How long is the hamburger good for in the fridge?

In this brief guide, we will answer the question “How long is the hamburger good for in the fridge?”, discuss answers to other related questions such as can freezing increase the shelf life of the hamburger, and can hamburgers go bad.

How long is the hamburger good for in the fridge?

The hamburgers are good for in the fridge for 1-2 days only. But this duration is also affected by the quality of the hamburgers and the conditions under which you store them. If you buy a high-quality hamburger package and keep it in your refrigerator, while the package is unopened and well-sealed, it can stay fresh for more than 2 days in the fridge.

The cooked pattie of the hamburger is good for 3-4 days when refrigerated.

Can freezing increase the shelf life of the hamburger?

If you want to keep the hamburger for more than a few days, freezing them will serve you the best option. Freezing (at 0 Fahrenheit or below) the hamburgers help you keep them fresh for even 3-4 months. This increased shelf life of the hamburger while freezing is due to the inability of several pathogenic and spoilage bacteria to grow. The freezing temperature keeps most of the microorganism’s growth at bay. As a result, the shelf life of the frozen hamburgers is increased from days to months.

How to store the hamburger?

The storage conditions also help you keep the things good to be used over time. The better the food is stored, the longer will be its shelf life.  

If you are going to use the uncooked hamburgers in 1-2 days, you can keep them in an air-tight box or container and refrigerate them, while the cooked hamburgers can be refrigerated for 3-4 days in an air-tight box. It is recommended to keep the box at the rear wall of the refrigerator to assure a constant temperature, as the temperature fluctuates more near the door of the refrigerator due to being opened several times a day.

If you are not willing to use the hamburgers within a few days, freezing them will help you deal with the situation. To freeze the hamburger, leave it in its original packaging, and wrap it in a heavy-duty aluminum foil or freezer-safe plastic bag to avoid it from freezer burns. According to the USDA, it is better to freeze the hamburgers right after you buy them from the grocery store so that they will stay fresher on defrosting.

The cooked hamburgers can also be frozen within 3-4 days if they are not left unrefrigerated for more than 2 hours.

Can hamburgers go bad?

The chances of hamburgers going bad are more than that of steak or other larger cuts because the exposed area for the spoilage and pathogenic bacteria to attach is increased due to the grinding of the meat. Hamburgers can also go bad due to the change in temperature or the availability of moisture or oxygen in their surrounding environment. 

Signs that the hamburger has gone bad

  • Color 

If the hamburger has gone bad, its color will be changed. This color change can be due to multiple factors including temperature, light, microbial growth, and exposure to oxygen.

  • Texture 

If the texture of hamburger, cooked or uncooked, feels to be slimy or sticky, this means that it has gone bad. The change in texture is a clear indication of the growth of spoilage bacteria.

  • Smell 

If the hamburger smells rancid or putrid, this means that it has gone bad. The change in smell indicates the growth of spoilage bacteria such as Pseudomonas spp. and Lactobacillus spp. These species are also responsible for the changed flavor.

What can happen if you eat bad hamburgers?

Hamburgers can cause severe foodborne illness due to the growth of many spoilage and pathogenic bacteria in the ground beef. The most obvious spoilage bacteria that grows in ground beef is Listeria monocytogenes. The beef spoiled due to this bacteria, if eaten, causes flu-like symptoms at first. But if the severity of the infection continues, it can cause meningitis, encephalitis, and septicemia. This bacteria is also known to cause intrauterine or cervical infections in pregnant women.

If the ground beef is spoiled, it is sure that it will be harboring odorless pathogenic bacteria including E.coli O157:H7, Salmonella, Staphylococcus aureus, and Campylobacter jejuni. Being odorless, they can not be spotted, but they can cause severe food poisoning in humans. The general symptoms of food poisoning are vomiting, diarrhea (which may be bloody), stomach cramps, and fever.

Conclusion:

In this brief guide, we answered the question “How long is the hamburger good for in the fridge?”, discussed answers to other related questions such as can freezing increase the shelf life of the hamburger, and can hamburgers go bad.

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