This Is How Long Frozen Ground Turkey Lasts

Ground turkey on a cutting board
Ground turkey on a cutting board - Mironov Vladimir/Shutterstock

Ground turkey is an ingredient used in dishes ranging from tacos to meatloaf. To make ground turkey, suppliers blend both dark and light leg and breast meat into a mixture that is ground into a paste-like product. From there, consumers can use the coarse mixture to form patties, meatballs, or whatever else a recipe requires. Due to its versatility, keeping ground turkey on hand is a good idea, especially the pre-frozen variety.

Many stores sell pre-frozen ground turkey, and since it is already frozen, there is no need to use it right away. You can store frozen ground turkey in your freezer for up to four months. In comparison, raw ground turkey has a shelf life of up to four days because the warmer temperature allows bacteria to multiply much faster.

In some cases, it is still safe to consume frozen ground turkey beyond four months; however, it may deteriorate in both quality and taste. It may also develop freezer burn, which occurs when frozen food is exposed to cold air and the outer layers lose moisture.

Read more: What Happens If You Accidentally Eat Mold?

How To Properly Store And Thaw Frozen Ground Turkey

Raw turkey burger patties
Raw turkey burger patties - Mironov Vladimir/Shutterstock

Safely storing frozen ground turkey is fairly simple. Once you purchase it from the store, transport the frozen ground turkey to your freezer as quickly as possible. Since the product usually comes in a pre-packaged tube, there are no additional steps needed; however, as with any meat, it is a good idea to store the frozen ground turkey in the farthest corner of the freezer, since the opening and closing of the door can increase the risk of freezer burn.

When thawing frozen ground turkey, it is best practice to defrost the meat in chilled conditions. For instance, transferring the ground turkey from the freezer to the fridge and letting it sit overnight is the best option. If you need the frozen ground turkey quicker, opt to defrost it in a bowl of cold water. Ensure that the ground turkey package is completely submerged and change the water every 30 minutes so it remains cool. Do not, however, defrost frozen ground turkey at room temperature because that can lead to contamination and spoilage. You should also avoid the defrost button on the microwave because it may alter the taste and make you sick by unevenly thawing the meat.

Before consuming, you will want to inspect the ground turkey for signs of spoilage or freezer burn. Signs of spoilage to look for include a sulfur-like odor, slimy texture, or a greyish color. Meanwhile, signs of freezer burn include leathery, dark brown patches.

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