Are you seeing all that corned beef in the grocery store? Do you have to make it by St. Patrick's Day? Or will it last long afterwards? Find out the best time to buy corned beef.
Have you ever been in the store before St. Patrick's Day and saw a big display of corned beef? You wanted to buy it but it was still 2 weeks before March 17th so you decided to pass it by. Or maybe it's 2 weeks after March 17th and you still have a hankering.
Can you just buy the corned beef no matter when it is and just save it in the fridge until you are ready to cook it?
Let's answer those questions.
📅 Expiration Date
How long does the vacuum sealed bags of corned beef that you find in the grocery store last?
Here is an example. I went to the store on March 3rd. I looked at the corned beef in the refrigerated case. The dates I was seeing for expiration was June 1st.
3 months in the future. That is what I call shelf life!
The dates are going to be different depending on the brand but they all should be plenty enough in the future to not have to worry.
When it comes to expiration dates, companies are going to always be conservative to protect themselves. Most items should last beyond their expiration dates.
With that being said, as soon as you see any corned beef in the store, you can go ahead and buy it. In fact you can keep in the fridge for months. There really isn't a reason to put it in the freezer.
🧊 How Long Can It Stay in the Fridge?
As long as you don't have a blackout and your fridge is out for an extended time, you can easily keep that corned beef and eat it for Memorial Day!
But what about after you open the package and cook it. Then how much time do you have?
I would try to consume it within 3-4 days. Longer might be fine as well, but I try to finish leftovers in that time. Anything else can just be frozen.
Corned beef freezes just fine. If the amount you bought is too much for you to eat at once, you could always cut it in a half and freeze the half you don't eat for a later date.
💲 When to Buy Corned Beef
While some stores carry corned beef year round, a lot of places will just have it for the St. Patrick's Day holiday. Unless you are looking for already sliced, cooked corned beef that you find in the deli counter. Because of it's long shelf life you can find it a while before March 17th.
The first time I noticed corned beef at Walmart this year was a month before St Patrick's Day. Usually in February it begins showing up in stores.
If you are looking for it on sale, those sales usually don't happen until the week of St. Patrick's Day. This year, ALDI reduced the price of their point cut corned beef to $2.99 a pound and their flat cut to $3.99 a pound the week of March 17th.
Several days afterward I still found corned beef in the store in plentiful supplies. Since corned beef doesn't go bad that quick, stores are overly concerned about having to sell it all by the 17th. Even if you missed out on eating it the day of, you can still find it the week after without too much hassle usually.
⛔ How To Tell if It's Bad
Since corned beef is pickled and full of salt it's not easy for it to go bad. I can't say I have ever seen it myself.
However if your corned beef doesn't pass the smell test or is really slimy on the surface than I would not eat it. Corned beef will smell by like the spices it's been pickled in. But if it smells like sulfur or rotten eggs than I would cut your losses and toss it.
➕ More on Corned Beef
To sum it all up:
- Uncooked corned beef will last for up to 3 months in your fridge.
- Cooked corned beef should be consumed within 3-4 days.
- You can start buying corned beef in February.
- It will go on sale the week of St. Patrick's Day and you can usually still find it for a week after or so.
Check out the rest of our corned beef content which will help you know how long to cook it, which cut to choose, and what to do with the leftovers. And have you wondered why do we even eat it in the first place for St. Patrick's Day?
- Corned Beef Hash Egg Bites
- How to Make Corned Beef Quick in the Instant Pot
- How to Quickly Brine Corned Beef
- Why Do We Eat Corned Beef on St Patrick's Day
- Why Is It Called Corned Beef?
- Mustard Sauce for Corned Beef
✍️ What is your favorite brand of corned beef to buy in the store? Leave a comment below.