How Long Can You Keep Meat In The Freezer?

Meat is a notoriously difficult foodstuff to keep happy — it's basically equivalent to a moody teenager. If it's in the open air it likes to warm up to a temperature three times that of the sun, and if it's in a refrigerator it sulks restlessly for a few days before deciding to spit out a putrid smell. Only putting it in the freezer makes it settle — but even then you can't just forget about it.

It may surprise you that even in the freezer meat has a lifespan that should be understood to avoid its quality becoming suboptimal. The majority of meats should be good for at least one month, while some will retain their quality in the freezer for up to 18 months (per

To get a better understanding of how long the meat you buy will last in the freezer, we've looked at the specific data for fish, poultry, beef, lamb, and pork, as well as what happens to meat if it is frozen for too long.

Certain meats retain their quality longer than others

Some meats retain their freshness in the freezer better than others, although it should be made clear that only the quality of the food is affected — provided they are stored below freezing, they will last indefinitely, notes If you're looking for long-lasting freshness, shrimp, crayfish, and squid can last between six to 18 months in the freezer. At the other end of the scale, ham (including cooked country and sliced parma and prosciutto) is only good for one month.

Sausages and hot dogs are fine to be frozen for up to two months, as is deli meat and store-packaged whole or half ham. Hamburgers are good for between three and four months, while all cuts of pork, beef, veal, and lamb can be kept for between four and 12 months. Pieces of chicken or turkey can be frozen for nine months, but whole ones can last 12 months. Fish falls in between, with crab and lobster potentially reaching four months, and cod, haddock, and pollock hitting eight months. The worst-performing meat is bacon, which maintains its quality for only one month.

Freezing meat while it is still fresh is the best way to ensure it maintains its quality, explains Whirlpool. If the meat has been frozen for too long, it may appear discolored, have a strong smell, and show signs of freezer burn.