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hints & tips

How Long is Too Long to Freeze Meat?

October 31, 2021

Posted under:   hints & tipsprocessing

When you buy any food item from the grocery store, it is going to feature a “Best By” date. This means that the item you are purchasing can be considered fresh and delicious by or before that date. Afterwards, it may become questionable. Sometimes the items may be perfectly fine after that date, but it could be a gamble especially if the item is meat or dairy.

As a hunter who also processes your own meat, the rules are a little different. Your best by date is determined by your knowledge of how and when this meat was processed. Furthermore, you probably rely on freezing meat in order to store it so that you can pull it out whenever you need to. If you have come across this blog, then you have probable found yourself asking the following question:

How long is too long to freeze meat?

This depends on the type of meat and to what level it has been processed. Whole pieces of venison, like roasts or steaks, that have been properly stored and placed in the freezer will remain safe to eat and delicious for up to 9 months. Ground venison, on the other hand, should be used by the 3-month mark.

That said, meat has been kept at an uninterrupted deep freeze of 0°F can be stored for for longer than 9 months and still eaten; however, keep in mind that the flavor and the quality of the meat deteriorates over time. The longer it sits in the freezer, the less delicious it will be when you thaw and cook it.

What is the best way to prep venison for freezing?

  • Make sure you trim the fat. The presence of excess fat can cause the meat to go bad sooner and it can cause an undesirable “gamey” flavor.
  • Use freezer-safe containers. Start by wrapping the meat with wax paper, then freezer-friendly aluminum foil or plastic wrap. Seal the wrapped meat in a freezer bag and remove as much air as possible. Alternatively, you may want to invest in a vacuum sealer. This will protect your meat and save space in your freezer.
  • Label and date each package. This step is crucial, so you know exactly how long your meat has been in the freezer. This way you know to take out the oldest pieces first.
  • Space the meat evenly. As a rule of thumb, within a 24-hour period it is best to freeze not more than 4 lbs. per cubic ft. of freezer space.

How do you thaw the meat safely?

Move it from the freezer to the refrigerator a day or two before you plan to cook it so that it can thaw slowly. You can also use the defrost setting on your microwave if you need it to be thawed in less time. It is not recommended to thaw meat at room temperature.

Find all of the materials you need for processing and freezing meat at LEMProducts.com.