Freezing preserves meat for a long time, but not indefinitely.
The freezer is a blessing in the kitchen, but as useful as it is, it’s a mistake to think of it as a magic cupboard: while it’s a great help in preserving food and ingredients, it doesn’t work wonders, and no food can be stored indefinitely.
This is especially true when it comes to raw meat. Poultry, beef, pork, game and fish can remain in the freezer for a different period of time, after which it should not be consumed. This should be taken just as seriously as the golden rule that meat should not be refrozen once it has defrosted.
How long can various kinds of meat be kept in the freezer?
Of all meats, game and whole poultry can be kept in the freezer for the longest time, while fish can be kept for a relatively short time. See below how long will each type of meat preserve its nutrients and optimal texture in the freezer.
Chicken – whole poultry can be kept in the freezer for 8-12 months, while chicken pieces can be kept for 9 months. If you put leftovers in the freezer, they can only be kept for 3-4 months.
Turkey – raw turkey can be kept in the freezer for 12 months if it is whole. If it is cut up, it can be kept for 9 months, or 3-4 months if it is a cutlet.
Pork – has a shelf life of 12 months. Do not keep longer in the freezer.
Beef – can be kept in the freezer for 10-12 months, after which it should no longer be consumed.
Game – will remain suitable for cooking in the freezer for 8-12 months.
Fish – can be kept frozen for only 2-3 months.
Ready-to-eat meat – if the meat is already cooked, its shelf life will change. As for cooked meat, it can be kept in the freezer for 2-6 months, while roasts only for 1-3 months. Smoked meats such as sausages, ham and bacon can be stored for 1-2 months.