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Jan 17, 2008 07:44 AM

How long do you keep certain meats in the freezer for?

I often put meats in my freezer that I find on sale and forget about them. How long is too long in your opinion?

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    1. Depends on the meat - chicken seems to dry out rather fast, so I try and use it within 3 months. But it also depends if you're putting it in the freezer the way it came from the supermarket, or repackaging into foil or ziplock bags. (I never do the former; always the latter.)

      You could just keep a handwritten list on the side of the fridge with what's in there so you don't lose track. Otherwise, this list might be a help. (I'll admit, I tend to go over the times listed for bacon and soups.

      There is someone who used to post on one of the AOL cooking message boards I contribute to actually defrosted and ate a turkey that had been frozen for 6-8 years. She claimed it was fine, but I'm sorry - I just can't believe that.

      2 Replies
      1. re: LindaWhit


        Thank you for the link, that's very helpful. I was skeptical as I have some chicken breasts that have been there since august/september. We only have two in my household and sometimes I just forget to defrost things for dinner.
        I don't believe the 6-8 year turkey story either!

        1. re: kimeats

          The list is a nice guide, but in general I'd say that there are very few raw meats that I've ever seen go bad in a freezer, and most of those were due to improper packaging. If you are careful when you wrap and bag it (or yes, jfood, use a foodsaver) you're pretty safe. August/September? 5 months is no time at all in freezer world. Cheeses, sauces, and eggs all love freezer world. Amusingly enough, it turns out the number one thing I tend to throw out from the freezer is ice cream.

      2. If this is going to be standard practice, buy yourself a Foodsaver.

        Jfood took out two burgers last night that he made and froze last June and they were juicy and had absolutely no freezer burn.

        9 Replies
        1. re: jfood

          the sad part is I already have a foodsaver :( I just have not been utilizing it.

          1. re: kimeats

            case closed. judgement for the foodsaver.

            jfood tried to use it with chocolate cake two nights ago. he thinks this was not a good idea. jury's out on that one.

            1. re: jfood

              LOL! Didn't it squish it? Methinks Judge Jfood might have overstepped the foodsaving boundaries of propriety with that one. :-)

              1. re: LindaWhit

                Not totally without some thought.

                Here was his thought-process:

                - he first cut into slices and placed on individual sheet of wax paper and onto a baking sheet. Sheet with cake slices into the freezer before leaving for work
                - when he got home, pieces were nice and solid
                - he cut a bag and gave it a shot.

                Well the frosting (a buttercream) held firm, but even with the cake being frozen, the were little concave indents with the cake (it sucked the little air right out of the cake). May defrost a couple of slices for the football games on Sunday and see about the taste.

                Hey, you gotta give him an E for Effort.

                1. re: jfood

                  I also have a Foodsaver, but haven't taken it out of the box. In the meantime, I double or triple wrap the raw meat in wax paper, and then wrap that in aluminum foil.This method has worked well for me.

                  I feel that chicken survives better in a frozen state than either beef or pork. I have kept chicken for up to a year using this method with good results. I try to use beef within six months, and pork in three. I've found that pork is the least freezer-friendly of the major meat types.

                  One other thing, I have a smallish stand-alone freezer of about 5 cubic feet where I keep my longer term frozen meats. It's not self-defrosting, so it keeps the meat at a constant zero degrees fahrenheit. Personally, I wouldn't keep raw frozen meats in a self-defrosting freezer for more than a couple of weeks.

                  1. re: jfood

                    E for Effort is definitely warranted. Would be interested to hear how the experiment works after defrost and taste-testing on Sunday!

                    1. re: LindaWhit

                      Well Ms Whit..., jfood with the first feedback.

                      Jfood could not wait til sunday and grab a piece out of the freezer as he walked in tonight. Then onto the counter for a couple of hours while dinner gets ready and eaten.

                      Then he opened the bag. Let's try to draw an analogy. Remember the first time you saw an Ugli Tomato and thought to yourself, how could that taste good. Then you tried it and it was wonderful. Well, that sorta happened. The cake went from a light and fluffy to a more dense (from the foodsaver squeezing the air out). Now jfood stared at the "rippling" piece of cake. OK the first bite. It was wonderful. The flavor was the same the texture of the buttercream was the same and the cake was a denser texture.

                      So are far as pretty, definitely gets a 1-2. For taste, gets a 9-10. So this will be in jfood repetoire for self-eating, but it will NEVER be served to anyone else.

                      Sometimes taste is better than looks.

                      1. re: jfood

                        "Sometimes taste is better than looks."

                        Agreed! And it all looks the same in your stomach anyway. :-)

                        1. re: LindaWhit

                          Good Morning LW, unfortunately it does look the same in the stomach, thatthe downside, but onthe tongue, the buttercream frosting, was about as good as jfood has ever eaten.

                          Gotta figure what to cook/eat for the football games tomorrow.

                          Thanks for all the input and have a good weekend. :-))

          2. I know that the question relates to solid uncooked meat, but I just had an experience with homemade chili I thought worth sharing. I noticed a container of chili in the freezer a couple of days ago, a surprise leftover from my most recent batch, I thought. I decided that would do fine with a salad for dinner. Thawed in microwave and reheated on stove-top just before serving. Ate it with great gusto (and some nicely grated cheese) the first night.

            There were leftovers so I made a 'taco'salad' with the remainder arranged on lettuce, cut-up corn tortillas, avacado, salsa, sour cream and toms for the gang at lunch the next day.

            Great!!! two full meals out of forgotten chili. It was only when I was cleaning the container last night that I noticed that the stuff was actually not last months' or even last years' but 2 years old! We are all still here and no tummy trouble, so LOL (and hang a pair of those fine-print glasses on the freezer door:)

            1 Reply
            1. re: LJS

              Wow LJS, glad to see you did not keel over from tainted chili :)

            2. the food is not likely to have spoiled in any way unless your auto defrost is getting things too warm. food in a deep freeze will keep longer and better at the lower temp and without the outer surface warming from the defrost cycle. The big isssue is freezer burn for meat. If the food is wrapped properly (personally I like to wrap in plastic wrap then in a ziplock (don't have a food saver). I have pulled things out of the back of the freezer well over a year old and they were fine.