Frozen storage of perishable foods

How long do you feel is safe/acceptable to keep uncooked meats in a freezer for human consumption (at which point, it should be thrown out)? Consider that there may be a brief power outage (not long enough to fire up a generator) every 1-2 years during which the freezer isn’t opened (but said freezer is at least 35 years old).

  • One Year
  • Three Years
  • Five Years
  • Longer (reply with your opinion)
  • @dakboy should not be allowed to create polls

0 voters

It really depends on how the meat was packaged for storage, and visual inspection. Properly vacuum-sealed meats can last for many years. Torn packages of any kind might be no good in weeks.


$Wife & I like to live dangerously, which means I consider anything suspect we didn’t buy that day. We have been known to buy meat for a planned dinner and keep it in the fridge for a night or two, then have it go suspicious or bad because the meal gets pushed back due to work craziness. And let’s not talk about avocados.

Freezer stuff shouldn’t be kept more than a year or two, I guess. But there’s some soup stock in the back of ours that kind of scares me.

Let’s go with not vacuum-packed, either foam tray w/ plastic wrap, or Ziploc bags.

In that case, until it gets some freezer burn.

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Okay, then a year maybe, unless it has freezer burn. In original foam tray/wrap from store, it can get freezer burn in a few months.

Bonus question - I thawed some ground venison on July 5 because I was planning to cook/brown it and put it in a crock-pot of nacho cheese that weekend. We ended up not using it for that, but now it has been thawed for a week and a half (-ish, since it takes a couple days to thaw in the fridge). I am planning to fire up the grill and make burgers with it tonight, but since this subject popped up… anyone think it has been thawed and unused for too long? I know the wife is going to be concerned.

Nuke it from orbit. It’s the only way to be sure.

Alternately, sniff it. If it passes TEST1, cook it. Sniff it again while cooking separately. If it passes TEST2, you should be good.

If you can’t tell if it’s chocolate cake or woolly mammoth steak, you’re just Weird Al.

Smell and color were going to be my metrics. But I just have this feeling that the wife is going to object. She gets a little paranoid about anything that has a date stamped on the package, regardless of if it is a sell by, use by, or best by date. Things without dates are immediately extra-suspect.

If it’s been thawed for more than a week, I would consider it suspect. I wouldn’t eat it, but I prefer to err on the side of not getting sick.


My parents have a penchant for buying things in bulk. Things like hard salami for sandwiches. One-pound packages and only my father eats it.

dakson likes hard salami. If we’re visiting, I’ll give him some for lunch. But I draw the line at salami that’s turned grey and dried out because it’s been in the fridge, open, for a month.

No, I don’t care that’s is a salted, cured meat. It still looks disgusting and probably has the wrong texture.

Speaking of texture, I discovered a string cheese package in their fridge once (the peel-apart mozzarella sticks). Tried one. had the texture of a cheddar somewhere between mild and sharp. Check the date - best by 4 months prior. I threw it all out. “But it’s sealed! It was kept in the fridge!”

We just finished the bambi-burgers; they were fantastic! Color was good and there was no smell, blood in the package was still vibrant red.

I got all crazy and we paired them with baked potatoes. I’m stuffed. I should have taken a picture.

Agree with @dakboy about funky finds from his folk’s fridge.


Until freezer burn, unless I know it’s less than a couple years in which case it goes into stew.