Beef can be stored for 9-12 months. Ground beef can be stored for 3-4 months. Most meat items can be safely stored for longer periods, but they lose some quality. Long storage periods contribute to freezer burn, dehydration, and broken packages, which results in sacrificing quality and quantity. Shorter storage periods can reduce storage investment costs. Decide whether or not your family can eat a side of beef within a year before you buy.