Here’s my experience and answer to the question of how long vacuum sealed meat will last in the freezer..
I recently thawed, cooked, and consumed a few steaks that were exactly 3 years old. They were well vacuum sealed and kept in a chest freezer. Its average temperature was between 0 and 5 degrees-F.
I have been freezing meat for years and years. I have a rotation system that I use for the chest freezers (linked below). So I have pretty good experience knowing how long meat will last in the freezer. Results below..
It makes a big (BIG!) difference to use a vacuum sealer machine versus other ways of storing meat in the freezer. Oh my goodness. You need to buy one if you don’t already have one. Way better than Ziploc freezer bags.
I purchase the following vacuum sealer bags in bulk. They are the most cost effective, and they have been great. Link to O2frepak storefront on amzn:
I used to use Ziploc type bags. I would burp the air out as best I could. But after awhile they would always begin to get some freezer burn. Frosty. This is not good for the meat.
Meat sealed in a vacuum sealer bag will look as good years later as it was when you first sealed it. No joke.
When I buy steaks for the chest freezer, there’s not even a second thought. The vacuum sealer machine comes out – as well as the bags. After they’re sealed, I mark the top edge of the sealed bag with a black Sharpie. The cut of meat / Month / Year. Then into the deep freeze they go…
Shelf Life of Vacuum Sealed Meat
Beef, Pork, Poultry, Lamb (2 – 3 years)
Ground meat (1 year)
Fish (2 years)
My Experience with Vacuum Sealed Meat in the Freezer
My experience very much agrees with FoodSaver recommendations.
I mentioned recently consuming a few steaks that were vacuum sealed for 3 years. I noticed the taste was not ideal. The meat was not ‘bad’. Rather, it was somewhat on its way down. Noticeable.
Beef, Poultry, Pork. FoodSaver says 2 – 3 years. My experience indicates that 2 years still tastes great.
2 years should be your goal for longest shelf life rotation of meat in the freezer.
Ground Beef is different. Any ground meat. FoodSaver says 1 year. I agree. The taste of ground meat starts to go off when you get into the second year with frozen ground beef.
1 year should be your goal for longest shelf life rotation of ground meat in the freezer.
Again, it doesn’t go ‘bad’ at this point. Instead you begin to notice the taste. So you might as well be sure to consume your frozen meat before this happens.
The other day I came across my FoodSaver manual. I scanned the page that lists the food type and shelf life storage. I’ll copy it here for your interest:
Freezer Temperature Is Important Too
For best results for longer storage life, use a chest freezer. They get colder. Mine cycle between 0 (F) and -10 (F). I could adjust it colder, or warmer, but that seems to work out well.
How Vacuum Sealer Bags Work
The design of FoodSaver (vacuum sealer) Bags and Rolls has special channels that enable the efficient and complete removal of air.
The construction makes them an especially effective barrier to oxygen and moisture, preventing freezer burn. Bags and Rolls come in a variety of sizes.
With that said, I only buy Bags. The rolls are kind of a pain. Buying freezer bags in bulk is the way to go IMO.
[ Read: How I Organize My Chest Freezers ]