There are endless ways to serve ground turkey to guests but you might not be sure how long it is safe to keep the ground turkey in the freezer. If so, we have got the answers for you!
You can store raw ground turkey in the freezer for 3-4 months without compromising its taste and texture. But pack securely in air-tight bags to prevent the meat from freezer burns and early spoilage. The meat can remain frozen for up to one year but may suffer from quality loss.
Whether Thanksgiving or any other special occasion, you cannot imagine the table without ground turkey. So, to avoid disaster, we are here today to guide you about freezing this flavorful meat and preserving its freshness.
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The Ideal Freezing Period Of Ground Turkey
It’s an undeniable fact that we all enjoy eating ground turkey. This versatile food product tastes extremely delicious and has become a popular pick for mealtimes. Buying this bird meat in bulk seems convenient and cost-effective as you can create many different dishes on the go.
But, the only safest way of keeping the ground turkey edible and long-lasting is to store it in the freezer. However, one of the most common questions asked is, for how long is it okay to freeze ground turkey?
Raw Ground Turkey
The ideal freezing period for raw ground turkey is around three to four months. Properly packaged and stored, the meat would remain well frozen and maintain optimal freshness.
You can let the ground turkey freeze for as long as one year, but know that with time, it may suffer a quality and taste loss. Thus, it would be best to use the meat within four months to enjoy maximum flavors and fresh taste.
Note: Before freezing raw ground turkey, do check the sell-by-date. Ideally, it would help if you froze it within days of purchasing the meat and no longer than this time frame after the sell-by-date.
Cooked Ground Turkey
Properly stored cooked ground turkey will maintain its best quality for about two to three months. It can remain safe beyond the said time frame, but the freezer time mentioned is for optimum freshness and quality. The meat is still safe for consumption even after three months, but it may not taste as good.
Can Ground Turkey Go Bad Inside The Freezer?
Well, the answer is yes, it can. Although freezing prolongs the shelf life of your favorite food, there is still a huge risk of spoilage, especially if you aren’t careful enough to pack the meat well.
Now talking of ground turkey, it is nearly impossible to tell if it has gone bad or not when it is still frozen. To get a clear idea, you need to defrost the meat first and then observe for any changes in texture, smell, or color.
In addition, ground turkey is also highly prone to developing freezer burns, which may be noticeable before you fully thaw the meat. Ground turkey with freezer burn will turn patchy, with a leathery, gray, or dark brown appearance.
The affected areas of the meat will turn dry and tough upon defrosting and will not taste or look appetizing even if you are cooking it well enough. However, if you follow proper freezer storage techniques, you may be able to prevent freezer burns to a great degree.
How Can You Tell If Frozen Ground Turkey Is Spoiled?
I understand sometimes it can be a bit tricky to know if the ground turkey is spoiled or not, especially if it remained frozen for a while. The best way to determine if the ground turkey is good is through the smell, texture, and visual appearance.
When unsure if the ground turkey is edible or has gone bad, take a good sniff of the meat. It doesn’t matter if it is raw or cooked; once; once your ground turkey releases an off or rotten odor, there is a high chance that the meat is no longer safe for consumption.
Another way you can tell about the condition of the frozen ground meat is by examining its appearance. Fresh ground meat has a light pink color, so if the meat has transformed to a brownish, greenish, or yellowish color, this indicates the ground meat has spoiled, and it’s time to toss it out.
Suppose the meat has developed a slimy texture or feels sticky to the touch, it is a warning sign. So, never try consuming ground turkey with any of the above signs, as it may lead to health issues.
How To Effectively Store Ground Turkey In The Freezer?
Now that you know ground turkey is still susceptible to spoilage inside the freezer, you might wonder how to maintain its freshness. The good news is that by following a few precautionary steps, the bird meat will remain frozen for a decent amount of time without undergoing significant quality changes.
Here’s how you should store ground turkey in the freezer
- If you haven’t opened the original packaging in which the ground turkey came, you can store it directly in its packaging.
- For additional safety, wrap it tightly in aluminum foil and place it in a heavy-duty freezer bag or an air-tight Ziploc bag.
- These extra layers will minimize the chances of freezer burns and air contamination, which is otherwise a huge problem.
- Freezing the ground meat by wrapping it air-tightly will also prevent the meat from absorbing flavors of other food items in the freezer.
- Always label the bag to keep track of the freezing date so you can know exactly how long it remained frozen.
How Long can Ground Turkey last In The Fridge?
Most meat varieties, including chicken and ground turkey, usually last for two to three days in the refrigerator. Thus, it is better to freeze the meat if you plan to use it after the said time frame.
In the case of cooked ground turkey, it will remain stored in the fridge for up to one to two days and still be safe to eat. However, it is highly dependent on the fact that you stored the meat correctly to ensure it does not perish or spoil.
Thawing the ground meat in the fridge is one of the safest techniques because the chances of bacterial growth are minimal. And it roughly takes around four to six hours for the ground turkey to thaw completely, but it can be more or less depending on its size.
How Long Is Frozen Ground Turkey Good For After Expiry Date?
Not many people know, but, to our surprise, raw ground turkey is edible for a brief time, even after its use-by-date. However, this is only possible when you store the meat correctly, following all the precautionary steps, and this way, the meat remains safe to eat after the expiration date.
But, we still would not suggest consuming ground meat once it exceeds the expiry date to avoid health complications or other issues. After the best-before-by date, the meat will no longer taste as good as it was while still fresh, so for the best experience, always eat the ground turkey within the initial weeks after the purchase.