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5lb Beef for Stew - in deep freeze - for almost 5 years! YIKES!

who would still use it and how? I hope not to throw it out - found it on the bottom of freezer - about $16.00 worth. HELP please!

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    1. re: weezieduzzit

      In it's original packaging from Costco.

      1. re: smilingal

        As much as I hate waste I'd guess that's got some pretty bad freezer burn.

    2. sunk cost.

      you spent that money 5 years ago. i would not toss good money after bad on this. sorry.

      1 Reply
      1. re: hotoynoodle

        me, too -- things do begin to lose taste/texture after long periods of time -- and they can pick up off flavors from other things that have been in the freezer.

        The money issue is a non-issue -- I'm sure you bought clothes 5 years ago for $16 that have already been tossed in the trash...this is no different.

        It's not about safety -- it's that I don't want to spend more money (wine, veggies, etc) and time and effort to try to make something edible that probably just plain doesn't taste all that great any more.

      2. If you look at the meat - still frozen - and it has whitish patches on it, it's probably freezer burned. But if it looks ok, all normal coloured, I would defrost and use it in a highly flavoured concoction - like a curry or a long-simmered stew with plenty of red wine and whatnot. You can also just cook it and chop it up for dog food, if you have a dog. Or give it to someone who has a dog. A shame to throw out meat when it can actually be of some use, even if just pet food.

        Lots of time the stuff at the bottom of a deep chest freezer stays in surprisingly good shape, even frozen for a long time, because there's no temperature fluctuations down there. I've made some surprising discoveries in mine, many of which were entirely edible way past any imagined best-before date.

        1. If it makes you feel any better, last week I discovered 5 year old turkey sausage at the bottom of my freezer. I knew the age from the sell-by date on the original packaging. There were a lot of ice crystals in the interior. I pitched it without a 2nd thought. Could not imagine that it would have any flavor left.

          1. Throwing the beef out now is roughly equivalent to having thrown a penny in the street every day for the last five years. Let it go.

            1. Ahhhhh. Ok. Thanks all..very unlike me to ditch anything...but there was no majority rule...it was unanimous. Nyleve...I never cook for my dog but how do you suggest using this if I would?

              3 Replies
              1. re: smilingal

                I would just add some water and simmer until cooked through. Then chop up and repackage into smaller baggies - you can freeze those. Dogs don't seem to mind if the meat is chewy so you don't have to cook until tender. If your dog likes carrots, you can chop up a few of those and simmer with the meat. If you feed this to your dog, mix just a bit of it into his regular food - pure meat is just too rich for some of our pooches.

                Its funny, I only feel this way about meat. Anything else that's suspicious I would pitch. But when something has actually died for me, I feel a deep sense of obligation to make some use of the meat. It's really not about the money at all.

                1. re: Nyleve

                  I agree with Nyleve - your dog would love it. And as far as I know a lot of dogs love carrots - do include them.

                2. re: smilingal

                  My dog got REALLY SICK from eating Omaha steaks that were in the freezer for two years. Probably not related to being frozen but I'd not chance giving my dog old meat after that horror show

                3. Agree with others...toss it. I wouldn't even feed it to my dog.

                  1. the medical bills would be much higher....

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: perk

                      freezer burnt food isn't likely to require medical attention from the consumer end. it's TOO frozen, not insufficiently so.

                    2. Of course you can still eat it. People eat mammoth meat that is 10,000 years old without dying. Why should you be worried about 5 years?

                      Let it start to thaw, cut some up, and stir fry without any spices or sauces. Take a nibble. I am sure you will be pleasantly surprised.

                      3 Replies
                      1. re: INDIANRIVERFL

                        This is exactly what I would do. But there seems to be such an outcry to throw it away, that I suggested the dog food option. People - unless this meat had thawed at some point and had a chance to spoil, it will not make you sick. This was never suggested by the OP. The concern was about freezer burn which only causes deterioration of flavour and texture, not illness. And personally, I'd want to test it out first because there is probably a 50/50 chance that the meat is fine.

                        1. re: Nyleve

                          Ditto. I'd thaw and taste. It's not going to kill you.

                        2. re: INDIANRIVERFL

                          It all depends on how "Deep" the freeze was. In my freezer the fat starts to go rancid after 2-3 years and it develops a clearly "off" smell. I *never* throw anything away from never hesitate to throw away foods with that rancid fat smell.

                        3. Wondering....is the thought that the efforts to cook this are wasted because it wouldn't taste good....or can it make one sick? In which case...could it make the dog sick?

                          4 Replies
                          1. re: smilingal

                            I don't think it would make one sick. It has been in the freezer, so no microbes would have been growing. It just would not have any flavor because of freezer burn.

                            1. re: smilingal

                              If the meat has a good color after thawing, cut a thin slice off, do a quick fry using s&p and give it a taste.

                              1. re: smilingal

                                The only danger in feeding it to pets is upsetting their GI tracts by letting them gorge on it rather than just supplementing their regular food with small amounts of it.
                                And keep in mind that sudden consumption of a LOT of fat all at once puts dogs at risk of pancreatitis, which is painful and potentially lethal. But that's a scenario like a beagle eating a whole pound of raw bacon in one sitting.

                                If it's freezer-burned, it will smell rancid. Rancid fats are a problem for the liver. Thaw, then trim away the surface until you get to meat that is normal in color, and normal or close to normal in smell. Then cook and chop or shred it for your pets, or someone else's.
                                If you don't want to bother with any of this, call a nearby animal shelter and ask if they want it - they'll probably be all too happy to take it.

                                1. re: greygarious

                                  freezer burn and rancidity are NOT the same thing. at all. rancidity requires oxidization and can make animals and/or humans sick. freezer burn will not make you sick -- it just will taste awful.

                              2. Thaw it completely and give it the smell test. Was this piece of beef cryovaced? If so, there is a chance you can trim the freezer burn and still make that beef stew.

                                You certainly should not throw the meat away without thawing, smelling, and inspecting.

                                Several years ago I got serious about a semi-annual freezer inventory when I found three 12-ounce t-bone steaks in a regular zip type freezer bag that were three years old.

                                1. if it has been frozen well and when defrosted smells and feels fine I would personally not worry about safety and not hesitate to feed it to dogs - they will not complain of freezer burn or toughness - this would be my take - not "wasted" but not suffered through either.

                                  1. $16.00 is nothing compared to a long gnarly stay in an ICU........Sunny C.C.R.N.

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: MamasCooking

                                      If the meat is thawed and cooked properly, how could illness be a result of the consumption of the beef in question?

                                      1. re: LuluTheMagnificent

                                        Chow is so great! As I have been vascilating with each new post...and as the beef keeps thawing in the fridge...
                                        knowing that I pride myself on turning out delicious food in my kitchen BUT NEVER A SUCCESSFUL STEW....this would /should not be a challenge with a good outcome. OUCH...it is getting tossed. Thanks to all!

                                        1. re: smilingal

                                          OUCH indeed! Can't we frugal types persuade you to cook it for your pets, someone else's, or the needy dogs/cats at your nearest animal shelter?

                                            1. re: greygarious

                                              would the nearest shelter actually take it?

                                              1. re: sunshine842

                                                I suppose that depends on local regulations if it is a municipal shelter. The breed-specific shelters I've interacted with, which are the work of volunteers, surely would.

                                                1. re: greygarious

                                                  there are shelters around me that won't even take actual dog kibble if it's been opened....

                                            2. re: smilingal

                                              At least wait for it to thaw completely to see if it is freezer burned. If it is, I would toss it and not attempt to trim it.

                                              1. re: smilingal

                                                Sanity prevails. Or should I say sanitation? *An ounce of prevention is better than a pound of cure*. I am sure you saved yourself a *shit* load of problems by tossing it:)

                                                1. re: smilingal

                                                  Did you throw it away? I hated to be harsh, but I have been around these frugal types and food obsessives who can't throw anything away, and I've seen the insanity first hand. They can be sweet people, smart in ALL other areas, but around money or food or both, they can have insane behavior. Throw it away. If you really wanted it, you have have eaten it 5 years ago. Also, like mama's cooking said, why risk illness to you or your dog over $16? We can debate all day about whether you'll get sick or not...why risk it?

                                                  edited to add:

                                                  Just saw the post above mine. So funny. Right it is insane huh? Great minds think alike. ;)

                                                  1. re: LuluTheMagnificent

                                                    The worst case I saw was on Netflix streaming on Extreme Hoarders or something like that. It was a very well educated ( at least Master's Degree level) Asian woman earning over six figures per year in NYC. This poor deluded soul lived off dumpster diving food. She also refused to use her central a/c and tried to feed her friend from college and his wife dumpster food. She was clueless about the potential health risks of taking discarded food from dumpsters and consuming it. She really thought that she was A-OK doing that. To me she was about *this close* to an LPS conservatorship (or whatever conservatorship status they have in NY).

                                              2. what would walt disney do?

                                                1. It's technically Dry Aged so the meat has probably increased in value.

                                                  1. I recently got my quarter share of a cow, and was going through the freezer to make room. Found a package of cryo-packed stew meat labeled "2011." I just made a stew out of it, and it tasted fine, texture a little mushy, but the flavor was good. I avoided a creepy mother and child reunion, and got a decent stew out of the bargain. I'd go for it.

                                                    8 Replies
                                                    1. re: nsenada

                                                      cryopacked is a little different -- there's little to no air inside the package, so the possibility for freezer burn is quite a lot lower.

                                                      It's the "texture a little mushy" that makes me reluctant to pour good ingredients in with "a little mushy" meat.

                                                      Your end result can only be as good as your ingredients, and I would rather toss the meat than waste more money making something that nobody likes.

                                                      1. re: sunshine842

                                                        Yankee thrift is a curse that I have yet to cast off...

                                                        1. re: nsenada

                                                          Not a curse, a virtue, especially if combined with a desire to respect the animal whose life was taken to feed you and yours, by not unnecessarily consigning it to the garbage heap.

                                                          1. re: greygarious

                                                            I come from a family of hunters -- I was taught at an early age to respect the fact that something had to die for me to eat.

                                                            I was also taught, however, to not eat food that had begun to decompose.

                                                            1. re: sunshine842

                                                              My final comment on this thread will be to point out, as others already have but some do not comprehend, that there is no reason to assume that a cut of meat which has been wrapped and kept frozen for several years has decomposed or in some other way become harmful to feed to people and/or pets.

                                                              The only legitimate grounds for debate in the OP's circumstances are whether or not there's any significant freezer burn or rancidity and if not, how the meat will taste.

                                                              1. re: greygarious

                                                                exactly. it might not taste great flavor or texture wise, but if it has been in deep freeze, it's not ganna get you sick. it simply might not be worth the price of accompany ingredients to make it palatable.

                                                                1. re: greygarious

                                                                  virtue would have been found 3-4 years ago with this hunk o' meat.

                                                                  1. re: greygarious

                                                                    I never said it was going to make anybody sick....and stated so in so many words.

                                                                    My point, that some still seem hell-bent on ducking and detouring to avoid, is that there is no reason to sacrifice good wine, good vegetables, good effort, and a goodly amount of time to a meal that isn't ever going to be better than freezer-burned, off-tasting, dried-out meat.