Last Updated on May 9, 2023 by Practical Cooks
There’s nothing like a heaping bowl of beef stew to warm you up on a cold day, so it’s no surprise that many people love to make big batches and put the leftovers up for another meal. Of course, all food has a limited shelf life, including beef stew.
So, how long can you store beef stew in your refrigerator?
The answer to this question depends on a few factors. Generally, beef stew may last up to about three to five days in the refrigerator. The USDA recommends you don’t keep any perishable food in the refrigerator for longer than four days. You should eat cooked beef no later than the fourth day.
What’s The Best Way To Store It?
The key to keeping beef stew in the fridge for as long as possible is proper storage. To do this, you’ll want to make sure you refrigerate the stew within two hours of cooking so that it cools down quickly and prevents the growth of dangerous bacteria.
Store it in an airtight container or a zip-top bag. Your refrigerator should be cold, at least 40 Celsius.
When you want to enjoy your leftovers, make sure the stew is heated to at least 165°F (74°C) before serving. This will ensure that any bacteria that may have grown over the four days is killed and the stew is safe to eat.
Can You Freeze Beef Stew?
Yes, you can freeze beef stew as long as it has been cooked and cooled properly. To freeze it, put the beef stew in a freezer-safe container or zip-top bag and make sure there is as little air as possible. This will help prevent freezer burn and allow it to keep fresh in the freezer for up to three months.
Why Does Beef Stew Spoil Quickly?
The beef stew contains a combination of ingredients: meat, vegetables, and broth. All of these are perishable and need to be stored at an appropriate temperature, or else they may spoil.
When beef stew is cooked and left in the refrigerator for a while, it is more vulnerable to bacteria growth. Avoid getting sick by handling and storing it correctly.
What Happens if You Eat it After 5 Days?
Make sure you check for signs of spoilage if you decide to take a chance by eating it after five days. Five days may be pushing it so check for freshness first. After five days, it may not taste as good. So it may be best to freeze it if you think you need to store the stew this long.
How Do I Know If Beef Stew Has Spoiled?
As mentioned, you’ll know when your stew has expired when you smell.. If it smells off or has an unpleasant odor, then it has gone bad and should be thrown away.
Other signs of spoilage include discoloration, mold, or a slimy texture. If the beef stew has any of these, it is best to discard it and not take a chance on eating it.
Is Freezing Better Than Refrigerating?
Freezing beef stew is better than refrigerating for long-term storage. The freezing process slows down bacterial growth, which means you can keep the beef stew in the freezer for up to three months and it will still be safe to eat.
Prep your stew for the freezer by first cooling it quickly, and putting it in an airtight container or freezer bag. Make sure there is as little air as possible. Don’t forget to add the date to the container or freezer bag.
What Are The Basic Ingredients in Beef Stew?
Beef stew consists of beef, potatoes, carrots, onions, garlic, and broth. The ingredients may vary depending on the recipe, but these are some of the most common. It’s best to brown the meat first and let it simmer for a while before adding the vegetables.
Beef stew is usually slow-cooked. That way, the beef is tender and the vegetables are soft. The stew can be served with a side of crusty bread or over rice or mashed potatoes.
Beef stew is a popular food so there are a few related questions about how to handle it.
1. How Long Will Beef Stew Last Outside the Fridge?
Based on USDA recommendations, you should not leave cooked food out of the fridge for more than two hours. After that, it is best to discard the stew as bacteria can grow and cause food poisoning.
2. How Long Does it Take To Cook Stew Meat?
You should always cook any stewed meat until it is tender, usually around two hours. The time will depend on the cut of the meat and how large the pieces are. If you use a slow cooker, the cooking time can be from 4 to 8 hours. Slow cookers are great for beef stew.
3. How to Cook Stew Meat Tenderly?
The best way to ensure the meat cooks tenderly is to cook it low and slow. You can cook a stew in about 2-3 hours on a stovetop. You can also tenderize any meat by brining it beforehand.
4. How Long Does Venison Last in the Fridge?
Venison is a leaner meat than beef with a slightly shorter shelf life. Venison will last up to three to four days in the fridge, so it is best to use it within this time. Don’t store raw fresh venison in the fridge for longer than five days.