How Long Does Vacuum Sealed Venison Last In The Fridge?

Are you a big game hunter or just someone who loves to cook with venison?

If so, you know that properly storing your meat is essential to keeping it fresh and safe to eat.

One popular method of preservation is vacuum sealing, which can extend the shelf life of your venison by up to two years.

But how long can you keep vacuum-sealed venison in the fridge before it spoils?

In this article, we’ll explore the science behind vacuum sealing and provide you with some tips on how to keep your venison fresh for as long as possible.

So grab a cup of coffee and let’s dive in!

How Long Does Vacuum Sealed Venison Last In The Fridge?

When it comes to storing vacuum-sealed venison in the fridge, the shelf life can vary depending on the type of meat and how it was prepared.

For whole pieces of meat like steaks and roasts, you can expect your venison to stay fresh for 3-5 days if refrigerated. If frozen, that extends to 9-12 months. Some even say that frozen venison can last up to 2 years in the freezer.

Ground meat and sausages will keep well for 1-2 days in the refrigerator and 2-3 months in the freezer. Smoked sausages will last 2-3 months in the refrigerator and 5-6 months in the freezer.

Jerky, on the other hand, can be stored in a cool, dry place at room temperature for up to a month, in a refrigerator for up to 6 months, and in the freezer for up to a year.

It’s important to note that these durations assume that you properly prepared and vacuum sealed your venison. If you didn’t use a vacuum sealer, you might want to consider investing in one. Vacuum sealers extend the freshness and freezer life of your foods by protecting them from freezer burn and sealing in the nutrients.

The Benefits Of Vacuum Sealing Venison

Vacuum sealing your venison has numerous benefits that can help you extend the shelf life of your meat and preserve its quality. Here are some of the benefits of vacuum sealing venison:

1. Freshness: Vacuum sealing your venison keeps it just as fresh as the day you sealed it. By removing all the air from the packaging, you prevent bacteria and other microorganisms from growing on your meat, which can cause it to spoil quickly.

2. Texture and Color: Vacuum sealing preserves the texture and color of your venison. Without air, your meat won’t dry out or become discolored, which can affect its taste and appearance.

3. No Freezer Burn: Freezer burn occurs when air comes into contact with water crystals around food. Vacuum sealing helps prevent this by keeping the air out of contact with the food. Freezer burn ruins the taste and texture of the food, but vacuum sealing can prevent it.

4. Flavor Enhancement: Vacuum sealing allows you to season your venison with herbs and spices before sealing it. This process helps to infuse the flavor into your meat, making it more savory and full of flavor.

5. Portion Control: Vacuum sealing allows you to portion out your venison into meal-size portions before sealing it. This way, you can defrost only as much as you need at a time, reducing waste.

6. No Overwhelming Smell: Vacuum sealing your venison prevents any overwhelming “meat smell” in your fridge or freezer since the meat is sealed air tight.

7. Higher Price: If you plan on selling your hunted meats, then vacuum sealing can bring a higher price because it is in better condition.

Understanding The Science Of Vacuum Sealing

Vacuum sealing is a method of food preservation that removes all the air from the packaging. This process helps to slow down the growth of bacteria and other microorganisms, which are responsible for food spoilage. When food is exposed to air, it can cause oxidation, which leads to changes in color, texture, and flavor. Vacuum sealing eliminates this problem by creating a barrier between the food and the air.

The vacuum sealing process involves placing the food in a plastic bag or container and removing the air using a vacuum sealer. This creates a tight seal around the food, which prevents air and moisture from getting in. The vacuum sealer also removes any excess air, which helps to prevent freezer burn and extends the shelf life of the food.

One of the key benefits of vacuum sealing is that it allows you to store your food for longer periods of time. As mentioned earlier, vacuum-sealed meat can last up to two weeks in the refrigerator and up to a year in the freezer. This is because the lack of air prevents bacteria from growing, which helps to keep your food fresh for longer.

Another benefit of vacuum sealing is that it helps to preserve the nutrients in your food. When food is exposed to air, it can cause nutrient loss due to oxidation. Vacuum sealing helps to prevent this by creating a barrier between the food and the air, which helps to preserve the nutritional content of your food.

Factors That Affect The Shelf Life Of Vacuum-Sealed Venison

Several factors can affect the shelf life of vacuum-sealed venison in the fridge. First and foremost, the freshness of the meat before vacuum sealing plays a significant role. If the meat was not fresh before sealing, it will not last as long as fresh meat.

Another factor is the acidity level or pH level of the meat. Venison that has a lower pH level will last longer than venison with a higher pH level. It’s essential to ensure that the meat is at the right pH level before vacuum sealing it.

The lamination used in the sealing process also affects the shelf life of vacuum-sealed venison. High-quality lamination will provide better protection to your meat, thus extending its shelf life.

The temperature of your refrigerator is also crucial in determining how long your vacuum-sealed venison will last. Make sure that your refrigerator is set to the correct temperature for storing meat.

Lastly, any marinade used in the bag may create ice crystals, which can affect the texture and flavor of your venison. It’s best to avoid adding marinades when vacuum-sealing your venison if you plan on storing it for an extended period.

Signs That Your Vacuum-Sealed Venison Has Gone Bad

Even with proper preparation and vacuum sealing, there are still some signs that your vacuum-sealed venison has gone bad. Here are some things to look out for:

1. Foul odor: If your vacuum-sealed venison has a strong, unpleasant odor, it’s likely that it has spoiled. Trust your sense of smell and discard the meat if it smells off.

2. Discoloration: Fresh venison should be a light pink to red color. If you notice any gray, brown, or black discoloration on your meat, it’s a sign that it’s no longer safe to eat.

3. Slimy texture: If the texture of your venison feels slimy or mushy, it’s a sign that bacteria has started to grow on the meat. This is another indication that the meat has gone bad.

4. Freezer burn: Vacuum sealing your venison helps protect it from freezer burn, but it can still occur if there are any leaks or punctures in the packaging. Freezer burn appears as white or gray patches on the surface of the meat and can affect the taste and texture.

If you notice any of these signs on your vacuum-sealed venison, it’s best to err on the side of caution and discard the meat. It’s always better to be safe than sorry when it comes to food safety.

Tips For Properly Storing Vacuum-Sealed Venison

Properly storing vacuum-sealed venison is crucial to ensure its freshness and longevity. Here are some tips to follow:

1. Use high-quality plastic bags designed for vacuum sealing. Cheap plastic bags or pouches may pop open in the freezer, which would allow air in or cause freezer burn.

2. Keep the packaging tight. This will keep the air out, which is bad for food you plan to store. If air gets in, it will cause freezer burn.

3. Label your venison with the date to eliminate confusion. It’s easiest to label freezer bags or vacuum-seal bags before adding the meat, but you’ll need to label paper-wrapped meat after it’s packaged to ensure the label shows. You can make labels on your computer, but permanent markers work great. Label your packages with the date, cut of meat, and harvest location.

4. Freeze your vacuum-sealed venison as soon as possible at 0°F or below. Flatter packages freeze faster and stack better than clumps of meat.

5. Store your vacuum-sealed venison in a cool, dry place in the freezer. This will help to preserve its texture and flavor.

By following these tips, you can ensure that your vacuum-sealed venison stays fresh and delicious for months or even years to come.