How long can defrosted meat stay in the fridge?

In this brief guide, we are going to answer the question “how long can defrosted meat stay in the fridge” with an in-depth analysis of the shelf life of defrosted meat. Moreover, we are going to discuss the different ways to spot spoiled meat.

So without much ado, let’s dive in and figure out more about it.

How long can defrosted meat stay in the fridge?

If you have defrosted ground meats, poultry, and fish in the refrigerator, they last for about 1-2 days while defrosted beef, pork, lamb, or veal (roasts, steaks, or chops) lasts for about 3-5 days in the fridge at or below 40 degrees Fahrenheit.

On the other hand, if you have defrosted meat in a bowl of cold water or the microwave, it is best to cook it right away.

Furthermore, cooked frozen meat can be kept in the refrigerator for 3-4 days after being thawed. On the other hand, cooked meat that has been thawed in a bowl of cold water or the microwave should be reheated and eaten right away.

How to defrost frozen meat?

When it comes to thawing meat, there are a few options available, and you can choose any of them based on your preferences.

  1. The best approach to thaw frozen meat is to put it in the refrigerator overnight and let it thaw. 
  1. You can thaw the frozen meat in a dish of cold water, but it must be cooked right away.
  1. Furthermore, if you’re thawing the meat in the oven or microwave, it’s best to cook it right away.

Why is it necessary to cook the meat right away if defrosted in a microwave?

The reason for cooking the meat right after thawing it in a cold water bowl or microwave is that when you do so, the temperature at the surface of the meat rises above 40 degrees Fahrenheit before the core temperature rises to 40 degrees Fahrenheit and the meat gets thawed completely, which is when bacteria can start to grow on the surface quickly.

As a result, such thawed meat should be cooked as soon as possible until the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees Fahrenheit. Because the bacteria can only be entirely eliminated by thoroughly cooking the meat.

It’s worth noting that once the frozen meat has thawed, it should not be refrozen.

Is it possible to refrigerate the reheated meat?

Once the previously cooked refrigerated/frozen meat has been reheated, it should never be refrigerated again. Because the temperature of the meat goes above 40 degrees Fahrenheit when reheated and we know that bacteria develops rapidly between 40 and 140 degrees Fahrenheit. 

As a result, bacteria will make their way into your meat, and reheated meat should never be refrigerated, rather it is better to consume it completely or otherwise discard the reheated leftovers properly.

How long does fresh meat stay in the fridge?

Fresh raw meat lasts in the fridge for 1-4 days (depending upon the type of meat) if kept at or below 40 degrees Fahrenheit. It should be kept in plastic zipper bags on one of the refrigerator’s shelves. On the other hand, cooked meat lasts for about 3-4 days if refrigerated properly. meat should be stored in shallow compact containers to allow it to cool quickly.

It’s worth noting that the values given above are for meat’s expected shelf life.

How long does meat last in the freezer?

Meat lasts for up to 6 months in the freezer if wrapped in cling film and stored in an airtight plastic freezer bag, although it is best consumed within 1-2 months for the best quality and taste.

As a result, freezing the meat extends its shelf life significantly due to the freezer’s low temperature, which inhibits bacterial growth on the meat.

What is the best temperature to keep meat at?

Meat should be kept at 40 degrees Fahrenheit or lower at all times. Bacterial development is more rapid between the temperatures of 40 and 140 degrees Fahrenheit, therefore it’s best to keep your meat at a lower temperature to keep it fresh for longer.

How long does meat last at room temperature?

When kept at room temperature, meat lasts for around 2 hours.

Because bacterial growth occurs at a quicker rate between 40 and 140 degrees Fahrenheit, meat left out for more than 2 hours should be discarded.

Furthermore, if the surrounding temperature is around 90 degrees Fahrenheit, the rotting process is accelerated, and meat left out in the open for more than an hour at such temperature should be discarded.

How to vacuum seal meat? 

You may vacuum seal your meat at home to extend its shelf life. It involves placing the meat in a plastic zipper bag, eliminating the air, then nearly sealing the bag with a small amount of space remaining while lowering it into water.

After that, start pressing out the bubbles starting from the bag’s bottom and work your way up to the sealed end, closing the bag’s seal. 

A vacuum sealer pump can also be used to easily vacuum seal meat at home.

What are different ways to spot spoiled meat?

There are a few clear indicators that indicate if your meat has gone bad. To determine if meat has gone bad, look at its appearance, texture, and smell.

Appearance

If you see mold or other organic growth on your meat or it has discoloration, it’s time to throw it out.

It’s worth noting that you should avoid smelling moldy meat since molds can produce mycotoxins, which can disturb your gut microflora and damage your immune system if they enter your body by inhalation.

Moreover, keep a watchful check on the eyes of the fish. According to the FDA, the eyes of a fresh fish will be clear and bright.

Texture

If you touch the meat and it feels sticky, slimy, or gooey, it’s time to throw it out.

Smell

If you smell something sour or ammonia-like while sniffing your meat, it’s time to throw it out.

Lastly, I do not recommend tasting cooked meat with a foul odor, but if you are brave (and silly) enough, you will notice a significant change in the texture and mouthfeel of the spoiled meat. It will have an off-flavor.

Thus, if the microbes have somehow gotten into your meat and spoiled it, the best thing you can do is throw it out.

You can read about different types of meat here.

Conclusion

In this brief guide, we answered the question “how long can defrosted meat stay in the fridge” with an in-depth analysis of the shelf life of defrosted meat. Moreover, we discussed the different ways to spot spoiled meat.

Citations

https://ask.usda.gov/s/article/How-long-can-meat-and-poultry-remain-in-the-refrigerator-once-thawed#:~:text=While%20foods%20are%20in%20the,within%20three%20to%20five%20days.
https://www.foodsafety.gov/food-safety-charts/cold-food-storage-charts
https://www.stilltasty.com/questions/index/151

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