Bacon is a beloved breakfast staple that can add flavor to any dish. But what happens when you buy too much bacon and can’t use it all at once?
How long can you keep uncooked bacon in the refrigerator before it goes bad? In this article, we’ll explore the shelf life of uncooked bacon and provide tips on how to properly store it to ensure it stays fresh for as long as possible.
So, whether you’re a bacon lover or just looking to reduce food waste, read on to learn more about how to make your bacon last longer.
How Long Can You Keep Uncooked Bacon In The Refrigerator?
Unopened raw bacon can last in the refrigerator for up to two weeks. However, once you open the package, the shelf life of the bacon shortens. Raw bacon in an opened package that has been resealed can last up to a week in the fridge. It’s important to note that many factors can affect how long raw bacon will last in the fridge, such as how it’s packaged, how it’s been stored, and the temperature of your fridge.
If you’ve bought sliced bacon, it will only last for less than a week in the fridge. To make your sliced bacon last longer, you can put it in the freezer, where it will last for up to six months.
It’s crucial to remember that bacon is a perishable product and needs to be handled properly to reduce the risk of food poisoning. Always check the sell-by date before buying and examine your bacon before storing it. If you notice any signs of spoilage, such as a sour smell or slimy texture, discard it immediately.
Understanding The Shelf Life Of Uncooked Bacon
The shelf life of uncooked bacon can vary depending on how it’s been stored and packaged. Unopened raw bacon can last up to two weeks in the refrigerator, while opened raw bacon that has been resealed can last up to a week. However, it’s important to note that these are only general guidelines and many factors can affect how long the bacon will last.
One important factor to consider is the packaging. Most processed bacon sold in grocery stores is wrapped in plastic packaging that protects it from oxygen exposure. A package of unopened vacuum-sealed refrigerated bacon should theoretically last until the expiration date printed on the package. However, in real-life experience, the flavor may start to deteriorate after about a week, even in shrink-wrapped packaging.
Another factor to consider is how the bacon has been stored. To maximize the shelf life of opened raw bacon, it’s recommended to store it in a resealable plastic bag or wrap it tightly with aluminum foil or plastic wrap. This will help prevent oxygen exposure and keep the bacon fresh for longer.
The temperature of your fridge is also important. The USDA recommends keeping your fridge at or below 40°F (4°C) to prevent the growth of harmful bacteria. Make sure to check your fridge temperature regularly and adjust it if necessary.
Lastly, always check your bacon before using it. If you notice any signs of spoilage, such as a sour smell or slimy texture, discard it immediately to prevent contaminating other products.
Factors That Affect The Shelf Life Of Uncooked Bacon
There are several factors that can affect the shelf life of uncooked bacon, including its type, storage method, and whether it has been opened or not.
Firstly, the type of bacon can play a role in its shelf life. Some types of bacon may contain preservatives that can extend their shelf life, while others may not. It’s important to check the packaging for any information on preservatives or expiration dates.
Secondly, the storage method is crucial in determining how long uncooked bacon will last. Bacon should always be stored in the refrigerator or freezer to slow down the growth of harmful bacteria. If you’re storing cooked bacon, allow it to cool to room temperature before placing it in the fridge or freezer. Additionally, make sure your bacon is as airtight as possible to prevent exposure to air and moisture.
Lastly, whether the package has been opened or not can also affect the shelf life of uncooked bacon. Once you open the package, the bacon will start to deteriorate more quickly due to exposure to air and moisture. It’s important to consume the bacon within a week if the package has been opened.
How To Properly Store Uncooked Bacon In The Refrigerator
Proper storage is essential to maximize the shelf life and quality of your uncooked bacon. Once opened, raw bacon should be stored in an airtight container or wrapped tightly in plastic wrap or aluminum foil before placing it in the refrigerator. This will help prevent the bacon from drying out and absorbing any odors from other foods in the fridge.
It’s also important to keep the temperature of your refrigerator at 40°F or below to slow down bacterial growth and ensure the safety of the bacon. Avoid storing raw bacon in the door of your fridge, as temperatures can fluctuate more there.
If you’ve opened a package of sliced bacon, you can store it in the refrigerator for up to a week. To extend its shelf life, you can separate the slices and wrap each one individually in plastic wrap or put them in a resealable plastic bag before storing them in the fridge.
Remember to always wash your hands thoroughly before handling raw bacon and any other food products. And if you’re unsure about the freshness of your raw bacon, it’s always better to err on the side of caution and discard it.
Signs That Your Uncooked Bacon Has Gone Bad
It’s important to know the signs of spoiled bacon to avoid the risk of food poisoning. Here are some signs that your uncooked bacon has gone bad:
1. Discoloration: Fresh bacon should have a pink or red color with white or yellow streaks. If you notice any spots of brown, gray, green, or blue tinge, it’s a definite sign that your bacon has gone rancid.
2. Slimy texture: Fresh bacon should feel soft and a bit moist. If you notice that your bacon feels slimy or sticky, it’s likely been colonized by bacteria.
3. Unpleasant odor: Fresh bacon will always have its natural meaty smell. If you notice a sour, fishy, rotting, or just really unpleasant odor, it’s a sign of bacteria growth and rancidity.
If you notice any of these signs, it’s best to discard the bacon immediately. It’s better to be safe than sorry when it comes to spoiled meat. Always examine your bacon before cooking and make sure to handle it properly to reduce the risk of food poisoning.
Tips For Using Up Excess Uncooked Bacon Before It Goes Bad
If you have excess uncooked bacon that you need to use up before it goes bad, here are some tips to help you make the most of it:
1. Freeze it: If you’re not planning on using your bacon within the next few days, consider freezing it. Bacon can be frozen for up to eight months, so you’ll have plenty of time to use it up. Simply wrap the bacon tightly in aluminum foil or plastic wrap before placing it in an airtight container or freezer bag.
2. Cook it up: If you don’t want to freeze your bacon, consider cooking it up and using it in recipes throughout the week. Cooked bacon can be stored in the fridge for up to a week. You can use cooked bacon in salads, sandwiches, and even as a topping for pizza.
3. Make bacon bits: If you have a lot of excess bacon, consider making bacon bits. Simply cook the bacon until it’s crispy, then chop it into small pieces. You can store the bacon bits in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week or freeze them for later use.
4. Use it in soups and stews: Bacon can add flavor and depth to soups and stews. Simply cook the bacon before adding it to your recipe, or add raw bacon directly to the pot and let it cook with the other ingredients.
5. Make breakfast sandwiches: If you have excess bacon and eggs, consider making breakfast sandwiches. Cook the bacon and eggs, then assemble them on English muffins or bagels. You can store these sandwiches in the fridge for up to two days or freeze them for later use.
By following these tips, you can make sure that your excess uncooked bacon doesn’t go to waste and that you get the most out of your purchase.
Frequently Asked Questions About Uncooked Bacon And Refrigeration
1. How long can unopened raw bacon be stored in the refrigerator?
Unopened raw bacon can be stored in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.
2. How long can opened raw bacon be stored in the refrigerator?
Opened raw bacon can be stored in the refrigerator for up to a week if it has been resealed properly.
3. Can sliced bacon last longer in the fridge?
Sliced bacon has a shorter shelf life than unsliced bacon and will only last for less than a week in the fridge. To make it last longer, you can freeze it for up to six months.
4. What factors can affect how long raw bacon will last in the fridge?
The shelf life of raw bacon can be affected by factors such as how it’s packaged, how it’s been stored, and the temperature of your fridge.
5. How can you tell if your bacon has spoiled?
If you notice any signs of spoilage, such as a sour smell or slimy texture, discard the bacon immediately. Always check the sell-by date before buying and examine your bacon before storing it.
6. Can uncooked bacon be stored at room temperature?
No, uncooked bacon should not be left at room temperature for more than two hours as it can cause harmful bacteria to grow and increase the risk of food poisoning.
7. Can uncooked bacon be frozen?
Yes, uncooked bacon can be frozen for up to three months in its original packaging or an airtight container.