What is the average shelf life of rabbit? How long does rabbit last in the pantry, refrigerator, or freezer? What is the best way to store rabbit to increase its shelf life? Find out the answers to these questions and more below:
Shelf Life of Rabbit
|Fresh||2 Days||6-9 Months|
Rabbit meat, frozen or fresh, is normally available year-round. The meat of a younger rabbit or “fryer” is bright pink. A “roaster” or more mature rabbit will have meat that is coarser grained and darker colored. While the fryer’s meat is more tender, the roaster’s is tough. Rabbit meat is mild in flavor.
Refrigerated rabbit should be used within a couple of days. Otherwise, it can be frozen indefinitely. It is best to rewrap the package in freezer paper or freezer safe packaging. To maintain the quality and freshness of the meat, it recommended to use frozen meat within a year.
Leftovers need to be refrigerated with 2 hours after cooking and eaten or disposed of within 3 or 4 days after that. All frozen prepared rabbit should be reheated at 165 degrees F and used sometime between 4 and 6 months to maintain quality and freshness.
HOW TO HANDLE RABBIT
A key safety tip when handling raw meat of any kind is to wash your hands thoroughly with warm, soapy water before and after handling the meat and its packaging. Also, wash all utensils and wipe all surfaces with a clean, soapy cloth or material that can be washed or disposed of immediately to prevent the spread of bacteria.
If you are purchasing the rabbit meat fresh from the market, this should be one of the last items to go into your basket so it would stay as cold as possible until you get home to put it in the refrigerator or freezer. Hopefully, the market where you shop provides plastic bags for you to secure your meat items so the juices from them won’t leak onto the other items in your basket and cross-contaminate them.
If the rabbit meat is frozen, there are three best-advised ways to thaw rabbit meat: 1) in the refrigerator, 2) in cold water in a water-tight bag changed every 30 minutes to ensure the meat stays cold, and 3) in the microwave. No other method of thawing is recommended.
Thawing in the refrigerator is the most recommended method because, if for some reason you are unable to cook the meat, you can always refreeze it without having to cook it first. Any other method will require you to go ahead and cook the rabbit or dispose of it.
Rabbits can be roasted, stuffed, and braised to name a few. Using a food thermometer, the internal temperature should be allowed to reach 160 degrees F to safe eating.
A frozen rabbit should never be cooked in a slow cooker but can be cooked in the oven, on the range, or grill without thawing it first. Of course, the cook time is increased since it must cook slower.