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8 tips for how to store beef in the refrigerator

Kitchentip | 7 minute read |

Meat, and particularly beef, is one of the most beloved foodstuffs around the world. People eat billions of kilograms of meat every year, but sobering statistics show that around 20% of all the meat that is produced is never eaten.

In this article, we will tell you how to store your beef in the refrigerator correctly so you can enjoy it for longer, reduce food waste and live more sustainably.

Here are the quick guides:
1. Do not pre-wash the beef
2. Cut the beef into portions before storing it
3. Put the beef into the refrigerator quickly
4. Wrap your beef correctly
5. Track your beef’s “use-by” dates
6. Don’t put beef back after you’ve removed it
7. Keep your refrigerator clean and organized
8. How long can beef be stored in the refrigerator?


1. Do not pre-wash the beef


Many people have the habit of removing the meat from the packaging and washing it with water once they arrive home with their groceries. So, do you need to wash meat first? Most experts recommend that you don’t. Any bacteria you think you may be removing by doing this will probably not be affected by a wash. They will only be killed when the meat is properly cooked.

In fact, depending on the quality of your tap water, washing beef may introduce new bacteria to it that may then affect the taste and storage life of your meat.

If you’re planning to freeze the beef, definitely avoid washing it. If the meat is wet, it may be more easily affected by freezer burn.


2. Cut the beef into portions before storing it


Cut the beef into portions before storing it


The most dangerous thing in the storage of beef and any other meat is exposing it to temperature changes. Frequently going from cold to warm and back again can help bacteria on the meat grow. That’s why it’s best not to keep taking the meat out of the refrigerator until you’re actually cooking it.

If you cut the meat into chunks or portions before you put it into the refrigerator, you can take out whatever amount you need without affecting the rest. You can cook a smaller meal for just yourself or a part of the family while keeping the other meat fresh and tasty for when you need it.


3. Put the beef into the refrigerator quickly


If you’ve ever heard of the term “cold chain”, you know what we’re talking about. In the professional storage and transport of foodstuffs like meat, the products are kept consistently cold to prevent spoiling. When you take the beef from the supermarket, you should follow the same rules.

Don’t let fresh, uncooked meat lie on your kitchen counter and definitely don’t leave it in a hot car while you run errands. Experts recommend that you don’t let more than 1 or 2 hours pass between removing the meat from the supermarket fridge and putting it into your own fridge.


4. Wrap your beef correctly


Wrap your beef correctly


When it comes to storing beef and other meats, the packaging is extremely important.

If you bought vacuum-packed meat leave it in its packaging until you want to use it. Vacuum packaging can prolong the storage life of meat considerably, so there’s no reason to open it.

For meat that isn’t vacuum-packed, the rules are a bit different. When storing beef in the refrigerator outside of its packaging, you should put it on a dish and cover it loosely with plastic wrap. There should be some air flow around the meat to prevent the beef from “sweating”.

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If you’re freezing your beef, wrap it tightly in plastic wrap, taking care not to allow too much air to remain close to the meat. This way, you can avoid freezer burn, which doesn’t spoil the meat, but can drastically change the taste.


5. Track your beef’s “use-by” dates


This is especially relevant for when you’re freezing beef, but is also good practice when you store it in the refrigerator. Either write directly on the plastic wrapping or use a sticky note to mark meat with the date on which it was bought and/or the date by which it should be eaten.

This way, you won’t have to wonder about that piece of meat you discover in the freezer months later, peering through the plastic to see if it still looks fresh. You’ll know exactly how old it is and get a good idea of whether it’s still good.


6. Don’t put beef back after you’ve removed it


This is another rule that is particularly important for frozen meat, but as we mentioned before, frequent changes in temperature can help bacteria grow. So, it’s a good idea to observe this rule for refrigerated meat that was warmed up to room temperature as well.

Thawing meat and then re-freezing it can make it a hotbed for bacteria and is a surefire way to spoil its quality. So, make sure to only remove meat from the freezer or the fridge if you’re going to cook it.


7. Keep your refrigerator clean and organized


Keep your refrigerator clean and organized

Hygiene is essential to keeping food fresh, whether it’s meat, vegetables or other foodstuffs. A dirty fridge provides ideal conditions for germs to grow and contaminate your food. Contamination can also occur when cooked meat and raw meat are kept close together.

We recommend that you keep your fresh, raw meat on the bottom shelf of the refrigerator, which usually offers ideal temperatures. Make sure to keep your cooked meat and any warm foods you’re putting into the fridge to cool down far away from the raw beef. Moreover, don’t forget to clean your refrigerator regularly to help your beef last longer.


8. How long can beef be stored in the refrigerator?


Different cuts of beef will keep in the refrigerator for different amounts of time, depending on various factors, like the method of preparation and the technology of your refrigerator. So, it’s also important to choose a refrigerator with high quality to preserve your food better.


Note that these are just reference points and beef can remain edible for 3-5 days in many cases. With Electrolux’s TasteSeal technology, your beef can even be kept fresh for 7 days.

Table: How long can beef be stored in the refrigerator compartment?

Type of beef

Time in refrigerator

Minced meat, thin steaks, diced beef of beef strips

Up to 2 days

Steaks and boned roasts

2-3 days

Roasts (bone in)

3-4 days

Fresh corned beef

1 week

Vacuum-packed beef

Up to 6 weeks (if unopened)


In the freezer, beef can be kept fresh for much longer periods. Note that the temperature of the freezer should be at or below -18°C.

Table: How long can beef be stored in the fridge?

Type of beef

Time in freezer

Steaks and roasts

Up to 6 months

Thinner beef steaks

Up to 4 months

Minced meat or ground beef

Up to 3 months


9. How to properly defrost frozen beef


How to properly defrost frozen beef

There are three different methods for defrosting your frozen beef, depending on how quickly you need it: in the refrigerator compartment, in cold water, or in the microwave. Note that you should not let frozen beef defrost at room temperature, as this may increase the risk of contamination.


Defrost in the fridge


Most experts recommend that you should defrost your frozen beef in the refrigerator. It keeps the quality of your meat high and also allows you to store the beef for an additional few days in the refrigerator after defrosting. However, it takes careful planning, as the defrosting process is slow. For a half-kilogram piece of beef, allow up to a full day of defrosting.


Defrost in cold water


Defrosting in cold water is faster than defrosting in the fridge, but it requires you to be more careful. The beef must be placed in a closed bag or package and submerged in cold water. Make sure the bag is closed, since leaving the meat itself in the water will affect the taste and could lead to contamination. Change the water every half hour. A half-kilogram piece of beef can be defrosted within about one hour using this method.


Defrost in the microwave oven


Using your microwave oven to defrost your beef is the fastest method. However, be sure to use the correct defrosting method indicated in your microwave oven’s user guide. It’s also crucial that you cook the beef immediately after it is finished defrosting, since the temperature change could lead to contamination.


10. Enjoy safe food and reduce food waste


By knowing how to store your beef in the refrigerator to make it last longer and tracking when you should cook it, you can reduce your impact on the environment, increase sustainability and keep you and your family happy and healthy. With an Electrolux fridge with TasteSeal technology, you gain even more flexibility for your tasty family meal. For further information, you can refer to these top things you need to know about Electrolux refrigerator.


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