Buying in bulk is a great way to manage your budget and save some money on groceries, but when buying in bulk or finding meat on special, you need to know how to properly store it to use it at a later stage.
If you have some extra ground turkey that you want to keep for later on, freezing it would be the best option.
Can you freeze ground turkey? Ground turkey can be frozen, and it can be kept in the freezer for up to 4 months before it needs to be used. You should freeze ground turkey as soon as you can, and make sure it is protected properly to preserve its quality.
There are some tips and tricks, and some important information, to keep in mind when freezing ground turkey, to ensure it doesn’t lose its quality. Keep reading to find out the best way to freeze ground turkey and more!
Can Ground Turkey Be Frozen?
Ground turkey can be frozen. It is freezer-friendly meat that can be successfully kept in the freezer for up to 4 months.
This means that you can purchase extra ground turkey if you find any on special, and keep it stored safely away in the freezer for when you need it for a dinner.
Freezing ground turkey is the best way to preserve its shelf-life for much longer, and if you follow the proper preparation and storage guidelines, it will conserve as much of its nutritional value as possible.
How Long Can You Freeze Ground Turkey?
Ground turkey can be kept in the freezer for up to 4 months. It is best used between 3-4 months or before, as this is when it is at its best quality, as long as it was stored properly and is protected in the freezer.
While the frozen ground turkey should be used before 4 months, it will still be safe to eat after this, but the quality will begin to decline, and it might develop freezer burn and lose its taste and texture.
This will also result in the loss of nutritional value.
It is important to label the ground turkey with the date of freezing so that you can keep a track of when it needs to be used by.
Once you have purchased the ground turkey, you should freeze it within 2 days of purchasing, or you should freeze it at least 2 days before the best-by date, which should be shown on the packaging.
The Best Method To Freeze Ground Turkey
It is so important to properly prepare the ground turkey for freezing, to ensure it retains its best quality in the freezer and that it does not develop freezer burn within the 4 months that it needs to be used by.
You might be tempted to freeze the ground turkey in its store packaging, but this isn’t always a good idea.
The store packaging might not be airtight, and this could lead to freezer burn. It also means that the ground turkey is likely to pick up odors from other foods in the freezer.
Here is how to best prepare ground turkey for freezing:
1. Package Ground Turkey
You need to make sure that the ground turkey is wrapped properly before freezing. To do this, you could wrap the ground turkey in plastic wrap, doing more than one layer to ensure it is tightly wrapped.
You could add an extra layer of aluminum wrap to cover the plastic wrap if you feel like it needs added protection.
2. Use A Freezer Bag
To keep the ground turkey packaged securely, once it is wrapped in plastic wrap, place it in an airtight plastic freezer bag.
Make sure to squeeze out as much air as possible before sealing it.
3. Label The Bag
Labeling the ground turkey is so important before freezing. Label it with the name of the meat, and then with the date of freezing.
This helps you to easily identify the meat in the freezer, and it allows you to keep track of when it needs to be used by.
4. Freeze The Turkey
Once the ground turkey has been packaged and labeled, place it in the freezer, away from other foods that have strong odors.
Tip: Freezing Portions
If you have bought a large quantity of ground turkey, and you know you won’t be able to use it all at once, you should portion it before freezing.
You can either wrap the portions in plastic wrap or place them into plastic freezer bags.
Continue to label and date the bags, and freeze them together.
Once the ground turkey portions have been in the freezer for a few hours and have frozen, you can stack them one on top of each other to save space.
The Best Way To Thaw Ground Turkey
Before the ground turkey has been in the freezer for 4 months, you should take it out of the freezer to use it.
Knowing how to thaw ground turkey is just as important as knowing how to freeze it, because thawing it incorrectly can ruin the texture of the ground turkey, and it could even lead to bacteria growth and foodborne illness.
The best way to thaw ground turkey is to leave it in the fridge to thaw overnight or for a few hours.
This is the safest way to thaw food, as it will not be exposed to temperatures that promote bacteria growth. It will still thaw in the refrigerator, but it will do so safely.
Place the ground turkey on a plate when leaving it to thaw in the fridge, in case it begins to leak as it defrosts.
How Long Can I Keep Defrosted Ground Turkey For?
Once the ground turkey has been taken out of the freezer and has defrosted fully, it should be used within 2 days.
This is for ground turkey that was left to thaw in the fridge and which has not been exposed to any higher temperatures.
If you thawed the ground turkey in a bowl of water or on the kitchen counter, it is best to cook and use it right away, to prevent any further bacteria growth.
Can You Refreeze Ground Turkey?
You might have taken the ground turkey out of the freezer and left it to thaw, only to realize you do not need it or you do not need it all. You might be tempted to just place it back into the freezer, but it is not always a good idea.
It is not generally advised to refreeze food, as this will not only result in the ground turkey losing some of its quality, but it increases the chance of bacteria growth.
If you left the ground turkey in the fridge to thaw, and when you check on it, it still has some ice crystals, then you might be fine with refreezing it. If it is still partially frozen and you really want to refreeze it, then it could be okay.
Only take out the ground turkey when you are going to cook it and make sure to use the ground turkey you have taken out so that there would be no need for you to refreeze it.
If you are not going to cook it straight away, then the ground turkey can be kept in the fridge for up to 2 days.
Can You Freeze Ground Turkey?
Ground turkey can be frozen, and it holds up really well in the freezer as it is low in fat. By properly preparing and storing the ground turkey in the freezer, it can be kept for up to 4 months before it begins to lose its quality.
Make sure that the ground turkey is wrapped and protected well before it is frozen, and that you label it with the name and date of freezing, so you can be sure to use it before 4 months.
Once you are ready to use the ground turkey, leave it to thaw in the fridge overnight or for a few hours, to keep it at a safe temperature to be fine to use.
We hope this guide was helpful for you! Here’s a little more on the topic in case you have additional questions!
How do you know if ground turkey has gone bad?
There will be obvious signs that ground turkey has gone bad. This will include an off, foul smell, a slimy texture, and even some discoloration.
If you notice any of these signs with the ground turkey, then it is best to throw it away. It is not worth getting sick over ground turkey!
Is it better to freeze cooked or raw ground turkey?
It is better to freeze raw ground turkey, as it holds up better in the freezing process compared to cooked ground turkey.
Cooked meats lose their moisture as they are cooked, which means that they often become chewy and hard once they have been frozen and then defrosted.
However, if you have made a meal with cooked ground turkey, it can be frozen for up to a month.
If you’re looking for ways to use up any ground turkey you have, here’s a video from Tasty on the subject!