Freezing extends the storage time of meat, allowing you to keep your steaks at their peak flavor without fear of spoilage. Properly wrapped and frozen steaks remain flavorful for many months. Items rarely spoil if they stay properly frozen, but eventually the flavor and texture of the steak begin to degrade. Even if a steak is frozen properly, improper thawing or preparation can cause it to go bad.
Steak retains its quality and flavor for six to 12 months when frozen properly. Steak is usually frozen raw, but it is possible to cook steak prior to freezing. Cooked meats may not retain optimum flavor and are more prone to drying during the freezing and thawing processes. Steak that remains frozen until it's ready for use won't spoil, but after 12 months the flavor may begin to decline and the meat becomes more prone to freezer burn.
Airtight packaging protects the frozen steaks so they don't absorb odors from the freezer or become exposed to freezer burn. Freezer burn occurs when air wicks moisture out of the meat and causes it to dry. Store packaging allows air to permeate, so it's better to wrap the steaks in freezer-quality plastic wrap or secure them in a freezer bag. Remove as much air from the package as possible before freezing. Mark the package with the purchase date so you can use it within the six-to-12-month time frame.
Thawed steak refreezes well if you thaw it in the refrigerator at temperatures below 40 degrees Fahrenheit. Higher temperatures can cause bacteria and harmful microorganisms to grow, forcing you to cook the steaks first before returning them to freezer storage. Be sure to properly refreeze packaged steaks within three days of thawing. Repeated thawing and refreezing can compromise the quality of the meat, so only refreeze when absolutely necessary.
Properly thawing your frozen steak not only allows you to refreeze when necessary, it also ensures the meat tastes as good as it did the day you froze it. Defrost steak for about 24 hours in the refrigerator. Do not leave the meat out at room temperature to thaw. If you must defrost it quickly, place it in a sink with cold water and replace the water often. Alternatively, you can use the defrost setting on your microwave to thaw the steak. Refrigerator-thawed steaks keep for up to five days before they need to be cooked, but quick-thawed steaks must be cooked immediately.
Jenny Harrington has been a freelance writer since 2006. Her published articles have appeared in various print and online publications. Previously, she owned her own business, selling handmade items online, wholesale and at crafts fairs. Harrington's specialties include small business information, crafting, decorating and gardening.