Are you a fan of pork dishes?
Do you often buy raw pork in bulk to save time and money?
If so, it’s important to know how long you can safely store raw pork in the fridge.
Improper storage can lead to foodborne illnesses, which can be dangerous and even life-threatening.
In this article, we’ll explore the guidelines for storing raw pork in the fridge, freezer, and how to tell if it’s gone bad.
So, let’s dive in and learn how to keep your pork fresh and safe for consumption.
How Long Can You Keep Raw Pork In Fridge?
According to the USDA, raw pork can be refrigerated for three to five days. This applies to all cuts of pork, whether it’s a roast or pork chops. Raw ground pork should only be kept in the fridge for one to two days.
It’s important to note that these guidelines are for fresh, uncooked pork. Once the pork has been cooked, it should be kept in the fridge for two to three days before being discarded.
If you plan on storing pork in the fridge, it’s important to keep it below 40°F at all times. Store uncooked pork items together and separate them from cooked foods to prevent cross-contamination.
When transporting uncooked or cooked pork to another location, it should be placed in an insulated container or ice chest until ready to cook or eat.
The Recommended Storage Time For Raw Pork In The Fridge
Raw pork can be stored in the fridge for up to three to five days, depending on the type of cut. It’s important to note that this time frame is for fresh, uncooked pork only. Raw ground pork should only be kept in the fridge for one to two days.
To ensure that the pork stays fresh and safe to eat, it should be kept below 40°F at all times. Store uncooked pork items together and separate them from cooked foods to prevent cross-contamination. It’s also important to refrigerate or freeze fresh pork immediately after bringing it home from the store. Never leave the meat in a hot car or sitting out at room temperature.
If you plan on storing raw pork for longer than three to five days, it should be frozen to prevent it from perishing. When freezing, wrap whole cuts of pork separately in foil or freezer bags before freezing and label them for ease in selecting just the right number of cuts to thaw for a single meal. Be sure to press the air out of the package before freezing.
Tips For Storing Raw Pork In The Fridge
Storing raw pork in the fridge requires careful attention to temperature and proper storage techniques. Here are some tips to help ensure your raw pork stays fresh and safe to eat:
1. Store pork on the bottom shelf: The bottom shelf of your fridge is the coldest part of the appliance, which makes it the best place to store raw meat. This also helps prevent any juices from dripping onto other foods.
2. Keep pork well-wrapped: Raw pork should be wrapped tightly in plastic wrap or placed in an airtight container to prevent air and bacteria from getting in.
3. Store pork away from other foods: To avoid cross-contamination, store raw pork away from other foods in the fridge. This includes cooked meats, fruits, and vegetables.
4. Use a separate cutting board: When preparing raw pork, use a separate cutting board to avoid contaminating other surfaces with bacteria.
5. Check the temperature: Make sure your fridge is set to a temperature of 40°F or below to keep your raw pork fresh and safe to eat.
By following these tips, you can safely store raw pork in your fridge for up to five days. Remember to always use your senses when determining if meat is still fresh and safe to eat. If you notice any unusual odors or discoloration, it’s best to discard the meat rather than risk foodborne illness.
Can You Freeze Raw Pork?
Yes, you can freeze raw pork. In fact, freezing pork is a great way to extend its shelf life. Raw pork can be frozen for up to six months, depending on the cut.
It’s important to properly prepare the pork for freezing to maintain its quality. Wrap the pork tightly in aluminum foil, freezer paper, or freezer bags to prevent freezer burn and avoid having UFOs (Unidentified Frozen Objects!) in your freezer by clearly labeling foods and the date they were frozen.
When freezing pork, it’s recommended to freeze it prior to its use-by date. If there are no instructions on the packaging about how long to keep it in the freezer, we’d recommend eating it within three to six months of freezing – in order to maintain the quality of the product.
Roasts, chops, and tenderloins can be wrapped in freezer paper, heavy-duty plastic bags, or heavy-duty aluminum foil for up to six months. For chops, put a double layer of waxed paper between each. For roasts, always freeze the pork roast whole. For products in roll stock (anything without a tray), they can go directly into the freezer without needing to be repacked. This limits any type of cross-contamination.
It’s important to note that while fresh pork can be frozen for up to six months, cooked pork should only be frozen for around three months. Also, make sure your freezer is set to 0 degrees Fahrenheit or lower when storing raw pork. When stored at 0 degrees Fahrenheit, raw pork should keep in the freezer for 6 to 12 months.
How To Safely Thaw Frozen Pork
If you have frozen pork that you need to thaw, there are a few safe methods to do so. The first and safest method is to thaw the pork in the refrigerator. Simply place the frozen pork in its original packaging or in a leak-proof bag on a plate and allow it to thaw in the refrigerator for 24 hours per 5 pounds of meat.
If you need to thaw the pork more quickly, you can use the cold water method. First, place the frozen pork in a leak-proof bag and submerge it in a large bowl or pot of cold tap water. Be sure to change the water every 30 minutes until the pork is fully thawed. This method typically takes about 30 minutes per pound of meat.
Another option is to use the microwave to defrost the pork. Follow the microwave manufacturer’s guidelines for defrosting meat and be sure to cook the pork immediately after microwave thawing.
It’s important to never thaw pork at room temperature or on the counter, as this can encourage bacteria growth and increase the risk of foodborne illness. Additionally, do not use warm or hot water when thawing pork, as this can also increase the risk of bacteria growth.
Once your pork is fully thawed, be sure to cook it immediately and use a meat thermometer to ensure that it reaches an internal temperature of 145°F. By following these safe thawing methods, you can ensure that your pork is both delicious and safe to eat.
Signs That Raw Pork Has Gone Bad
It’s crucial to be able to identify when raw pork has gone bad to prevent foodborne illnesses. Here are some signs to look out for:
1. Color: Fresh raw pork should have a pinkish hue with white fat marbling. If the pork is beginning to spoil, a dull, greyish color will replace the pink. There may still be pink inside, but if there is any sort of greying or dulling of color, it’s best to throw the pork away.
2. Texture: Spoiled pork feels slimy to the touch. Sometimes you can even see the slime. Pork that is not spoiled has a particular tender but firm feel; if the meat is soft and squishy, it has started to spoil.
3. Odor: Spoiled pork emits a sour smell that deepens and intensifies over time. If you notice any sour or ammonia smells, it’s a sure sign your pork has spoiled and should be discarded.
4. Packaging: Puffed-up packaging is another telltale sign for bad pork. Bad bacteria produce gases that cause the packaging to appear bloated. But open the package and use your sense of smell to confirm whether it’s bad before discarding.
5. Visual evaluation: In addition to checking the color, texture, and odor, visually evaluate the meat before using it. A slimy or sticky texture is bad, while a yellowish or greenish color is even worse.
It’s important to note that cooking bad pork will not make it safe to eat. It will increase the unpleasant smell and taste and make you sick. Always check your raw pork before cooking and discard it if there are any signs of spoilage.
Precautions To Take When Handling Raw Pork
Handling raw pork requires extra precautions to prevent the spread of harmful bacteria. Here are some key steps to take:
1. Cover any cuts or wounds on your hands with waterproof dressings or plastic gloves before handling raw pork. This will help prevent the spread of bacteria from your hands to the meat.
2. Avoid touching your face or other body parts while handling raw pork. This will help prevent the spread of bacteria to other parts of your body.
3. Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water before and after handling raw pork. This will help remove any bacteria that may be on your hands.
4. Use separate knives and chopping boards for raw pork and ready-to-eat foods. This will help prevent cross-contamination between the two.
5. Keep uncooked pork in well-covered containers in the lower compartment of the refrigerator at a temperature of 40°F or below. This will help prevent the growth of harmful bacteria.
6. Thaw frozen pork in the refrigerator at a temperature between 0°C and 4°C, or in a microwave oven. Thawed meat should be processed and cooked as soon as possible to reduce the chance of contamination.
7. Wash the pork before cutting or mincing to remove any bacteria that may be on the surface.
8. Clean all surfaces, utensils, and equipment that have come into contact with raw pork thoroughly with hot soapy water. This will help prevent cross-contamination of bacteria from the pork to other foods.
By following these precautions, you can reduce the risk of foodborne illness when handling raw pork.