Freezing meat: How long can you store meat and fish in the freezer?

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Delicious and nutritious, meat and fish are a key component to most families’ meals. The only downside is they tend to go off in less than a week. There is a way to extend this though. If you freeze your meat or fish in the freezer, it can last much longer. How long can you store meat and fish in the freezer?

How long can you store fish and meat in the freezer?

Freezing fish and meat is a real money-saver.

Surprisingly, frozen meat or fish that is kept at a temperature of minus 18C (0F) or lower will be safe to eat for a good few months.

Microorganisms and microbes like bacteria, yeast, and mould cannot grow at this temperature.

READ MORE- Can you freeze ham?

However, that doesn’t mean you want to eat years old meat from the freezer.

This is definitely not advisable and it will be – by most people’s standards- unenjoyable or inedible.

The longer you leave it in the freezer, the lower the quality of meat.

Meat can become freezer burnt, meaning the surface becomes dehydrated.

Signs of freezer burn include dryness, white patches of ice crystals, and discolouring.

How long does frozen meat and fish keep for?

Wrap meat packaging in airtight plastic wrap or freezer paper if you want to extend its life. 

If you do this, it should keep for for longer than two months.

You can do the same with fish, too.

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The general life-span of meat in the freezer is:

  • Whole chickens and turkeys – a year
  • Chicken breast, thighs, or wings- nine months
  • Giblets- three months
  • Beef, veal and lamb steak- six to 12 months
  • Beef, veal and lamb chops- four to 6 months
  • Roast beef, veal and lamb- four to 12 months
  • Uncooked pork chops- four to six months
  • Uncooked roast pork- four to 12 months
  • Processed pork- one to two months
  • Ground meat- three to four months
  • Hamburger meat- three to four months
  • Cooked and leftover fish meats- four to six months
  • Cooked and leftover meat- two to three months

The general life-span of fish in the freezer is:

  • Lean fish (e.g. bass, cod, and tuna)- six to eight months
  • Fatty fish (e.g. anchovies, mackerel, salmon, sardines)- two to free months
  • Fresh seafood (e.g. shrimps, scallops, crawfish, squid)- three to six months

How to defrost meat and fish from the freezer

Some 54 percent of Brits (wrongly) defrost meat and fish at room temperature.

Don’t do this, as it will cause bacteria to grow in the meat and no one wants that.

You need to keep the meat or fish refrigerated as it defrosts to avoid it.

Leave it overnight in the fridge and it will be ready to cook with the following day.

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