As we’re headed into what’s sure to be an arduous winter with COVID-19 numbers on the rise again, many of us are stocking up on groceries for the long haul. When you’re buying products like meat, you want to be sure you’re following guidelines to keep yourself and your family safe. As our freezers get fuller and fuller, you might be wondering how long raw beef lasts in the fridge, so we went searching for the answer.
We’ve already dug into how long raw chicken lasts in the fridge and found that it should only be kept for one to two days. When it comes to beef, the FDA says steaks and roasts can last in the fridge for anywhere between three to five days. However, in the case of ground raw beef, raw hamburgers, or raw stew meats, you should only keep them in the fridge for one to two days.
If you’re saving any beefy leftovers, you can keep them fresh for three to four days in the fridge. The same goes for soups and stews with beef in them.
If you’re trying to preserve raw beef for longer, it’s safer to put it in the freezer and simply thaw it out once you’re ready to use it. Cuts of uncooked beef will last in the freezer for anywhere between four and twelve months, while raw ground beef will stay fresh in the freezer for three to four months.
And if you’re worried about the dates printed on the labels of your food packaging, the FDA says they’re not really based on exact science. In fact, they shared that those sell-by dates are more of a reference for stores than they are for consumers, and they regard quality more than the safety of the food.
All this being said, there are a few key things to look out for if you want to know if your raw beef has gone bad. Red meat contains a protein called oxymyoglobin which gives it its red color. If you notice that your meat has started to turn grayish in color, it’s safer not to eat it. Just as well, if you notice blueish or greenish patches or white fuzzies on your meat — that’s mold, and the meat should be discarded.
The texture of your beef can also indicate it’s starting to spoil. If there is a slimy or sticky texture to it when you touch it, this could indicate that bacteria has started to grow on it and you should toss it in the trash. Lastly, you can also perform a good old smell test. The smell of raw beef, chopped or ground, is typically barely noticeable. However, as soon as spoilage bacteria starts to grow, it will likely take on a more rancid scent. If you notice any unpleasant smells coming from your meat, the safest bet is to throw it away.
We hope this guide helps you prepare in the season to come and save your groceries for as long as possible!