Storing Cooked Meat|
Cooked meat can both impart and absorb flavors, so wrap it in airtight plastic. Most cooked
meat will last for 3 or 4 days, or a couple of days longer if it was cooked in something
acidic like wine, lemon juice or tomatoes or if the product was smoked or dry-cured.
Meat that's vacuum-packed tends to stand up to the rigors of freezing better than meat that's simply wrapped.
To freeze meat at home, wrap in plastic and place in a zip-top bag —
squeeze all the air out before sealing. Store in the back of the freezer (where it's colder), and use it within a month.
Thaw meat by keeping it in the refrigerator overnight or immersing it, wrapped, in cold water.
Don't ever thaw meat at room temperature or with hot water.
The color of meat products is influenced by the animal's species, gender, age and lifestyle.
Muscle tissue that gets more exercise is full of myoglobin, a protein responsible for the red color.
You may notice a slightly purple coloration on the interior of ground beef which will bloom to a reddish hue when exposed to oxygen in the air.
This change in color (as well as browning on the exterior layer of ground meat) indicates normal oxidation and does not signify spoilage unless the color change is also accompanied by an unpleasant odor or a tacky/slimy feeling to the touch.
See the USDA Food Safety Website for further information.
Food product dates are helpful, but the most reliable judgment of a past-its-prime product is made with your senses — look for changes in odor, color and texture. Your meat should not feel slimy or tacky. Take a good whiff. Fresh meat should have a clean scent. If there's a fading or darkening in color and the smell makes
you wrinkle your nose, toss it.