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How To Store Your Meat

How to Store Meat, Poultry, and Seafood

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Keep meat and poultry in its original packaging in the refrigerator. To freeze, slip the packaging into a resealable freezer bag. If you’re freezing for several months, it’s best to wrap pieces individually in plastic before bagging; this will make them less vulnerable to freezer burn.

Another way to cut the risk of freezer burn is to buy vacuum-packed meats and poultry (which can also last about 2 days longer in the refrigerator). Leave seafood in its original packaging and, if possible, place on a bowl of ice in the refrigerator. However, live shellfish (like clams) should not be put on ice; open or poke holes in the packaging. To freeze seafood, slip the original packaging into a resealable freezer bag.

Seafood

Clams

Refrigerator: 2 days (live in shell); 1 day (shucked)
Freezer: 3 months (shucked); cook after thawing.

Crabmeat, packaged

Refrigerator: 1 month (unopened); 5 days (open)
Freezer: 3 months

Crabs, live whole

Refrigerator: 1 day
Freezer: Do not freeze.

Fish (fatty), fresh such as salmon and mackerel

Refrigerator: 2 days
Freezer: Do not freeze. Fatty fish may become mushy when frozen at home and thawed.

Fish (lean), fresh such as tilapia, flounder, and cod

Refrigerator: 2 days
Freezer: 6 months

Fish, frozen

Refrigerator: 2 days (thawed)
Freezer: 6 months

Lobsters, live whole

Refrigerator: 2 days
Freezer: Do not freeze.

Lobster tails, frozen

Refrigerator: 2 days (thawed)
Freezer: 6 months

Mussels

Refrigerator: 2 days (live in shell); 1 day (shucked)
Freezer: 4 months (shucked); cook after thawing.

Oysters

Refrigerator: 2 days (live in shell); 1 day (shucked)
Freezer: 4 months (shucked); cook after thawing.

Scallops

Refrigerator: 2 days
Freezer: 3 months; cook after thawing.

Shrimp, cooked

Refrigerator: 3 days
Freezer: 3 months

Shrimp, fresh or thawed

Refrigerator: 2 days
Freezer: 6 months

Shrimp, frozen

Refrigerator: 2 days (thawed)
Freezer: 6 months

Beef and Lamb

Chops

Refrigerator: 3 days
Freezer: 6 months

Ground meat and premade patties

Refrigerator: 2 days
Freezer: 4 months

Roasts and Loins

Refrigerator: 3 days
Freezer: 6 months

Sausage, uncooked

Refrigerator: 2 days
Freezer: 2 months

Steaks

Refrigerator: 3 days
Freezer: 6 months

Stew meat

Refrigerator: 2 days
Freezer: 4 months

Poultry

Ground meat and premade patties

Refrigerator: 2 days
Freezer: 4 months

Pieces

Refrigerator: 2 days
Freezer: 6 months

Sausage, uncooked

Refrigerator: 2 days
Freezer: 2 months

Whole

Refrigerator: 2 days
Freezer: 6 months

Pork

Bacon

Refrigerator: 2 weeks (unopened); 1 week (open)
Freezer: 1 month

Chops

Refrigerator: 3 days
Freezer: 6 months

Ground meat and premade patties

Refrigerator: 2 days
Freezer: 4 months

Ham, cooked

Refrigerator: 1 week (whole); 4 days (half); 4 days (steaks)
Freezer: 2 months

Ham, country

Pantry: 3 months (whole)
Refrigerator: 3 months (half)
Freezer: 1 month (half)

Roasts and Loins

Refrigerator: 3 days
Freezer: 6 months

Sausage, uncooked

Refrigerator: 2 days
Freezer: 2 months

Stew Meat

Refrigerator: 2 days
Freezer: 4 months

 

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martin@martinsmeats.me

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