Buying a basket full of groceries can prevent you from traveling to the supermarket for weeks, especially if you have a small family.
Just store a few packages of meat in the freezer and they will last far longer than in the fridge. One of the best foods to store in the freezer is ground turkey. But what if you forget a package of ground turkey at the bottom of the freezer? How long can you freeze ground turkey?
Ground turkey can sit frozen in the freezer for up to a year, but it is best to eat it at after three to four months.
A small amount of freezer burn is fine, as you can just remove it and cook the turkey as normal. But if the package of turkey has freezer burn on more than half its surface, then throw it away.
To learn more about how to store ground turkey, cooked ground turkey, and formed raw ground turkey in the freezer, keep on reading.
Home chefs and professional chefs alike enjoy cooking turkey, as it has a very light flavor so it can be adapted to any recipe. It is sometimes better than using chicken.
Plus, turkey is leaner than chicken and it has less fat. Just like ground beef or ground chicken, ground turkey can be stored in the freezer.
It is safe to leave ground turkey in the freezer for a year. After a year, the flavor and the texture of the ground turkey will degrade severely after each passing month. To keep the optimal amount of flavor and a good texture, thaw and cook ground turkey in four months or less.
How to Store Ground Turkey in the Freezer
Most people just take the frozen pack of turkey meat and place it in the freezer. This is fine if you plan to eat ground turkey within a few weeks.
But if you plan on storing the turkey for a few months, then storing the ground turkey in its original package may cause freezer burn.
To prevent freezer burn, remove the ground turkey from its grocery package, pat it dry with a paper towel, and place it in an airtight freezer-safe container. The container should not be much bigger than the pack of ground turkey.
Too much air in a package can cause freezer burn, so it’s best to use a small package. Also, place the ground turkey patties or meatballs in a Ziploc bag.
Press the air out of the Ziploc bag. Then store the Ziploc bag in an airtight container.
Can You Shape Raw Frozen Turkey and Freeze It?
It Is cheaper to buy a pack of ground turkey than individual frozen turkey patties. Just reshape the turkey into four individual patties, and freeze them.
Each patty should be separate and have a piece of parchment paper on top of it. You can also add spices to the ground turkey patty or to the ground turkey meatballs.
By adding spices to the raw ground turkey and then shaping it, you can cut down on the preparation and cooking time when you’re ready to make lunch or dinner.
Cooking ground turkey will make it easier and faster for you to prepare meals in the future. But you won’t be able to store ground turkey as long as raw turkey. Cooked ground turkey can be stored in the freezer for four months.
However, cooked turkey in sauces like spaghetti sauce or carbonara can only sit in the freezer for about a month.
To store ground turkey in the freezer properly, spice and cook it thoroughly. Then drain away any juices. Do not freeze the juice with the ground turkey. Pat the cooked meat with a paper towel to soak up the juice.
Place the cooked meat in an airtight container and place it in the fridge for an hour. Then move it to the freezer.
Like the raw turkey, you can also place the ground turkey in a freezer safe Ziploc bag and press all the air out. Then place it into an airtight container and store it in the freezer.
Why Store Food in a Ziploc Bag?
Store raw or cooked turkey in a Ziploc bag and press out all the air, as it is the air that causes freezer burn. When a food item is exposed to air in the freezer, the air will dry out the food. By sealing your ground turkey in a Ziplock bag and pressing out the air, you’re preventing freezer burn.
Most food packages will develop freezer burn if they are left in the freezer for a long enough time. But foods that have an excessive amount of juice or liquid are likely to develop freezer burn faster.
When you pull the frozen ground turkey out of the freezer, you may see it has a small amount of ice around part of the meat chunk. It is still safe to eat, as long as you cut off the burned part. But if there is ice around more than half of the ground turkey, then it is not safe to eat.
Conclusion to How Long You Can Freeze Ground Turkey
Ground turkey can sit in the freezer for up to a year. It will taste its best if it is eaten within four months of being frozen.
You can also cook ground turkey and store in the freezer, but the ground turkey will only last about four months in total. Sealing the ground turkey meat in an airtight and Ziploc bag will help prevent freezer burn.