Bacon is a beloved breakfast staple that can also be used to add flavor to a variety of dishes. But how long can you keep bacon from the butcher before it goes bad?
The answer depends on how you store it. In this article, we’ll explore the guidelines for storing bacon and how long it can last in the fridge or freezer.
Whether you’re a bacon lover or just looking to add some variety to your meals, read on to learn more about keeping your bacon fresh and delicious.
How Long Is Bacon From Butcher Good For?
When you purchase bacon from the butcher, it’s important to know how long it will last before it goes bad. The freshness of bacon is dependent on proper storage, so it’s crucial to store it correctly to extend its lifespan.
According to the Food Safety Inspection Service (FSIS), raw bacon will remain fresh for up to seven days if stored at a consistent temperature of 40°F or below. However, the guidelines for counting those seven days can vary depending on how the bacon is packaged.
If the bacon is vacuum-sealed, it will remain safe to eat for seven days past the sell-by date. But if you’ve already opened the package, be sure to consume the remaining bacon within seven days of opening it, regardless of what the sell-by date says.
If you have unopened bacon that’s been packaged in butcher paper, you can safely store it for two to three days. Beyond that time, it’s best to freeze it. To freeze fresh bacon, tightly wrap it in plastic wrap or Press ‘n Seal, wrap it again tightly in aluminum foil, put it in a resealable freezer bag, and store it in the coldest part of the freezer.
Cooked bacon will stay fresh in the fridge for four to five days. If you have leftover cooked bacon, be sure to eat or freeze it within four days of cooking.
How To Store Bacon From The Butcher
When storing bacon from the butcher, it’s important to keep in mind that freshness is key. If you have fresh bacon that has been sliced by the butcher, it’s best to eat it within a few days at most. If you can’t enjoy it right away, it’s recommended to freeze it. Because oxygen is the enemy of fresh bacon, tightly wrap it in plastic wrap or Press ‘n Seal, wrap it again tightly in aluminum foil, put it in a resealable freezer bag, and store it in the coldest part of the freezer.
If you have uncooked bacon that’s been packaged in butcher paper, treat it as open bacon and cook or freeze it within five to seven days. Not being commercially sealed means it will only last so long. The same applies to sliced bacon that you buy at the deli counter.
To maximize the shelf life of your opened bacon from the butcher, store it in a resealable plastic bag or wrap it tightly with aluminum foil or plastic wrap. Check your bacon regularly, and if not stored properly, discard it immediately to prevent contaminating other products.
How Long Can Bacon Last In The Fridge?
When it comes to storing bacon in the fridge, it’s important to keep in mind that unopened raw bacon will last for about two weeks. However, once the package has been opened, it should be consumed within a week to ensure freshness and safety. If the bacon is vacuum-sealed, it can last up to seven days past the sell-by date.
It’s important to note that the lifespan of bacon in the fridge can be affected by various factors such as how it’s packaged, how it’s been stored, and the temperature of your fridge. For example, if you purchased sliced bacon from the store, it will only last for less than a week in the fridge. To extend its lifespan, you can put it in the freezer where it can last for up to six months.
When storing bacon in the fridge, make sure to wrap it tightly with aluminum foil or plastic wrap to prevent moisture from getting in. You can also store it in a resealable plastic bag or wrap it with paper towels to absorb any excess moisture.
It’s important to always check the sell-by date before purchasing bacon and to examine it before buying to make sure you’re getting the freshest product. If you notice any signs of spoilage such as a sour smell, dull color, or slimy texture, discard the bacon immediately to prevent contaminating other products.
How Long Can Bacon Last In The Freezer?
If you want to extend the shelf life of your bacon, freezing it is a great option. When properly stored in the freezer, bacon can last up to six months. However, it’s important to note that the longer you store it, the more the quality and flavor will deteriorate.
To freeze unopened bacon, wrap the store package with heavy-duty foil or other freezer wrapping, making sure to push all the air out of the package and tightly close the wrapping around the inside package. The Food Marketing Institute recommends freezing unopened bacon for up to one month, but our maximum recommendation would be one to three months for bacon and cured meats.
If you want to freeze opened bacon for a short time period, remove the portion you want to freeze from the package as soon as you open it. Be sure to wrap the portion for freezing in heavy-duty freezer plastic wrap or bags, making the package airtight. Freeze quickly to a temperature of 0°F or lower.
To freeze individual bacon strips, lay the bacon pieces on a baking sheet lined with waxed paper so that they don’t overlap and place in the freezer. Once frozen, transfer the slices to a freezer-safe bag.
When thawing frozen bacon, do so in the refrigerator or microwave. Never thaw bacon at room temperature, as this can lead to bacterial growth and spoilage. Cooked bacon that has been defrosted in the fridge can be kept for an additional one to two days in the refrigerator before cooking, while bacon that was thawed in the microwave or cold water should be cooked immediately.
Signs That Bacon Has Gone Bad
It’s important to recognize the signs that your bacon has gone bad to avoid getting sick. One of the most noticeable signs is discoloration. Fresh bacon should have pinkish-red meat with white fat, but if you notice green, gray, or brown hues, it’s a clear indication that bacteria and/or fungi have colonized your bacon.
Another tell-tale sign of spoiled bacon is the smell. Fresh bacon should have a natural meaty smell, but spoiled bacon will have a sour, fishy, rotting, or just plain unpleasant odor. Bacteria growth and rancidity can make bacon smell nasty.
In addition to discoloration and odor, you should also inspect the texture of your bacon. If it feels slimy or sticky to the touch, it’s likely spoiled and should be discarded immediately.
Small areas of mold on your bacon are also indicators that it’s no longer good. Mold can be white, black, or green and is a clear sign that bacteria has taken hold.
If you’re ever in doubt about whether your bacon has gone bad, it’s best to err on the side of caution and throw it out. Eating raw or spoiled bacon can increase your risk of foodborne illnesses like toxoplasmosis, trichinosis, and tapeworms. Symptoms of food poisoning from bad bacon can include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, fever, chest pain, and dehydration. To avoid getting sick from spoiled bacon, always store it correctly and inspect it for any signs of spoilage before cooking or eating it.
Tips For Using Up Bacon Before It Expires
If you have bacon that’s approaching its expiration date, here are some tips for using it up before it goes bad:
1. Freeze it: If you don’t plan on using the bacon within a few days, freezing it is a great option. Wrap the bacon tightly in plastic wrap or aluminum foil to prevent freezer burn and store it in the freezer for up to six months.
2. Cook it up: Cooked bacon can be used in a variety of dishes, from breakfast scrambles to salads. Cook up the bacon and store it in an airtight container in the fridge for up to four days.
3. Make a bacon jam: Bacon jam is a delicious spread that can be used on sandwiches, burgers, and even as a topping for pancakes. Simply cook up the bacon with some onions and brown sugar, then blend it all together until it forms a jam-like consistency.
4. Add it to soups and stews: Bacon adds a rich, smoky flavor to soups and stews. Chop up the bacon and add it to your favorite recipe for an extra burst of flavor.
5. Use it as a garnish: Crispy bacon makes a great garnish for dishes like mac and cheese or baked potatoes. Simply cook up the bacon until crispy, crumble it into small pieces, and sprinkle it over your dish before serving.
By following these tips, you can make sure that your bacon doesn’t go to waste and enjoy its delicious flavor in a variety of dishes.