Vacuum Sealed Meat: How Long Does it Last?

Vacuum Sealed Meat: How Long Does it Last?

Do you love cooking with meat? If so, you'll want to read this blog post! This discusses the reasons vacuum sealed meat lasts longer than other methods of storage. Read on to learn more about the process of vacuum sealing and storing your meat.

The Answer

Frozen meat: Properly vacuum sealed raw meat will last around 2-3 years, sometimes longer. However, if your freezer loses power for an extended period of time it may ruin the meat.

Raw meat: Meat that is vacuum packed will last up to 10 days in the refrigerator, and non-sealed meat will only last 3-5 days.

Why does meat go bad in the freezer?

If your meat never loses its freezing temperature it is safe to eat for a while. However, it will reduce in quality over time depending on the method you use to store it. 

If not properly stored, you will start to observe freezer burn in as little as a month. The dry air inside of the freezer pulls the moisture out of the meat and oxidizes it the longer it stays there. Generally, the packaging that meat comes in from the grocery store is not meant to last long in the freezer.

How does vacuum sealing work?

Vacuum sealing is when you use a machine to draw all excess air/oxygen, which slows down the process that causes food to go bad.

This has a ton of different uses and can be great for anyone. Whether you're a home cook who meal preps or runs a restaurant, vacuum sealing can be very useful.

How should I thaw my vacuum sealed meat?

The first way is to simply set it in the refrigerator and let it thaw there. It is the safest way to thaw and just requires a little bit of planning ahead. Keep it in the packaging and set it on a dish. Depending on the cut it will take around 24 hours.

You can also set it in a bowl of cold water. This is for when you’re in a pinch and need a quick method. After placing it in the cold water, keep an eye on it and replace the water when it starts to get warm. Some say you can use warm or hot water to speed up the thawing process, but does carry some risk of spoilage and other issues. 

How to tell if your vacuum sealed meat went bad:

  1. See how it feels. Meat naturally has some moisture, but it should not feel slimy or feel like it has a “coating” on it.
  2. Trust your nose. If it smells wrong, bad, or anything other than what raw meat normally smells like - throw it out.
  3. The color. Some discoloration is a natural part of storing something for a long time if it came out of the freezer. If the color is way off, it may have gone bad.

It’s hard to give a concrete answer on if your meat went bad, but observing these 3 things will help you determine if your vacuum sealed meat has gone bad.

Alternatives to Vacuum Sealing

While vacuum sealing is the best way to extend the shelf life of meat in the refrigerator and freezer, these are some alternatives. Long story short, ziplock bags are your best friend.

  1. Keep it in its original packaging and put it in a ziplock bag if you plan on storing it in the freezer. The styrofoam packaging that it comes in is fine for refrigeration but not ideal for freezer storage.
  2. Butcher paper is a great option for storing in the fridge. It’s meant to store meat for multiple days. Like the previous option if you’re going to store it in the freezer - tightly wrap your meat with the butcher paper and drop it into a ziplock bag.
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