How long does uncooked meat last when kept in the freezer?
Chicken, beef, or even shrimp? How long can I keep it there before it goes bad?
You may check out the answers here as it is very similar. http://cooking.stackexchange.com/questions/11209/how-long-can-you-freeze-raw-chicken-before-it-seriously-affects-its-taste/11213#11213
We can read here: One of the best-documented accounts of a prehistoric meal comes at the end of Frozen Fauna of the Mammoth Steppe (1990), by Alaska zoology professor Dale Guthrie. After successfully unearthing and preserving "Blue Babe," a 36,000-year-old steppe bison ... Guthrie's team celebrates by simmering some leftover flesh from Babe's neck "in a pot of stock and vegetables." The author reports that "the meat was well aged but still a little tough, and it gave the stew a strong Pleistocene aroma."
If it is sealed in an air tight container and the freezer always stays very cold so the meat never thaws- then chicken and beef will stay good indefinitely. I have used both chicken and beef that had been frozen in my deep freezer at 0F for years with no ill effect.
I can't speak for shrimp as I have no personal experience but I would expect it to be the same.
Shrimp freezes very well, lasts years and is still good for soup or stir-fry. The trick is an air tight container or vacuum bag
Generally, meats dry out (freezer burn) when frozen before they become unsafe to eat. You can reduce the drying effect by double-wrapping meats, and a vacuum sealer is especially helpful. Freezer burnt meats become tough and grainy, but can normally still be used in stews, stocks, and other preparations that hide the damage.
As long as it has been kept frozen meat and poultry will be safe to eat indefinitely.
The quality of the meat may deteriorate with time. This depends on whether the meat was packed in a airtight container before freezing. The major risk is freezer burn which attacks the edges and surface of meat first. It can be trimmed off and the remainder of the meat used safely. If used with a combination of other flavors any freezer effects are not noticeable.
Meat which has been packed using cryovac will keep safely and maintain good texture and flavor for several years based on my personal experience. Cryovac is a process in which a food product is sealed in thick impermeable plastic where all the air has been removed
Finned fish which has been kept frozen will remain safe. Quality seems to be dependent on how delicate the fish is. My husband went fishing in Alaska about 10 years ago and brought home cryovac-ed salmon which was still tasty about 60 days ago.
Tangentially, smoked salmon which has been cryovac-ed keeps indefinitely. I "discovered" an old hostess gift and researched on line whether it was safe to eat.I was unable to locate any data which gave a "best by" or expiration date . It went back in the upper cabinet subject to further research, though.
I rely on the Harold McGee books. Madeleine Kamman, The Making of a Cook and Cook's Illustrated magazine. Kamman is getting a bit dated but she writes for both home and restaurant cooks . These three sources avoid the Food Network hype
People might not believe this BUT I SWEAR it's true: when my mother father died in December 1993, and I moved my mother in with me (her only child/son) and looked after her until she died in 1998. She had 4 deep freezers!!!, one of which I kept running (and it still running) in my garage (and has NEVER been defrosted - (a chest freezer)). Over the years, just sorta never got around to completely eating down to/through the bottom half/kept refilling the top 1/2) until recently when I thought 'gotta get this sucker emptied. So, about a week or so as I was working my way down and got down to (hold your breath): 1996!!! Found a beef roast, well wrapped/no sign of freezer burn soooo... decided what the heck: Thawed out plus about 45 minutes in a convection microwave and IT WAS DELICIOUS. Yah couldna told it from fresh from the store.
So, like the man says: if its well wrapped, kept real cold/never thawed and no (or little) freezer burn, it will keep a LONG TIME - like 18 years in this case!!!
While that's definitely interesting, I think it's worth pointing out that this is both anecdotal and definitely the exception to the rule.
Dry-Aging Beef Pays Off With Big Flavor: http://www.finecooking.com/articles/dry-aging-beef-pays-off-big-flavor.aspx I've had it frozen 3 or 4 years. Well packaged, not burned, it tastes fine. Never made it to 18 years though.