Huffpost Taste

How Long Can You Keep Meat In The Freezer?

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Before the invention of the freezer, snow and cold weather were the only ways to keep food cold. In order to preserve our foods, those who lived in cooler climates had to make freezers by digging holes in the ground, filling them with nearby snow and covering with straw. Food was gathered for more or less immediate consumption.

But in the mid 1800s, the refrigerator was invented. And though it took some time to become a staple in home kitchens, this appliance eventually changed the way we consumed and ate -- and we're not just referring to the inclusion of frozen TV dinners into our diets.

And yet today, we take our freezers for granted; the funny thing is, we don't even know how to fully take advantage of them. Most of us will throw a piece of meat or chicken in the freezer to prevent it from spoiling in our fridge. But then what? How many times have you thrown out a frozen piece of meat because, well, you're not sure how long it's been in there -- or how long the freezer can keep things fresh? You might be surprised to find that frozen meat can last in the freezer for a long amount of time.

We bet that a lot of good meat has been unnecessarily thrown out -- and that's just a shame. If you feel this might be you, take a moment to look over the meat guide below with information provided by the USDA. And with the use of a zip-seal bag and a permanent marker, you can avoid wasting your good food. Before you put meat in the freezer, you should always write the date on it -- that way you don't have to question how long it's been frozen. And, believe it or not, some meats can last in the freezer for up to one year.

Freezer times:
  • Cooked poultry -- 4 months
  • Uncooked poultry parts -- 9 months
  • Uncooked whole poultry -- 12 months
  • Cooked meat -- 2 to 3 months
  • Uncooked roasts -- 4 to 12 months
  • Uncooked steaks or chops -- 4 to 12 months
  • Uncooked ground meat -- 3 to 4 months

How do you keep track of foods in your freezer? Leave a comment below.

Now that you're properly equipped to freeze your meat, you might want a refresher on how to defrost it. Watch the video below to find out how.


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