Is Beef Still Good If It Turns Brown

Why Does Ground Beef Turn Brown?

Freshly cut meat is a purplish or burgundy color, but that changes quickly. “Oxygen reacts with myoglobin (a protein found in muscles), causing the meat to darken,” says Brittany Towers, the food scientist behind The Black Food Scientist. After about 15 minutes of exposure to the air, the meat turns the bright red color we’re familiar seeing in the butcher case. After about 5 days in the fridge, the outside will turn brown.

Let’s talk about our friend myoglobin again. What about raw ground beef that is brownish in the center and red on the outside? Myoglobin has three color states: purple, red, and brown. We discussed how long-term storage can cause meat to turn brown, but tiny oxygen exposures can also cause this color shift. Examples of these situations include the space in the middle of a package containing ground beef or the stacking of premade burger patties on top of one another.

My Ground Beef is Turning Brown

When you reach inside the freezer or refrigerator to take out a hamburger package,

Perhaps you’re wondering if brown ground beef indicates it’s bad.

At your local meat market or quality grocer…

In display cases, fresh ground beef usually has a deep red color.

Ground beef changes color after being kept in your freezer or refrigerator for a brief amount of time.

Sometimes people worry so much about ground beef turning brown that they waste otherwise excellent hamburgers.

They might discard hamburger packages just because the color changed.

In the interest of saving families money.

We’ll address the query: Is it okay for ground beef to brown?

According to Food52, ground beef can technically keep for up to 12 months in the freezer, but if you want to avoid any flavor loss or freezer burn, three to four months is best. It will turn brown in the process, but its still perfectly fine to cook with.

If you use ground beef in your cooking frequently, there’s a good chance you’ve noticed some changes in the meat’s color and have chosen to discard it. But do you need to do that?.

Even before you get the chance to use it, its common for ground beef to turn brown. But while it may be off-putting to see your meat appear a shade other than the bright pink you purchased it in, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) confirms that its typically still safe to eat (though, of course, its always smart to check for funky smells or other signs of spoilage). Thats because the color change has nothing to do with bacteria formation, but rather the meats exposure to oxygen.

In particular, as the USDA explains, the distinctive red color on the surface of the meat is produced by a reaction between oxygen and the pigment called oxymyoglobin. The word “surface” is crucial here because the remaining meat will be gray-brown because it hasn’t come into contact with oxygen. Now, there are some limitations to the color change rule. The likelihood is that the meat is actually in the process of going bad if all of the meat in the package has turned gray or brown. Meat is no longer fresh if it has been exposed to oxygen for an extended period of time and has completely turned brown.

Sure you can buy a small package of ground beef every time you need it for a recipe. But take a quick glance at the price tags at your local butcher or grocery store meat department, and youll often see that its much more cost-effective to just get a three-pound log and freeze what you dont need right away. According to Miss Vickie, freezing is the most effective way to preserve the quality and prolong the shelf life of your ground beef. Browning will still occur regardless, but its nothing to worry about as long as you seal it properly and make sure that your freezer is operating at a sufficiently cold temperature. Miss Vickie recommends at least 32 degrees Fahrenheit, though the FDA is more stringent with its temperatures and recommends an even colder 0 Fahrenheit.