Beef stew is a delicacy that doesn’t often grace most kitchens because of the tedious work that goes into making a memorable sample. It is not uncommon to see people wanting to know exactly how long their beef stew will last before it goes bad.
Do you have a pot of beef stew simmering on your stove, and it looks like you would have some leftovers? It is okay to wonder how long you can store it and the best location to preserve it.
How long does beef stew last in the fridge? Beef stew lasts for 3 to 4 days in the fridge if stored properly. The USDA recommends that you make use of the cooked beef that you have stored in the fridge before the fourth day, that’s if you keep it refrigerated at a temperature of 40 °F or less.
The storage mode plays a considerable role in how long your beef stew will last in the fridge. The condition of the beef stew before refrigeration is also crucial because refrigeration will not make it better.
How Long Can Beef Stew Last at Room Temperature?
Beef stew doesn’t last long at room temperature. Bacteria multiply between 40°F and 140°F. According to the USDA, if the temperature of the beef stew is more than 90 °F, it shouldn’t sit out for more than an hour.
If your beef stew is left at room temperature for longer than 2 hours, it might no longer be safe for consumption. Bacteria doesn’t immediately change the taste, look, or smell of most foods; you can’t tell if it’s okay to eat them or not.
After making the stew, you can transfer it into shallow containers and place it directly into the refrigerator if you are not sure what to do with your beef stew.
If you think it is too hot for the refrigerator, you can chill it rapidly in an ice bath before you refrigerate. If your beef stew has been left out at room temperature for too long, discard it.
How to Tell if Beef Stew Has Gone Bad
If you can’t figure out how long your beef stew has been out, how do you tell if it has gone bad? The first telltale sign of spoiled beef stew is an off odor or flavor. If you somehow fail to notice that, the appearance wouldn’t look so great anymore; it would have a dull color and slimy texture. If mold has developed, then you should dispose of it immediately.
Eating spoiled beef stew affects the body adversely, even causing food poisoning. To avoid incidents like this, it might be better to prep your beef stew for a longer storage time.
How Can You Store Beef Stew to Last Longer?
Spoiled beef stew is not good for your health, and storing it in smaller containers in the fridge would not last the week. If you need to preserve your beef stew for longer, freezing it will be the best option.
How to Freeze Beef Stew
Freezing beef stew is straightforward, but it has to be done appropriately; otherwise, the results would be unsatisfactory. Beef stew can be preserved for six months before its quality degrades.
Before you go ahead to freeze your beef stew, it has to be completely cooled down. It shouldn’t be stored until it has cooled down to room temperature. Since you can leave it out at room temperature for too long, you can make use of an ice bath to rapidly cool it down. Get a big bowl of ice and water and dip the pot of stew into it, leaving it till it cools down to room temperature.
You can freeze your beef stew in Ziploc bags or small airtight containers. Just make sure that it would hold well to avoid leakages that affect what else you have stored in your freezer. Pick the size of the bags or containers and have them neat and ready.
Separate into Portions
Separating your beef stew into portions keeps you from thawing the entire stew when you only need a small portion. Beef stew doesn’t take well to re-freezing. You shouldn’t refreeze at all. Put each portion in a separate Ziploc bag or container and leave about an inch of space for expansion before sealing it.
Label and Freeze
The final step is to label the containers with their contents and date of storage, so you can easily identify what you have stored and for how long you have had them stored. When placing the containers or Ziploc bags in the freezer, try keeping them level to prevent leakages.
Please note that if you have added thickeners like flour or cornstarch to your beef stew, they will separate upon freezing. If you plan to freeze your stew from the start, don’t add thickeners till you thaw and reheat it.
How to Thaw Frozen Beef Stew
Don’t leave your frozen beef stew to thaw on the kitchen counter. Take it out of the freezer and let it thaw in the fridge overnight. If you are in a rush, you can put it in the microwave or use a bowl of water to thaw it.
Frozen beef stew that has been thawed in the fridge can be kept longer for 3 to 4 days. If you thaw your stew in water or the microwave, you should eat it immediately.
Beef stew could be just what you need during winter when it’s all cold and snowy. If stored properly in an airtight container, it can last for up to three to four days before it goes bad. If you have left your beef stew still out for too long but not longer than 2 hours, you should reheat it before you eat.
If you want to store it for a longer time, the freezer can keep it fresh for about six months, and it will retain its taste and flavor after thawing and reheating.