REFRIGERATE IT: Yes
AT FRESHEST: Poultry, whole cuts—Raw, 1 to 2 days; cooked, 3 to 4 days; frozen raw, 9 to 12 months; frozen cooked, 3 to 4 months
Pork, whole cuts— Raw, 3 to 5 days; cooked, 4 to 5 days; frozen raw, 4 to 6 months; frozen cooked, 2 to 3 months
Beef, whole cuts— Raw, 3 to 5 days; cooked, 4 to 5 days; frozen raw, 6 to 12 months, depending on cut; frozen cooked, 2 to 3 months
Lamb, whole cuts— Raw, 1 to 2 days; cooked, 4 to 5 days; frozen raw, 9 months; frozen cooked, 2 to 3 months
Ground meats— Fresh, 1 to 2 days; frozen, 3 to 4 months
OPTIMAL STORAGE: Store on the bottom shelf of the refrigerator, wrapped tightly in airtight packaging (it’s best to leave it in the store packaging until first use). Place on a tray if there is a chance of dripping. The longer meat is left warmer than refrigerated temperatures, the more quickly it will spoil. Therefore, shop for it last and go directly home to put it away, if possible. Alternatively, keep a cooler in your car. Freeze unless you plan to use it within a couple of days. Poultry should not be rinsed before use. Cooked meat should be stored in airtight containers.
FREEZING: Divide meat into meal-size portions. If freezing for a short period, one layer of wrapping is sufficient. If freezing for longer than 2 months, wrap in a second layer to prevent freezer burn. The original packaging is often not moisture proof. It’s preferable to rewrap more tightly so that the meat is exposed to less air. If leaving in original packaging, overwrap tightly with heavy-duty foil or freezer paper, or place in a zip-top freezer bag and remove the air. If repackaging, separate portions with freezer paper, wrap again tightly in freezer paper, then place in an airtight container or a zip-top freezer bag with the air removed. An additional layer of heavy-duty foil before putting the wrapped meat in the container is optional and may help if it will be stored for a long period. Thaw in an ice-water bath, a microwave, or the refrigerator.
USE IT UP/REVIVAL: Portions with freezer burn are not harmful but may be dry and tasteless. If desired, cut out those areas and discard; the rest can be eaten.
Bones can be used to make stock or add flavor to beans.