Consumer purchasing meat in supermarket

Tips for storing beef and lamb

As much of Australia moves towards working from home and concerns of a nation-wide lockdown loom, AustralianFarmers is providing some tips and tools on how to make the most out of current circumstances.

With consumers increasing their purchasing of everyday essentials such as pasta, rice, eggs, milk and meat, Meat and Livestock Australia (MLA) have compiled a range of tools to help with storing beef and lamb when purchased in larger quantities.

How to freeze fresh beef lamb

  • Trim beef to ensure safe and even defrosting.
  • Separate cuts into meal-size portions.
  • Flatten butcher’s mince before packing, so it defrosts evenly.
  • Place beef in good-quality plastic bags and wrap in foil for extra protection and to avoid freezer burn
  • Remove excess air and seal securely.
  • Label the bags with the cut name, weight, amount and date of packaging.
  • Freeze up to the recommended storage time for your particular cut.

Recommended freezer storage times

Ideal temperature -18°C to -15°C

Beef sausages1 – 2 months
Beef mince2 – 3 months
Beef strips2 – 3 months
Diced beef2 – 3 months
Thin steaks (minute)2 – 3 months
Steaks3 – 4 months
Roasts (boned and rolled)4 – 6 months
Roasts (bone in)4 – 6 months
Corned beef (fresh) 4 – 6 months
Vacuum-packed meat (unopened)4 – 6 months
All cooked beef dishes1 month

Click here for more information about storage times.

How to safely defrost beef and lamb

How to defrost raw beef in the fridge:

The best way to defrost beef is to leave it in the fridge until completely thawed. You’ll need to plan ahead, but the tender, juicy results are worth the wait!

  1. Remove beef from freezer and separate portions.
  2. Keep beef in freezer wrapping and place it on a dish.
  3. Store on bottom shelf of fridge until thawed and consume within the recommended fridge storage time.

Frozen fresh beef average thawing times 

Beef CutThawing Time
Large roast4–7 hours per 500g
Small roast3–5 hours per 500g
Steaks (about 3cm thick)About 12 hours or overnight

How to defrost raw beef in the microwave:

Pressed for time? Defrosting beef in the microwave is a saviour when you need to speed things up.

  1. Remove freezer bag or wrap. This prevents your beef from sitting in ‘drip’ and stewing while defrosting.
  2. If freezer wrap doesn’t come off easily, wait a few minutes and try again.
  3. Discard any Styrofoam trays – they’re not microwave safe.
  4. Use the pre-programmed ‘defrost’ setting on your microwave.
  5. When defrosting mince, remove outer portions from the dish as they thaw, and set aside.
  6. If the edges of cuts feel warm, stop microwaving and allow beef to stand for a few minutes until the edges are cold again.
  7. Cook beef immediately after defrosting. Make sure it doesn’t stand for any length of time at room temperature or in the fridge.

Click here for more information about defrosting beef.

Click here for more information about defrosting lamb.


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