Are you a fan of pork dishes? Do you often buy raw pork in bulk to save money and time?
If so, you may be wondering how long you can safely store raw pork in your fridge. Proper storage of raw pork is crucial to avoid foodborne illnesses and ensure the meat stays fresh for as long as possible.
In this article, we’ll explore the guidelines for storing raw pork in the fridge, including how long it can last and what signs to look for when it’s time to toss it out.
So, let’s dive in and learn more about how to keep your raw pork fresh and safe to eat!
How Long Is Raw Pork Good In The Fridge?
Raw pork can be stored in the fridge for three to five days, depending on the cut and how it’s packaged. Whole cuts of fresh pork, such as roasts or chops, can be refrigerated in their original packaging for up to four or five days after purchase. Ground pork, on the other hand, should only be kept in the fridge for one to two days.
It’s important to note that these guidelines are for raw pork that has been properly stored in the fridge at a temperature below 40°F. If the temperature rises above this threshold, bacteria can grow rapidly, increasing the risk of foodborne illness.
The Importance Of Properly Storing Raw Pork
Proper storage of raw pork is crucial to prevent the growth of bacteria that can cause foodborne illness. Bacteria thrive in temperatures between 40°F and 140°F, which is why it’s important to keep raw pork out of this “danger zone.” Refrigeration is crucial for slowing bacterial growth, which exists naturally in soil, water, air, and the food we eat.
When storing raw pork, it’s important to keep it in a sealed container or securely wrapped up to prevent any raw juices from contaminating other foods. Some fridges have adjustable shelves or individual meat drawers that make storage of meat more convenient and separate it from other food products. Large portions of meat should be divided into smaller parts before refrigerating to maximize storage time and provide additional cool air in a direct way without freezing.
It’s also essential to keep the fridge clean and throw out perishable foods at least once a week. Cooked leftovers should be kept for a maximum of four days, while raw poultry and ground meats should be kept for one to two days. Keeping an open box of baking soda on a shelf can help keep the fridge fresh.
When buying pork, look for cuts with a small amount of fat over the outside and firm, grayish-pink meat with a small amount of marbling for the best flavor and tenderness. Always select meat just before checking out at the supermarket register and make sure all meats, whether raw, pre-packaged or from the deli, are refrigerated when purchased. Fresh meats may contaminate other grocery items, so it’s best to keep them separate from other items and put them in a plastic bag so that juices won’t drip onto other foods.
Signs That Raw Pork Has Gone Bad
It’s crucial to be able to recognize the signs that raw pork has gone bad to avoid getting sick. Here are some indicators to look out for:
1. Color: Fresh pork should have a pinkish hue with white fat marbling. If the pork appears dull or grayish in color, it may be spoiling.
2. Texture: Spoiled pork will feel slimy or sticky to the touch. It should have a tender but firm feel, and if it’s soft and squishy, it has started to spoil.
3. Smell: Any sour or ammonia smells are sure signs that the pork has spoiled and should be discarded immediately.
4. Packaging: If the packaging is puffed up, it’s an indication that bad bacteria has produced gases that caused the packaging to appear bloated. Open the package and use your sense of smell to confirm whether it’s gone bad before discarding.
5. Yellowish or greenish color: If you notice any yellowing or greenish color on the pork, it’s a clear sign that it has gone bad and should be thrown away.
It’s essential to keep in mind that cooking bad pork will not make it safe to eat. It will only increase the unpleasant smell and taste of it and make you sick. Therefore, it’s crucial to be careful with pork, especially since it can be invested with particular worm larvae that can get you very sick. Always check the date on the package, give it the sniff test, look at the color of your pork, and make sure that it isn’t slimy at all before cooking it.
Tips For Extending The Shelf Life Of Raw Pork
If you want to extend the shelf life of raw pork, there are several tips you can follow:
1. Properly store the pork: Make sure to tightly wrap the pork to prevent it from drying out and to avoid exposure to air. If possible, leave the pork in its original packaging to minimize handling. If you need to rewrap it, use plastic wrap, foil, or a leak-proof bag, or place it in an airtight container. Store the pork on a dish with sides to catch any meat juices that may drip.
2. Keep the pork in the coldest part of the fridge: Store raw pork on the bottom shelf of the refrigerator, and cooked or ready-to-eat meat on the top shelves. This prevents any possible leaks from the raw meat from dripping on and contaminating other foods.
3. Marinate in the fridge: Always marinate raw pork in the fridge and make sure it is covered or sealed.
4. Check use-by dates: Keep an eye on use-by dates and freeze any meats you know you won’t use before their expiry date.
5. Rotate frozen items: When unloading shopping, rotate frozen items so that older items are at the top.
6. Avoid refreezing: Never refreeze raw pork as it can lead to moisture loss and affect its texture and flavor.
By following these tips, you can extend the shelf life of raw pork and reduce the risk of foodborne illness. Proper storage and handling are essential for maintaining food safety and preventing wastage of this expensive food item.
Properly Handling And Cooking Raw Pork To Avoid Foodborne Illnesses
Properly handling and cooking raw pork is crucial to avoid foodborne illnesses. Here are some tips to keep in mind:
1. Separate raw pork from other foods: When shopping, keep raw pork separate from other foods in your grocery cart and bags. At home, store raw pork in a separate container or on a plate on the bottom shelf of the fridge to prevent any juices from dripping onto other foods.
2. Use separate cutting boards and utensils: Use a different cutting board and utensils for raw pork than you would for other foods, such as fresh produce. This helps prevent cross-contamination.
3. Wash your hands: Always wash your hands with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds before and after handling raw pork.
4. Cook pork to the correct temperature: Use a food thermometer to ensure that pork is cooked to the correct internal temperature. Whole cuts of pork should reach an internal temperature of 145°F, while ground pork should be cooked to 160°F.
5. Rest cooked pork before slicing: After cooking, let the pork rest for at least three minutes before slicing it. This allows the juices to redistribute throughout the meat, making it more tender and flavorful.
By following these guidelines, you can help prevent foodborne illnesses caused by raw pork. It’s important to always practice safe food handling and cooking techniques to keep yourself and your family healthy.
Conclusion: Keeping Your Raw Pork Fresh And Safe To Eat
To keep your raw pork fresh and safe to eat, it’s important to follow some simple guidelines. First, make sure to store your pork in the coldest part of the fridge at a temperature below 40°F. This will help prevent the growth of harmful bacteria that can cause foodborne illness.
When storing your pork, it’s important to keep it tightly wrapped in plastic or placed in an airtight container to prevent cross-contamination. You should also pay attention to any sell-by dates printed on the meat’s packaging and use it before this date to ensure its freshness.
If you have leftover raw pork that you don’t plan on using within three to five days, it’s best to freeze it. Make sure to freeze your pork before the best before or use by date and thaw it in the fridge before cooking.
When handling raw pork, always practice good food safety techniques such as washing your hands and using gloves in a sanitary area. Remember that well-cooked pork should not be slimy and that rare or undercooked pork can put you at risk for parasites and bacteria.
By following these guidelines and practicing proper food safety techniques, you can ensure that your raw pork stays fresh and safe to eat for as long as possible.