If you’re a fan of Chinese cuisine, you’ve probably come across Chinese sausage, also known as lap cheong or guang chiang.
This cured sausage is a staple ingredient in many dishes, adding a salty and sweet flavor to stir-fries, fried rice, and even salads.
But when it comes to storing Chinese sausage, there seems to be some confusion. Do you need to refrigerate it or can it be left out at room temperature? And how long does it last once opened?
In this article, we’ll answer all your questions about Chinese sausage storage and give you some tips on how to make it last longer.
So, let’s dive in!
Does Chinese Sausage Need To Be Refrigerated?
The short answer is no, Chinese sausage does not need to be refrigerated if it is unopened. This is because the sausage is cured and can be stored at room temperature without spoiling.
However, once you open the package, it’s best to store the remaining sausages in the refrigerator or freezer. If you plan on using them within a few weeks, the refrigerator is a good option. But if you want to extend their shelf life, freezing is the way to go.
If you have a vacuum sealer, resealing the remaining sausages can help them last even longer in the freezer.
What Is Chinese Sausage?
Chinese sausage, also known as lap cheong or yun cheong, is a type of dried sausage originating from China. It is made by mixing ground pork with seasonings such as soy sauce, sugar, and rice wine, and then stuffing the mixture into a casing made from either pork intestine or synthetic materials.
Chinese sausage is a popular ingredient in many Chinese and Southeast Asian dishes, including fried rice, spring rolls, and noodle dishes. It adds a salty yet sweet flavor to these dishes and can also be stir-fried with vegetables.
One of the unique qualities of Chinese sausage is its durability. Due to the natural processing methods used to cure the sausage, it can be stored at room temperature without refrigeration for an extended period of time. However, once the package is opened, it’s best to store the remaining sausages in the refrigerator or freezer to prevent spoilage.
How To Store Chinese Sausage
Storing Chinese sausage properly is key to ensuring its longevity and quality. Here are some tips on how to store Chinese sausage:
1. Check the expiration date: Before purchasing Chinese sausage, always check the expiration date to ensure that it has not expired.
2. Unopened sausage: If the package is unopened, the sausage can be stored at room temperature without refrigeration. However, it’s best to keep it in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight.
3. Opened sausage: Once the package is opened, the remaining sausages should be stored in the refrigerator or freezer. If you plan on using them within a few weeks, the refrigerator is a good option. However, if you want to extend their shelf life, freezing is the best option.
4. Vacuum sealing: If you have a vacuum sealer, resealing the remaining sausages can help them last longer in the freezer.
5. Proper wrapping: When storing Chinese sausage in the freezer, it’s important to wrap them tightly in cling film or place them in an airtight container to prevent freezer burn.
6. Expiry date: Chinese sausage should be cooked before the expiry date on the label and before it shows any sign of mold.
By following these storage tips, you can ensure that your Chinese sausage stays fresh and delicious for longer periods of time.
How Long Does Chinese Sausage Last?
When stored properly, Chinese sausage can last for several months. Unopened sausage can be stored at room temperature until the expiration date, which should be checked before purchasing. Once opened, the sausage should be tightly wrapped in cling film and stored in the refrigerator for up to three months. If you want to store it for longer, freezing is the best option. In the freezer, Chinese sausage can last up to six months.
It’s important to note that lap cheong and yun cheong, which are sold vacuum-packed on store shelves, should be refrigerated once opened. Lap cheong has a relatively long shelf life of several weeks in the refrigerator and several months in the freezer, but it should be cooked before the expiration date and before any signs of mold appear.
Lap Cheong is a shelf-stable sausage that can last up to a year in the freezer when stored in an airtight container. The natural processing of Chinese sausages makes them durable both when not refrigerated and after refrigeration. While it is always advisable to use fresh foods whenever possible, Chinese sausages are safe to use after a few weeks or months if stored properly.
Tips For Making Chinese Sausage Last Longer
If you want to make your Chinese sausage last even longer, there are a few tips you can follow:
1. Check the expiration date: Before purchasing Chinese sausage, make sure to check the expiration date. This will give you an idea of how long it will last before going bad.
2. Store unopened sausage at room temperature: As mentioned earlier, unopened Chinese sausage can be stored at room temperature without spoiling. Just make sure to keep it in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight.
3. Refrigerate or freeze after opening: Once you open the package, it’s best to store the remaining sausages in the refrigerator or freezer to prevent spoilage. Make sure to wrap them tightly in cling film or use a vacuum sealer if possible.
4. Keep well-sealed: Whether storing in the refrigerator or freezer, make sure to keep the sausages well-sealed in an airtight container or ziploc bag. This will prevent them from absorbing any unwanted smells or flavors.
By following these tips, you can ensure that your Chinese sausage lasts as long as possible and stays fresh for all your culinary needs.
Cooking With Chinese Sausage: Recipe Ideas
Chinese sausage is a versatile ingredient that can add a salty yet sweet zing to otherwise bland dishes. Here are some recipe ideas to inspire your next meal:
1. Chinese Sausage Fried Rice: This dish is perfect for using up leftover rice and adding some protein to your meal. Simply slice the Chinese sausage and fry it in a pan with some garlic and ginger. Add the cooked rice and some vegetables like peas, carrots, and onions. Season with soy sauce and sesame oil for a delicious and easy meal.
2. Chinese Sausage Stir-Fry: Slice the Chinese sausage and stir-fry it with your favorite vegetables like broccoli, bell peppers, and mushrooms. Add some soy sauce, oyster sauce, and a pinch of sugar for a savory and satisfying meal.
3. Steamed Chinese Sausage with Sticky Rice: This is a classic dim sum dish that is easy to make at home. Soak glutinous rice for a few hours, then steam it with sliced Chinese sausage and dried shrimp. Garnish with green onions for a flavorful and filling meal.
4. Chinese Sausage Soup: This comforting soup is perfect for cold winter days. Simply simmer sliced Chinese sausage with chicken broth, ginger, and garlic. Add some vegetables like bok choy or spinach for added nutrition.
5. Chinese Sausage Baozi: These steamed buns are a popular breakfast item in China. Fill the buns with sliced Chinese sausage, scrambled eggs, and green onions for a delicious and portable meal.
No matter how you choose to use Chinese sausage in your cooking, it’s important to store it properly to ensure its freshness and flavor. Whether you refrigerate or freeze it, this ingredient will last for several weeks or even months when stored correctly.