If you’re a meat lover like me, you’d know how important it is to store it correctly to ensure it stays fresh and safe to eat. But with all the different compartments and shelves in a refrigerator, it can be confusing to know where exactly to store your raw meat.
In this article, we’ll take a closer look at the best practices for storing raw meat in the refrigerator, including where to store it, how to prepare it for storage, and how long it can stay there before it needs to be cooked or thrown away.
Why is Proper Meat Storage Important?
Before we dive into the details of proper meat storage, let’s first understand why it’s so important.
Raw meat, especially poultry, and ground beef, can contain harmful bacteria like E. coli, Salmonella, and Campylobacter that can cause foodborne illnesses. These bacteria can multiply quickly in warm temperatures, so it’s crucial to keep meat at a safe temperature to prevent the growth and spread of harmful bacteria.
Additionally, storing meat in the wrong place in the refrigerator can increase the risk of cross-contamination, which occurs when harmful bacteria from one food item spreads to another. This can lead to foodborne illness, especially if the contaminated meat is consumed raw or undercooked.
where in the refrigerator should you store raw meat?
The best place to store raw meat in the refrigerator is on the bottom shelf, where it’s coldest. Refrigerators from Whirlpool have special compartments for meat. This helps to prevent the meat from coming into contact with other foods and reduces the risk of cross-contamination.
If possible, store raw meat in a plastic or glass container with a lid to further prevent any drips or spills from contaminating other foods. Alternatively, you can place the meat on a tray or plate to catch any drips and make cleanup easier.
It’s also a good idea to store raw meat away from ready-to-eat foods like fruits, vegetables, and cooked leftovers. These items should be stored on the upper shelves of the refrigerator to further reduce the risk of cross-contamination.
How Should You Store Raw Meat in the Refrigerator?
Now that you know where to store raw meat in the refrigerator, let’s talk about how to store it properly.
First, make sure you’re purchasing fresh meat from a reputable source. Look for meat with bright color and no signs of discoloration or odor. If the meat looks or smells off, it’s best to avoid it.
Once you’ve brought the meat home, it’s important to store it in the refrigerator as soon as possible. Don’t let it sit at room temperature for more than two hours, as this increases the risk of harmful bacteria growth.
If the meat is still in its original packaging, you can store it as it is in the refrigerator. However, if you’ve already opened the package or purchased meat from a butcher, you’ll need to take a few extra steps to ensure it stays fresh and safe to eat.
First, wrap the meat tightly in plastic wrap or aluminum foil to prevent any air from getting in. This will help to slow down the growth of harmful bacteria and keep the meat fresh for longer.
If you’re storing ground meat, it’s a good idea to shape it into patties or balls before wrapping it up. This makes it easier to thaw and cook when you’re ready to use it.
Does Raw Meat Go in the Fridge or Freezer?
Raw meat can be stored in both the refrigerator and freezer, depending on how long you plan to keep it.
If you’re planning to cook the meat within a few days, the refrigerator is the best place to store it. However, if you won’t be using it for more than a few days, it’s best to freeze it to prevent it from spoiling.
To freeze raw meat, wrap it tightly in plastic wrap or aluminum foil, then place it in a freezer-safe container or freezer bag. Be sure to label the container with the type of meat and the date it was frozen so you can keep track of how long it’s been in the freezer.
How Long Can You Store Raw Meat in the Refrigerator?
The length of time you can store raw meat in the refrigerator depends on the type of meat and how it’s been stored.
Generally, raw beef, pork, and lamb can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. Raw chicken and turkey, on the other hand, should be used within two to three days.
If you’ve frozen raw meat and then thawed it in the refrigerator, it will last for the same amount of time as fresh meat. However, if you’ve thawed the meat in the microwave or in cold water, it needs to be cooked immediately and can’t be stored in the refrigerator.
Storing raw meat correctly in the refrigerator is crucial to prevent the growth and spread of harmful bacteria.
Remember to always store raw meat on the bottom shelf of the refrigerator, away from ready-to-eat foods, and to wrap it tightly before storing. And if you’re not planning to use the meat within a few days, it’s best to freeze it to prevent it from spoiling.
At the end of the day, we all want to have the best meat that smells and looks good, and that is healthy for everyone.