How long can raw beef be in the fridge?

In this brief guide, we are going to answer the question “how long can raw beef be in the fridge” with an in-depth analysis of the shelf life of raw beef. Moreover, we are going to discuss tips to properly store raw beef and different ways to spot bad raw beef.

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

How long can raw beef be in the fridge?

Raw beef lasts for about 3-5 days if stored properly in the fridge all the time at or below 40 degrees Fahrenheit but it is recommended to cook raw beef within 3 days to enjoy its optimum quality. 

So, you should always store your raw beef at 40 degrees Fahrenheit or below provided that you are going to cook it within a few days, or else it is better to freeze it. Bacterial growth takes place at a faster pace between the temperature of 40 and 140 degrees Fahrenheit, therefore it is always advised to store your raw beef at a lower temperature to preserve its freshness for a long time.

Thus, the cold temperature of the fridge will decrease the rate of bacterial growth and will subsequently prolong the shelf life of your raw beef.

How to vacuum seal raw beef at home?

You can opt for vacuum sealing at home that can prolong the shelf life of raw beef. It involves the process of putting the raw beef in a plastic zipper bag, removing air from it, and almost sealing the bag with a little space left while lowering it into water. Afterward, press out the bubbles from the bag starting from the bottom of the bag and once you reach the sealed end, you should press the seal closed. A vacuum sealer pump can also be used for this purpose.

How long can raw beef last at room temperature?

Raw beef lasts for about 2 hours when left out of the fridge at room temperature. 

You should discard the raw beef that has been left in open for more than 2 hours as bacterial growth takes place at a faster pace between the temperature of 40 and 140 degrees Fahrenheit, therefore there are greater chances of the raw beef being already contaminated with bacteria when left out for more than 2 hours.

Moreover, if the temperature of the surroundings is about 90 degrees Fahrenheit, then the process of spoilage takes place at a faster pace and it is recommended to discard raw beef that is left out in the open for more than an hour at 90 degrees Fahrenheit.

How long does raw beef last in the freezer?

Properly stored raw beef lasts for about 6-12 months in the freezer if stored in a heavy-duty freezer container or plastic freezer bag. 

Thus, the shelf life of raw beef increases owing to the cold temperature of the freezer that halts the microbial growth on it.

How to thaw frozen raw beef?

When it comes to thawing raw beef, there are a couple of ways to do so and you can choose any of them depending upon your choice.

In the fridge

The recommended way to thaw the frozen raw beef is to leave it in the refrigerator overnight and let it thaw there. The raw beef thawed this way can be kept in the fridge for 3-5 days before cooking and eating it.

In a bowl of cold water

You can thaw the frozen raw beef in a bowl of cold water but you should cook it immediately after thawing. 

In microwave

Moreover, if you are thawing the raw beef in the oven or microwave it is recommended to cook it immediately. 

The reason behind cooking the raw beef immediately after thawing it in a cold water bowl or microwave is that when you warm the raw beef using these methods, the temperature at the surface of the raw beef gets higher than that of 40 degrees Fahrenheit before the core temperature can become 40 degrees Fahrenheit and it can thaw completely and that’s when the bacteria can start to grow on the surface rapidly.

Therefore it is advised to cook such thawed raw beef immediately until its internal temperature reaches 165 degrees Fahrenheit. Because it is only by cooking the raw beef properly that we can get rid of the bacteria completely.

Tips to properly store raw beef

  1. You should always store your raw beef at 40°F or below. Bacterial growth takes place at a faster pace between the temperature of 40°F and 140°F, therefore it is always advised to store your raw beef at a lower temperature.
  1. It is a good practice to store raw beef on one of the shelves of the refrigerator rather than the door as there is a lot of temperature fluctuation at the door of the fridge that can mess up the quality of raw beef.
  1. It is better to store raw beef on the lowest shelf of the refrigerator to avoid it from dripping into other food items.
  1. You can further prolong the shelf life of the raw beef by wrapping it in the heavy-duty aluminum foil or plastic freezer bag and storing it in the freezer.

You can read the nutritional qualities of beef here.

Different ways to spot bad raw beef

There are a couple of indicators that point out the bad raw beef. You should consider the appearance, texture, and smell of the raw beef to reach a  final verdict on whether or not they have gone bad.

  1. If you can see some off-color or if you can spot molds or dark spots on the surface of the raw beef then it is the indication that it has gone bad and the best thing to do in this scenario is to discard it.
  1. If you can feel something slimy or gooey while touching the raw beef then it means that it has gone bad as the fresh raw beef has a firm texture.
  1. If you can smell something acidic, or some ammonia-like or sulfur-like putrid smell while taking a sniff test of your raw beef then it means that your raw beef has gone bad and you should discard it. 

Conclusion

In this brief guide, we answered the question “how long can raw beef be in the fridge” with an in-depth analysis of the shelf life of raw beef. Moreover, we discussed tips to properly store raw beef and different ways to spot bad raw beef.

Citations

https://www.healthline.com/health/can-i-still-eat-it-meats#:~:text=kept%20too%20long.-,Beef,for%20three%20to%20five%20days.
https://ask.usda.gov/s/article/How-long-can-I-keep-meat-in-the-refrigerator
https://www.foodsafety.gov/food-safety-charts/cold-food-storage-charts
https://www.thekitchn.com/how-long-is-it-safe-to-keep-raw-meat-in-the-refrigerator-223122

Mahnoor Asghar is a Clinical Nutritionist with a bachelor's degree in Nutrition and Dietetics. She is compassionate and dedicated to playing her part in the well-being of the masses. She wants to play a fruitful role in creating nutrition and health-related awareness among the general public. Additionally, she has a keen eye for detail and loves to create content related to food, nutrition, health, and wellness.