Freezing meat is the best thing you can do to preserve its quality. However, if meat is frozen for too long, its quality tends to deteriorate.
But how to tell if frozen meat is bad?
The most common signs that meat has gone bad are when you see some crystals inside the packaging, color changes, off odor, and slimy texture when defrosted.
These signs are often found in the meat being frozen for too long. If you notice some of these indicators, you rather discard the meat because it will not be safe consuming it.
How to Tell If Frozen Meat Has Gone Bad?
Freezing is arguably the perfect way to save the meat for future use. Storing meat in the freezer gives you comfort and saves you time. You do not need to go to the market every time you cook your favorite recipe.
All you need to do is to take some of the frozen meat from the freezer and you are good to go.
However, storing meat in the freezer for too long may not be a good idea. This is because meats can turn bad if frozen for too long.
In this post, I will share with you some of the indicators. If you want to learn more, just continue reading.
Without further ado, let’s dive in.
1. Ice Crystals Formed Inside the Packaging
One of the indicators that meat has gone bad is when you see some crystals inside the packaging of the meat. This is normally caused by freezer burn which happens when the water inside the packaging solidifies.
The problem with this is that it ruins the overall quality of the meat. It can still be cooked and eaten but do not expect the same taste as it was.
2. Changes in Color
Another sign of meat that has gone bad is discoloration. In most cases, the meat turns grayish brown, dark brown, or gray. These colors indicate that the meat has gone bad.
If you see some pinkish-looking meat juices, there is a high chance that the frozen meat has gone bad. The problem with this is that the juice can contaminate other frozen goods as it comes into contact with other goods.
When you see this, I suggest that you immediately clean the freezer and see which of the goods had spoiled.
If you found the one that causes the issue, keep it out of the freezer.
4. Off Odor
The most obvious sign that a meat had gone bad is bad odor. You can sense it as soon as you thaw the meat.
You do not want to compromise the safety of the people who are supposed to enjoy your recipe.
Without question, discard the spoiled meat.
5. Slimy Texture
The final sign of a meat that has gone bad is slimy texture. You will notice this during the thawing process.
This is an indication that the meat is unsafe to consume. So do not waste your time trying to fix it. It is better to be discarded.
How to Freeze Meat Correctly?
To prolong the quality of the meat in the freezer, you need to make sure that you store it correctly.
The following tips will help you keep the quality of the meat in the freezer.
1. Wrap the Meat
The first thing you can do to keep the meat’s quality in the freezer is to wrap it tightly. This way you can prevent freezer burn which happens when the meat is exposed to air.
If you are planning to store the meat long-term, I suggest that you wrap it or store it in an airtight bag. It is also important to remove the air inside the container.
Remember that the air in the container can cause freezer burn especially if the meat is frozen for too long.
If you bought meat that is already vacuum-packed, it is already safe. No need to transfer it to a new container. However, if you want to double the protection, you can wrap it again with plastic wrappings.
2. Freeze the Meat Immediately
The second thing you need to consider is to pop the meat into the freezer immediately. This will help to prevent the meat from exposing to airborne pathogens.
The meat should not be left on the counter for more than two hours. Leaving at room temperature is the quickest way to spoil the meat.
When in the freezer, the temperature should stay at 0 degrees Fahrenheit. Avoid opening the freezer often to avoid temperature fluctuation.
3. Put Label and Date
Before placing the meat in the freezer, it is important that you put a label and date on it. This will help you identify when the meat was placed in the freezer.
If you notice freezer burns despite following all the tips in this post, it is better to cut and discard the affected sections of the meat before cooking.
Although freezer burns are not harmful, they do not have the quality that you expect from the meat.
Freezing is the one of the best ways to preserve the quality of the meat. However, there are some instances wherein the meat goes bad.
But how will you tell if frozen meat is bad? Spoiled meat has several indicators including formed crystals inside the packaging, color changes, off odor, and slimy texture when thawed.
If you see some of these signs, I recommend that you discard the meat. It is not safe to cook or consume anymore. Do not compromise your safety.
I hope this helps.
To learn more about freezing foods, feel free to visit this page.
Is meat still good if it turns brown in the freezer?
According to the USDA, the meat that has turned brown in the freezer is still safe to eat. This is primarily caused by freezer burn. As long as there is no off-odor present, the meat is still safe.
How long does meat stay good in the freezer?
Generally, meat can stay in the freezer for about 6-12 months depending on the way it is stored. Chopped meats tend to last shorter in the freezer for about 4-6 months.
Can you eat expired meat if it was frozen?
Yes, you can still eat expired meat if it was frozen. Bacterial growth is not possible under freezing temperatures. Therefore, you can still consume the expired frozen meat even it is past its sell-by date.