Taste: Anything off, like a sour taste or a slimy texture, should prove you to discard it. Spit the spoiled ground beef if taken mistakenly, and rinse your mouth if it is gone wrong.
Appearance: It is difficult to tell if cooked ground beef has gone wrong by its physical appearance. But, you can check for fuzzy growths, molds, or dark spots on the meat to determine if it is still good. If you get any indication of mold on the surface, then throw the cooked ground beef away.
Side effects of eating bad beef
It is dangerous to eat as it may contain pathogenic bacteria responsible for foodborne illnesses. Its symptoms include vomiting, stomach cramps, fever, and diarrhea. The most commonly found bacteria are Salmonella and Shiga toxin-producing E. coli. Outbreaks of infections related to them occur frequently. To kill these bacteria and reduce the risk of food poisoning, cook it thoroughly and use a meat thermometer to identify that its internal temperature reaches 160°F.Get SHAN ZU Knife GYO Knife Series: SHAN ZU GYO Series
How to safely handle ground beef?
As mentioned below are some tips for handling ground beef safely:
1. Check the expiration date and color of the meat.
2.Choose a cold package without scratches or holes.
3. Please place it in a bag on the lowest shelf to prevent leaking juices.
4. Refrigerate leftovers within 2 hours of cooking, and eat them within 3–4 days.
5.Freeze beef within 2 hours of purchase. The fridge temperature is below 40°F.
6. Keep raw meat in the cart to prevent cross-contamination or the spread of bacteria.
7. Never leave ground beef at room temperature for more than 2 hours.
Why Does Ground Beef Have a Short Life in the Fridge?
Like other food materials, beef is susceptible to bacterial growth. Bacteria grow rapidly in temperatures between 40 and 140℉. So, use beef as soon as possible to prevent their growth. Proper storage is very important to preserve freshness.
Tips on how to Store Ground Beef?
While storing ground beef, there are different things to pay attention to. First of all, ensure that the temperature of the refrigerator is appropriate. Fridges should have a temperature of 40℉. To check it, use an appliance thermometer to check the temperature. Your fridge can have a built-in thermometer as per your model. It is necessary to keep food fresh and slow bacterial growth.
Besides temperature, where a package of beef is stored matters as well. Store it on the bottom shelf. It often has juices containing bacteria, and coming into contact with some other cooked or raw foods can lead to cross-contamination. However, when stored in a proper manner, it can last in the fridge for about two days. For a long-term solution, wrap it in some airtight covering, bag, or aluminum foil.