Although frozen foods remain safe to eat for an almost indefinite period of time, they should still be eaten within a certain time frame in order to ensure freshness and an attractive appearance. Wild game, like elk, differs from other meats, and generally can be kept frozen for a much longer period of time without compromising its flavor or texture. However, the time varies depending on whether or not the elk meat is cooked. Additionally, frozen meat's smell and appearance should always be checked before consuming.
According to the USDA, uncooked wild game retains an appealing texture, color, vitamin content and flavor for 8 to 12 months when frozen at 0 degrees Fahrenheit. If the meat has been ground, however, it generally should not be kept any longer than 3 or 4 months.
Cooked elk meat stays fresh in the freezer for 2 to 3 months. This is true even if the meat has been added to a soup or stew and then frozen.
Always check the way the meat smells before eating. If the elk meat develops an unusual or rancid smell, throw it away, no matter how much time has passed.
Frozen foods remain edible almost indefinitely, according to the USDA. If the meat loses an appealing appearance, it can be added to soups or stews. Generally, meat loses its reddish color when in the freezer for a long time, but it may still be eaten. Occasionally, meat that has been stored for a long time may develop freezer burn. Evidence of freezer burn includes grayish-brown leathery patches on the surface of the meat. If the meat is not too deeply freezer-burnt, however, these spots can be cut away.
Erin Vaughan has been a professional writer since 2010 and has published pieces on various websites. She currently works as a publisher’s assistant for a small publisher and moonlights as a technical writer. She also writes fiction, poetry and creative essays.