Did you know that ground turkey meat can also be minced meat? Minced meat has always contained meat; usually beef, and sometimes venison. Since turkey meat is a lump of lean red meat, it can serve as a healthier alternative to beef that is usually used in minced meat.
Ground turkey meat is a mixture of dark turkey meat, light turkey meat, turkey skin, and visible fat; all of which are taken off the bone, combined with some additives, and processed.
The only time many people take turkey meat seriously is when they are preparing Thanksgiving dinner. It shouldn’t be so because it is low-fat meat; especially when compared to beef, and it is not hard to procure. Buying ground turkey meat in bulk is the best way to save costs while preparing healthy meals for your family. But, how do you preserve it and ensure that you get your nutrients and money’s worth?
Can you freeze ground turkey meat? Yes, you can. Ground turkey meat is freezer friendly and will be at its best quality as long as the storage time in the freezer does not exceed 3 to 4 months.
If you are going to freeze your ground turkey meat, it is best to freeze it within 2 days of purchasing it, or 2 days before the sell-by date. Ground turkey meat is easy to freeze, we will show you how, you can eat healthily, and save money.
How to Freeze Ground Turkey Meat
Just like any other meat, ground turkey meat can last for long periods. But if you want to enjoy it while it still feels fresh, 4 months is the lapse period. The quality of the meat slowly starts to reduce the longer it stays in the freezer.
If you need to keep your ground turkey meat for just a little while you can keep it in the refrigerator for no more than 5 days, as long as the package the meat came in is left unopened. However, if you have cooked the ground turkey meat, or you have the package opened, it will only last for about 2 days in the refrigerator.
Step 1: Preparing the Ground Turkey Meat
If not properly stored, ground turkey meat can be exposed to freezer burn. You might have heard that meat stored at 0 degrees Fahrenheit (-17.78 °C) will be safe indefinitely. It is true, but home freezers cannot keep that temperature constant and the quality of that meat can not be at its best. What do you do, to ensure that your ground turkey meat is kept at its best quality for the recommended 4 months?
Step 2: Wrap the Ground Turkey Meat Properly
Many people think; “Hey, my meat is already wrapped in the package from the store, why do I need to do anything else before I freeze it?” The major cause of freezer burn is the air surrounding the food item you are about to freeze.
The packaging of your ground turkey meat might not be airtight. Freezing it just the way you bought it from the store could lead to freezer-burned meat, causing your money to go to waste.
Another reason why the store packaging is not a great idea is that you have a lot of food items in that freezer, each of them with its distinctive flavors. Leaving your ground turkey meat with little or no protection could lead to the meat absorbing the flavor of another food item, possibly ruining your cooking experience.
There are different ways you can wrap ground turkey meat before freezing. You can leave it in the store packaging, but wrap it in an extra layer of protection; Aluminum foil. If you do not trust the integrity of the packaging, lose it. Immediately get a plastic wrap, wrap the ground turkey meat tightly in that. Plastic wrap is airtight, but it might not stand the test of time, so wrap that again in aluminum foil.
Step 3: Storage and Freezing
It is important to keep ground turkey meat away from the air, to keep it at its best quality for the next 3 to 4 months in the freezer. Now that you have the meat wrapped, transfer it in an airtight Ziploc bag. Press it flat to get out as much air as you can, or use a straw to suck out the air before sealing it.
Labeling the bag is important because it makes identifying what you have stored in the freezer very easy. It helps you remember how long you have stored it in the freezer.
When putting the now properly stored ground turkey meat away in the freezer, it is best to keep it away from other food items that have strong odors. If you have frozen it in portions, don’t stack the portions until they have spent some days in the freezer.
How to Thaw Frozen Ground Turkey Meat
You can thaw frozen ground turkey meat by transferring it from the freezer to the refrigerator in a leak-proof dish so it can thaw overnight. This is probably the safest way to thaw frozen ground turkey meat because its bacteria growth is very rapid at room temperatures. When thawing in the refrigerator, keep it away from vegetables and other food items just in case it leaks.
Thawing frozen ground turkey meat on the kitchen counter is a bad idea. The outer part of the meat will thaw first and bacteria will begin to develop there as the inner part thaws. Another way to thaw a frozen ground turkey is to use the microwave. Remove the plastic wrap and foil, place the frozen meat in a microwave-safe dish and defrost at 50 percent power for 2 minutes per pound.
If you need to use the frozen ground turkey meat right away without microwaving, You can let it defrost in a bowl of cold water. The frozen meat will defrost evenly because the temperature all around it is the same. This also means that there is no risk of bacteria growth. Leave the frozen turkey in the cold water for about 1 hour per pound.
How Long Does Ground Turkey Last After Being Defrosted?
If you use the refrigerator to thaw your frozen ground turkey, you can leave it in there for the next 2 days before it goes bad. However, if it was thawed in cold water or the microwave, you should cook and eat it immediately.
How Do You Recognize Spoiled Ground Turkey Meat?
The best way to know if your ground turkey meat is still edible is to take a good look and smell it. If it has an offensive odor and the color looks dull, then it has gone bad. Spoiled ground texture is also characterized by a slimy texture. If your ground turkey meat exhibits any of these aforementioned characteristics, please discard it.