Top Tips for Storing Fresh Meat to Maximise Shelf Life

Meat is a staple in any kitchen. To make the most out of it, it’s important to use fresh meat when preparing your favourite meat dishes.

You probably know where to go for fresh meat delivery. But do you know how to store it properly to maximise its shelf life? Here are some top tips to keep your fresh meat purchases looking and tasting their best for as long as possible.

Temperature is King

The most important factor in storing fresh meat is temperature. Keep in mind that bacteria thrive in warm environments, so make sure your meat stays cold. Aim for a refrigerator temperature between 1 and 4 degrees Celsius. You might need to invest in a fridge thermometer to ensure your appliance is set to the correct temperature.

Original Packaging or Not?

Opinions differ on whether to keep meat in its original packaging. If the packaging is vacuum-sealed, it’s generally safe to leave it unopened. That’s because vacuum sealing minimises air exposure, which slows down spoilage. However, if the packaging isn’t vacuum-sealed or shows signs of leakage, transfer the meat to a new container.

Wrap It Tight

For unwrapped cuts of meat or those removed from non-vacuum-sealed packaging, proper wrapping is essential. Use airtight containers or resealable plastic bags to prevent air exposure and moisture loss. This helps maintain freshness and prevents the meat from drying out.

Know Your Cuts

Different cuts of meat have different storage lifespans. Generally, leaner cuts like skinless 

chicken breasts will last longer than fattier options like ground beef. Here’s a quick guide:

  • Steaks, roasts, chops: 3-5 days
  • Ground meat: 1-2 days
  • Whole chicken: 1-2 days
  • Whole turkey: 1-2 days

First In, First Out

Fresh meat delivery is a convenient option, but don’t forget the ‘first in, first out’ rule. Always move older meat to the front of the fridge for use before opening new packages. This helps prevent waste and ensures you’re consuming the freshest meat first.

The Freezer Awaits

Planning on using the meat later? Freezing is a great way to extend its shelf life. Wrap the meat tightly in freezer paper or place it in a freezer-safe bag to prevent freezer burn. For easy reference, label the package with the date of freezing. Properly frozen meat can last for several months.

Thaw Carefully

Once you’re ready to cook the frozen meat, thaw it safely. The safest method is to thaw it in the refrigerator for several hours or overnight, depending on the size and thickness of the cut. Avoid thawing at room temperature, as this creates a perfect environment for bacterial growth.

The Smell Test

Even with proper storage, meat can spoil. Before cooking, give your meat a good sniff. Note that fresh meat should have a mild, meaty smell. If it has a sour or off odour, discard it immediately. Visual cues like discolouration can also indicate spoilage.

Leftovers Get a Second Life

Any cooked leftover meat? Let them cool completely before putting in an airtight container and storing in the refrigerator. You have 2-3 days to consume these cooked leftovers.

By following our simple storage tips, you can ensure your fresh meat delivery stays fresh and delicious for longer. Remember that proper storage not only prevents food waste but also safeguards your health!

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