Ground beef is a versatile ingredient that you can use to make burgers, and so much more. If you have ground beef in the fridge and you’re not sure if it’s still good, there are simple ways to check it to see if it’s spoiled. Never eat meat that has gone bad!
Fresh ground beef is bright red but may have a few brown spots in the center as it comes from different parts of the beef. The longer you keep the ground beef, the grayer it will turn. If all of the ground beef is gray rather than red or brown, it’s best to throw it away. Packaged ground beef develops a brown color inside because no oxygen gets to the center.
Fresh beef has a slight odor, but when it goes bad it smells spoiled or sour. The smell comes from gases produced by the bacteria on the meat. If the meat has a strong odor, don’t eat it. Many bacteria that lead to foodborne illnesses such as B. Salmonella cannot be smelled and can also be found on fresh beef. Always cook the beef thoroughly to kill these bacteria. If you don’t feel comfortable eating the meat, throw it away.
Press down on the meat with your fingers to feel its texture. Fresh meat should easily break into pieces in your hands. If the meat is sticky or slimy, it has most likely gone bad. Always wash your hands before and after handling raw meat so you don’t spread bacteria or contaminate surfaces.
Raw ground beef is safe to eat within a day or two of the recommended best before date. Check the calendar to see how many days have passed since purchase and discard the ground beef if it’s old.
If you plan to cook the ground beef soon, store it in the refrigerator. If you leave it at room temperature, harmful bacteria will develop within two hours. Never leave meat at room temperature for more than 2 hours, or more than 1 hour if it’s over 32°C. If you don’t plan to cook the ground beef right away, freeze it.
If it’s been in the fridge the whole time, it will stay fresh and safe to use for up to two days after the date printed on the package. Use it as soon as possible after purchase so it doesn’t go bad.
Put it in plastic freezer bags and label them with the best-before date from the packaging. Squeeze the air out of the bag before sealing it to save freezer space. After a few months, you may notice white spots from the freezer burn on the meat. You can cut away these spots if there are only a few. Otherwise, throw the meat away.
Place the frozen ground beef in the refrigerator a day or two before you plan to use it to thaw completely. If you want to defrost the meat in the sink, fill it with cold water and submerge the ground beef. Change the water every 30 minutes until the ground beef is completely thawed. Meat that has been thawed in water must be cooked immediately. Never let the meat thaw at room temperature. You can thaw ground beef in the microwave, but you must cook it immediately afterward to avoid contamination.
The only way to kill the natural bacteria in beef is by cooking it through. While cooking, check the internal temperature with a meat thermometer.
You can keep it safe in the fridge for seven days before it goes bad, and in the freezer, it will keep for up to eight months. Store it in an airtight container!
Always cook ground beef to an internal temperature of 70°C. Keep cold food below 4°C and hot food above 60°C. Anything in between is a “danger zone” for bacteria to thrive. Wash your hands after handling raw ground beef to avoid contaminating surfaces.
If you want to get more beef deals and discounts, click here.