When you shop in bulk, the freezer immediately becomes your best friend. All of the foods that you bought but do not plan on eating in the near future can just be stored away in the freezer. This is where they will be kept good until you are ready to eat, but life can get in the way. You find other meals you want to try, and the meat you put in the freezer is soon forgotten. When you look in the freezer again, it has been two years. Can you still eat the meat?
It is safe to eat meat that has been frozen for 2 years. If the meat has been properly stored and well-wrapped, it should be perfectly safe to eat. As long as you see no signs of spoilage or freezer burn, it is perfectly okay to eat the meat that has been sitting in your freezer for two years.
Continue reading to learn more about eating meat that has been frozen for 2 years. Also, continue reading to learn how you can tell if your frozen meat has gone bad as well as tips for properly thawing your frozen meat.
How Long Can You Keep Meat in the Freezer?
Storing food in the freezer allows for the food to stay edible for a longer period of time. After a certain period of time has passed, however, the food will begin to spoil. This is the same for meats stored in the freezer.
While meat can last for a long period of time when kept in the freezer, it can be difficult to determine the exact amount of time that the meat will last before it begins to go bad. The length of time that the meat will last is dependent on what type of meat it is that you are storing.
It has been found that when stored in the freezer:
- Ground meat will last for approximately three to four months
- Fresh cuts of meat (like beef, lamb, and pork) will last for around four to 12 months
- Chicken and turkey will last for a year when whole
- Cut poultry will last for around nine months
- Cooked and prepared bacon can last for a month
- Cooked and prepared sausage can last for two months
Can You Eat Meat That Has Been Frozen for 2 Years?
You can eat meat that has been frozen for two years. As long as there are no signs of the meat going bad or freezer burn, the meat should be safe to eat.
According to the United States Department of Agriculture, food that has been stored at 0° Fahrenheit will always be safe as long as it has been constantly stored at that temperature. Therefore, as long as you have properly stored your meats, they should be good to eat after a period of two years.
It is best to eat your frozen meats before this period in order to avoid the worry that the meat has begun to go bad. As stated above, each meat has a different shelf life when stored in the freezer, so you want to take these into account when considering whether or not to eat the frozen meat that you have been keeping in your freezer.
How to Tell If 2-Year-Old Frozen Meat Has Gone Bad
The biggest signs that your meat has gone bad include either a change in texture, a change in smell, or a change in color. If any of these are noticeable on your 2-year-old frozen meat, it is best to throw the meat out as it may no longer be safe to eat.
There are a few specific important signs that you can look for when examining your 2-year-old frozen meat in order to judge whether or not the meat is still viable to eat. These important signs you should look for include:
- Mold is present on the surface of the meat. Mold is a sign of bacterial growth on food, so it is best to throw food away that has mold growing on it.
- The meat has freezer burn.
- The meat gives off a foul or strange odor. This is one of the most obvious signs that the meat should be thrown away.
- There is a slimy feel to the meat. This is another sign of bacterial growth.
Tips When Thawing 2-Year-Old Frozen Meat
When you are ready to eat your stored meat, it is important to know ways to properly thaw the frozen meat. Below are some tips you can take into consideration when you are thawing your 2-year-old frozen meat.
- The three safest methods for thawing frozen meat are in the refrigerator, in cold water, and using the microwave.
- Meat can take several days to defrost in the refrigerator.
- Keep the meat sealed in a plastic bag when thawing it in cold water.
- Change the water every 30 minutes when using the cold water method.
- Use the defrost setting when thawing in the microwave.
- It is not a good idea to use the oven as you could end up cooking the frozen meat by mistake.
- Never thaw meat at room temperature on the kitchen counter.
- Cook the meat as soon as it has finished defrosting.
It can be easy to forget the meat that you have stored in the freezer. If you find that you have kept meat in the freezer for 2 years, you want to make sure there are no signs of spoilage or freezer burn before you cook the meat. It is also important that the meat is thawed properly before you start cooking it.
You want to not let the meat sit in the freezer for too long. Different types of meat have different shelf lives when kept in the freezer, so you want to take these into consideration before eating your 2-year-old meat.