Corned beef is a processed meat which has a lot of admirers for its distinctive flavor, which comes from dry curing beef.
This process helps extend the shelf life of the meat, and some people even prefer it to the fresh stuff.
Because corned beef is a processed meat, the likelihood is that you won’t need to freeze it unless you have a significant amount of leftovers, or if it’s nearing the end of its shelf life.
Let’s take a look at the shelf life of corned beef.
The Shelf Life Of Corned Beef
Unopened, canned and unrefrigerated corned beef will last the longest. If you leave it in a cool, dry cupboard, it will last up to 5 years. If you open it and put it in the fridge, the longest it will last is 4 days.
Corned beef hash that’s sold in a can will last a maximum of 5 years.
For cooked corned beef, it will typically last 3-4 days in the fridge, and a maximum of 3 months in the freezer.
Uncooked corned beef will last in the freezer for up to 6 months, but for best results, use it within 3 months of freezing.
Frozen canned corn beef will keep for about 3 months in the freezer.
Freezing corned beef will probably affect its consistency and its overall flavor, and this is the same for both cooked and raw corned beef.
If this sounds like a dealbreaker, you’re better off using the corned beef in a cooked dish once you thaw it.
How Do You Freeze Corned Beef?
How To Freeze Uncooked Whole Corned Beef
The first thing you need to do to freeze raw whole corned beef is to drain it. The liquid surrounding the corned beef contains a lot of salt, which may shorten the shelf life when you freeze it.
If you want to freeze it completely whole, wrap it in two layers of cling film, making sure that it’s airtight. This will help prevent any freezer burn.
Grab a heavy-duty freezer bag, and put the wrapped corn beef inside. Squeeze out any excess air from the bag, seal it, and label it with the storage date.
Make sure to put it in the coldest section of your freezer.
How To Freeze Uncooked Slices Of Corned Beef
If you want to make defrosting a lot easier, and to ensure the corned beef defrosts evenly, cut the raw corned beef into slices before you freeze it.
Again, make sure to drain any excess liquid from the meat, and then slice the corned beef as you see fit.
Double wrap the portions in cling film or foil, making sure there are no holes.
Put the wrapped pieces into a resealable freezer bag, taking care to get rid of any excess air, and seal the bag. Label it, and lay it flat in the freezer.
How To Freeze Cooked Corned Beef
Unfortunately, freezing cooked corn beef is a little more complicated than freezing raw corned beef. This is because any added ingredients can affect the shelf life of the meat (see also article on freezing pate).
If you don’t have any other option other than to freeze the meat, you can freeze cooked corned beef using a food vacuum sealer.
Once the corned beef is cool, transfer it into a food vacuum bag, and let the machine seal it.
Label it with the freezing date, and put it flat into the freezer.
If you don’t have a food vacuum sealer, and you have no plans of getting one, you can use one of the two methods above, which will work just fine.
Just make sure you freeze it once the corned beef is cool, and if you’re wanting to freeze canned corned beef, transfer it into a suitable freezer-safe container first.
How To Use Leftover Corned Beef
If you’ve got a lot of leftover corned beef, and you’re not sure what you can use it in, we’ve got you covered with some tasty ideas.
As A Pizza Topping
If you’re making a meat feast pizza, or if you’ve simply run out of pepperoni (see also Can You Freeze Deli Meats), you can use corned beef as a substitute.
You’ll need to shred the corned beef with a knife and fork to ensure it cooks through, and add it to the pizza as you would with any other topping.
Bake the pizza as normal, and you’ve found a great way to use that corned beef!
In A Wrap
We’ve all probably heard of corned beef sandwiches, but I bet less people have heard of corned beef wraps. This adds another element to any lettuce or cabbage wraps, giving it an unexpected twist.
Prepare the wraps as normal, stuffing the cooked corn beef in with the rest of the fillings, or by itself if you prefer. Add mustard and mayo to taste, and enjoy.
Corned Beef Hash
If you’ve got a hangover, or if you simply want something hearty and filling to start your day with, prepare it with corned beef, your favorite veggies, potatoes and spices.
Add To Soups Or Casseroles
Corned beef is a great addition to soups and casserole dishes, adding another layer to any warming dish you can imagine. Corned beef compliments a lot of traditional ingredients in both types of dish, which makes for the perfect ingredient.
Add To Stews
If you’re making a stew in a slow cooker, why not add some corned beef to give it more depth and character?
How To Thaw And Reheat Corned Beef
When it comes to defrosting and reheating corned beef, the sooner you do so after freezing it, the better quality the corned beef will be once you defrost it.
Transfer the corned beef into the fridge, and leave it overnight.
If you’re defrosting cooked corned beef, you don’t need to defrost it, just add it to whatever dish you’re making.
While freezing corned beef is seen as an unusual practice, it’s perfectly safe to do so, and it can cut down on food waste.