Sausage gravy is a delicious addition to any breakfast, but it’s important to know how long it can sit out before it becomes unsafe to eat.
Leaving food out at room temperature for too long can lead to the growth of harmful bacteria, which can cause foodborne illnesses.
In this article, we’ll explore the shelf life of sausage gravy and provide tips on how to store it properly to ensure its freshness and safety.
So, grab a cup of coffee and let’s dive in!
How Long Can Sausage Gravy Sit Out?
According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), cooked food can be left at room temperature for up to two hours. However, if the temperature outside or inside your house is 90°F or above, this time frame should be cut in half to one hour.
This means that sausage gravy should not be left out at room temperature for more than two hours, or one hour if the temperature is above 90°F. After this point, harmful bacteria can begin to grow, making the gravy unsafe to eat.
What Is Sausage Gravy?
Sausage gravy is a beloved Southern breakfast dish in the United States. It is made by cooking loose pork sausage in a pan until browned and then removing it. A roux is formed by browning flour in the residual fat. Milk and seasonings, such as salt and pepper, are added to create a moderately thick gravy, to which the cooked sausage is added. The gravy can be made spicier by adding ingredients such as cayenne pepper or a spicy sausage. Sausage gravy is typically served with biscuits and accompanied by other typical Southern breakfast items, such as fried eggs, sliced tomatoes and bacon.
Combination gravy is a variation of sausage gravy that results from using the combined fat of bacon and sausage to make gravy. This style is prevalent in North Georgia and has a slightly darker color than straight sausage gravy while carrying the flavor of the bacon.
To make sausage gravy, start by cooking one pound of pork breakfast sausage until there is no pink remaining. Add two tablespoons of butter directly to the cooked sausage and allow it to melt. Sprinkle flour over the sausage and stir for 1-2 minutes until the “raw flour” smell is gone. Pour in milk slowly while whisking, allowing the gravy to thicken as you pour in the milk. Add seasonings and simmer for 2-3 minutes until thickened before serving.
It’s important to note that sausage gravy should not be left out at room temperature for more than two hours, or one hour if the temperature is above 90°F. After this point, harmful bacteria can begin to grow, making the gravy unsafe to eat.
Factors That Affect The Shelf Life Of Sausage Gravy
There are several factors that can affect the shelf life of sausage gravy. The first factor is the ingredients used to make the gravy. Sausage gravy is typically made with meat drippings, flour or starch, and milk or cream. If any of these ingredients are not fresh or have been sitting out for too long before being used, it can shorten the shelf life of the gravy.
Another factor that can affect the shelf life of sausage gravy is how it is stored. Gravy should be stored in an air-tight container or jar in the refrigerator to keep it fresh for as long as possible. If left out at room temperature, harmful bacteria can begin to grow, shortening the shelf life of the gravy.
The temperature at which the sausage gravy is stored also plays a role in its shelf life. The USDA recommends storing cooked food, including sausage gravy, at a temperature below 40°F. If the temperature rises above this level, harmful bacteria can begin to grow, leading to spoilage.
Finally, how long the sausage gravy has been stored also affects its shelf life. According to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), sausage gravy can be stored in the refrigerator for one to two days or in the freezer for two to three months. After this time frame, the quality and nutritive value of the gravy may start to deteriorate.
Signs Of Spoiled Sausage Gravy
It’s important to be able to identify the signs of spoiled sausage gravy to avoid foodborne illness. One of the first signs of spoiled sausage gravy is a change in texture. If the gravy has become slimy or moldy, it’s likely that harmful bacteria have started to grow. Even if you remove the mold or slime, the leftover microbes can still potentially cause food poisoning.
Another indicator of spoiled sausage gravy is a change in color. If the gravy has become discolored or has a cloudy surface, it’s best to discard it. Additionally, if the sausage gravy has a bad odor, it’s likely that it has gone bad and should not be consumed.
When storing sausage gravy, it’s important to follow proper food safety guidelines. Always use a clean spoon to scoop out the gravy and cover it with plastic shrink wrap to ensure it’s properly sealed. Sausage gravy can be frozen for up to four months but cannot be refrozen.
How To Store Sausage Gravy Properly
To properly store sausage gravy, it is important to follow a few simple steps. Firstly, if you plan on eating the gravy within 3-5 days, it can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge. Make sure the container is sealed properly to prevent any air from getting in, which can cause the gravy to spoil faster.
If you have leftover sausage gravy that you won’t be able to eat within 3-5 days, freezing is the best option. To freeze sausage gravy, first allow it to cool down to room temperature. It is important not to leave it at room temperature for more than an hour. Once cooled, transfer the sausage gravy into a freezer-friendly, airtight container or heavy-duty freezer bag. Leave about a 1/2 inch of headspace at the top of the container or bag to allow for expansion when frozen.
Label the container or bag with the date and place it in the freezer. Sausage gravy can be frozen for up to 3 months without losing any of its flavor or texture. When you are ready to use the frozen sausage gravy, simply thaw it in the refrigerator overnight and reheat it on the stove or microwave.
It is important to note that cream or milk-based gravies may not freeze well as they tend to separate during thawing. If you are unsure about whether your sausage gravy will freeze well, try freezing a small amount first before freezing a larger batch. Additionally, if you notice any discoloration, strange smell, or taste after thawing and reheating sausage gravy, it is best to dispose of it and not consume it.
Can You Freeze Sausage Gravy?
Yes, you can freeze sausage gravy! Freezing sausage gravy is a great way to preserve it for later use, especially if you have leftovers or have made a large batch. The good news is that sausage gravy freezes very well and does not lose any of its taste or texture from being frozen.
Before freezing your sausage gravy, it is important to allow it to cool down to room temperature. Leaving it out for more than an hour at room temperature is not recommended since it contains meat and dairy products that can spoil quickly. Once cooled, you can transfer the sausage gravy into small containers or heavy-duty freezer bags, leaving about a half inch of headspace at the top.
To ensure that the sausage gravy stays fresh and does not develop freezer burn, it is important to seal the containers or bags properly. You can cover the containers with at least two layers of plastic wrap or place them inside a resealable bag, making sure to remove as much air as possible. Label the containers with the date and freeze them for up to three months.
When you are ready to use your frozen sausage gravy, simply thaw it in the refrigerator overnight and reheat on the stove. It is important to note that when reheating frozen sausage gravy, it tends to stick and scorch in a stainless steel pot. Therefore, using a non-stick saucepan is recommended. Alternatively, if using a stainless steel pot, grease it well and simmer over medium-low heat while stirring occasionally.