No doubt bacon tastes beautiful. Little wonder why tons of people can’t imagine starting their day without having a slice or some slices of this great-tasting meat product.
More than a meal, bacon can be used as a snack or topping. It will only be natural to desire such food to last forever, but it does not. Like other foods regardless of their lovely taste, it is sure to get spoilt at some time.
So the question most people have resolved to ask concerns their shelf life – particularly how long does bacon last. If you are one such person, rest assured that you’re in the perfect place. Read on to discover all you need to know about the shelf life of bacon.
What Is Bacon?
You probably already know that bacon is pork. It is a piece of cured meat coming from the rear or shoulder of a pig. This meat is obviously fatty, which is responsible for the delicious flavor and texture it provides when cooked.
Additionally, this fattiness is also responsible for its crispiness and tenderness. This meat product comes in two different types – the wet cured and dry-cured.
The dry-cured bacon is a product of applying and rubbing a mixture of sugar and salt. This mixture slowly penetrates through the pork and thus eliminates moisture in the meat, makes it drier and promotes high flavor intensity.
On the other hand, the wet cured bacon is a product of saturating in a solution of salt and water for a couple of days and allow to mature. The result is a pretty salty flavored meat and distinctive meaty texture.
Signs That Your Bacon Has Gone Bad
Unlike other related products in a grocery store, knowing how long bacon lasts can be complicated. Instead of the usual expiration date printed on other products, bacon products come with a use-by date printed on its label. This suggests that even after the date expires, the bacon can still be consumed.
So, the question that now pops up is how then one can know when the bacon turns bad. Other than the printed date on the package, you would have to look out for certain signs that suggest this.
Here are the basic signs to look out for:
1. Look or Appearance
The natural look of bacon is a pink color with white or yellowish fat. As long as it remains so, your bacon is still safe to eat. But, when it begins to turn gray or brown with a tinge of blue or green, that suggests that it has spoiled.
This is usually a result of chemical reactions on the meat caused by too much exposure to air.
2. Touch Or Texture
Good and fresh bacon is characterized by a soft, moist and fresh texture. Whenever bacon gets bad, its texture changes to become slimy, sticky and tacky. This characteristic is particularly as a result of the presence of slime formation produced by Lactic acid bacteria.
3. Smell or Odor
Fresh bacon is always associated with a natural meaty odor/smell. But, when it gets spoiled, the odor becomes sour, rotting, fishy or disagreeable. This is because they have been engulfed by rancidity and bacteria growth, thus producing a nasty and horrible odor.
Bacon’s Shelf Life and How to Properly Store
Now that you know that bacon can get bad and the signs that happening, it is also necessary to learn how to properly store it to maximize its shelf life.
1. Uncooked Bacon
Before purchasing your bacon, it is important that you inspect and examine it. Take a look at the sell-by date to ensure that what you’re getting is the freshest product possible.
Before finally storing them, you should wrap with say paper towels or plastic wrap to help absorb any moisture as a result of perspiration and keep it tightly sealed. Place your bacon in a refrigerator or a freezer and ensure they are always there and never on the counter.
If this is done properly, your uncooked bacon should last for a period of 1 – 2 weeks and for as much as 6 months in a freezer, beyond the printed date.
Regularly check your bacon to ensure that it is stored correctly to avoid spoiling and whenever that happens, dispose of off immediately so that it does not contaminate the rest of the fridge and items therein.
2. Cooked Bacon
After your bacon is cooked, before taking into the fridge, it is necessary to allow it to sit on the kitchen counter or pantry to get cooled before doing so. Usually, this takes about an hour.
Once that is done, enclose in a plastic wrap and again ensure it is tightly sealed before transferring into the fridge or freezer as the case may be. Again, if properly done, your cooked bacon can last for a period of 5 – 7 days in a refrigerator and about 3 months in a freezer.
More Precautions To Observe Before Storing
There are many ways you can store bacon in your refrigerator if you want to extend or maximize its shelf life. Here are the basic precautions to consider:
1. Adding Salts
Generally, salt is known as a moisturizer when it comes to their interaction with meat. In the case of bacon, it helps to make it dryer and thus prevent intrusion of bacteria and making the storage environment conducive. Not to forget that salts also serve as natural spicing.
2. Tight Covering
Like we already mentioned, to guarantee proper storage of bacon, it is very important it contacts with air is limited to the barest minimum. Avoid throwing your bacon into the refrigerator like that – uncovered.
Recommended materials include a foil, food container or zip bag. If you have access to towel papers, that will perfect as they will also help absorb any leftover moisture.
3. Partial Cooking
Whether or not you’re ready to consume the bacon, it is advisable to partially cook them and then store. Note that they should not be completely cooked; all that is required is to get them soft.
Ensure to wrap or put it into a container before storing it. Notice that this will save you time spent on defrosting and cooking as well.
Effects of Eating Spoiled Bacon
Any food that gets consumed after it is spoiled has a risk involved and bacon is not an exception. To start with, spoiled food such as bacon is at risk of bacteria like Staphylococcus, Clostridium, Salmonella, Escherichia coli, and Bacillus.
The result of eating such food is as simple as food poisoning. Symptoms of this condition include abdominal pain, body aches, nausea, fever, and other related sicknesses.
As much as many food poisoning cases can go without any serious treatment, there are some cases that can lead to complications like vomiting of blood, severe abdominal pain, severe dehydration, extreme drowsiness, and high fever. This will, of course, involve the help of a doctor.
Final Words On How Long Is Bacon Good For
Bacon is one meat product that is becoming an indispensable family meal. Hope the above information has been able to solve and answer the question of how long does bacon last.
You already now know that as much as bacon is nutrient-rich food abundant in mineral and vitamins, it can go bad and for some cases, this happens quite quickly.
Generally, the shelf life is dependent on many factors such as the kind of cured bacon, the storage condition and also the packaging. This suggests that it is likely to vary from one bacon product to the other.
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