Most of us adore crispy bacon for breakfast with eggs and a glass of milk. Unfortunately, this product is quite perishable, and you are at a high risk of bacterial contamination if you don’t store it properly. So, let’s see does bacon go bad, and how long does bacon last.
Does Bacon Go Bad?
Even though bacon contains preservatives, its shelf life is not too long. Once it goes bad, it becomes smelly and changes its color and texture. When stored well, bacon is healthy and wholesome food to include in your diet.
Basically, you can expect cooked bacon to last approximately ten days, while raw bacon can’t last more than a week in the fridge. If you are not sure if you can consume it, you should check for three sure signs that it is not eatable anymore, including its look, smell, and texture.
How Long Does Bacon Last?
According to the USDA, you should keep bacon at approximately 40 F (4.5 C). How long does bacon last will depend on the type you choose. Let’s see.
How Long Does Bacon Last (Chart)
|5 to 7 days||6 months|
|Precooked||4 to 5 days|
|Cooked||5 to 10 days|
- Cooked bacon – It is required to keep this bacon type in the fridge. That way, bacon will be eatable for about ten days while you can store it for about six months in the freezer.
- Canadian (back) bacon – You should keep this bacon in the fridge and consume it up to four days after opening. Stored in the freezer, it will be edible for four to eight weeks.
- Bacon bits – You can store opened products for a month and a half in the fridge or keep it for five to six months in the freezer.
- Unopened bacon – You can use it up to a week beyond the sell-by date when storing it in the fridge. Frozen products will be safe for consuming for four months.
- Opened bacon – Once you open the package, you can use it for about a week, but make sure it is correctly wrapped and the product well-stored. Keep it in the fridge or put it in the freezer if you plan to save bacon for several months.
- Dry-cured bacon – You can store the unopened sliced product in the pantry for about ten days or a month in the fridge. The slab will be usable for three weeks in the pantry and a month kept in the refrigerator. In the freezer, it can stay approximately three months.
4 Tips to Tell if Bacon has Gone Bad
It is not too easy to determine if bacon is bad because of the high spice and preservatives content that can mask the rotting odor. There are a few typical ways to be sure, including:
1. Bacon use-by date
Even though the bacon sell-by date is expired, you can use it for up to seven days after that without any worries. However, try to use or freeze this product before the date printed on the label.
2. Visually check the bacon
- Unusual look – Fresh bacon is pinkish with white or yellowish fat streaks. Once it becomes discolored, greyish, or brownish with a blue or green tinge, you should throw it away.
- Bad smell – Fresh bacon smells good on meat. Any smell reminding of fish or rot and the appearance of rancid or sour odor are signs that your bacon is spoiled. In most cases, the reason is the bacteria overgrowth.
- Stucky on touch – Fresh bacon is soft and moist. The occurrence of a sticky and slimy layer at the surface means that lactic acid bacteria have multiplied in your bacon.
3. Bacon with moldy flecks
Once tiny fuzzy whitish or bluish spots appear on the bacon surface, you can be sure that it is not safe for consumption anymore.
4. Getting rid of spoiled bacon
Although your pet has better gut bacteria than you and can digest foods inedible for humans, you should avoid this solution since spoiled bacon can harm your pet.
The best option is to pack spoiled bacon in a plastic bag and put it into the dumpster. It is a crucial procedure to prevent rodents from coming. When this is impossible for some reason, you can keep spoiled food in one of your freezer containers and put it into the trash at an appropriate time.
How to Store Bacon for Longer
The best way for bacon to stay a healthy meal for a long time is to keep it in an adequate container or sealed package. You can store it in the refrigerator or freezer, depending on how long you won’t use it.
Never leave bacon too long at room temperature to avoid exposing it to oxygen and cause rancidity. I will give you a few tips to store your bacon properly:
In the fridge
It is the best way to store this grocery when you use it daily. Keep it at the average temperature of 40 F (4.5 C) without the risk of spoiling.
That way, you can safely store opened and unopened raw bacon, cooked bacon, leftovers, and bacon slices. However, you always need to wrap it properly to prevent drying and leaking. Plus, you want to avoid the smell to be transferred to other foods.
Opened bacon – The best option is to reseal the original package and use it for storing. Otherwise, you can put bacon in a freezer bag or wrap it with plastic wrap or aluminum foil. You can save it in the fridge for a week or two. With adequate packaging, you can prolong its shelf life, but take care never to use it after a week of the sell-by date.
Cooked bacon – Once you cook bacon, store the leftovers in a freezer bag or airtight container to prevent leaking. Keep it in the fridge packed in a sealed container for up a week. That way, it is always prepared for reheating when necessary.
In the freezer
Cooked bacon – Take bacon off the heat before it is entirely crispy. Absorb excess fat by laying it out on a paper towel and let it cold.
Then, store cooked bacon in a freezer bag and keep it in the freezer for three months. Make sure to remove as much air as possible to prevent contamination and freezer burn. Another excellent option is to use vacuum sealing to minimize air from getting in.
Unfortunately, cooked bacon will change the taste after staying in the freezer for a longer time. Therefore, avoid storing it that way for more than two months.
Uncooked bacon – You can store unopened raw bacon for approximately six to eight months in your freezer. Properly wrapped opened uncooked bacon will save its taste for about six months if you keep it in the freezer. Always store it wrapped with aluminum foil or in a resealable plastic bag to maximize its shelf life.
Dry goods – Save the remaining grease after cooking bacon. Store it in a plastic bag and put it into an airtight container or freezer bag as soon as it cools.
The Risk if Consuming an Expired Bacon
Almost 48 million people face food poisoning per year in the US, mostly from rotten or raw meat. Unfortunately, eating expired bacon can also put you at risk. The most severe problems include:
Besides, spoiled bacon often contains bad bacteria, such as:
- Escherichia coli
Their presence will result in a sour taste. The most common symptoms of such a condition are:
- Fever and dehydration
- Nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea
- Abdominal pain and cramps
- Chest pain
Once you notice them, ask for medical help right away.
Can You Freeze Bacon?
The freezer will extend the bacon shelf life by a few months. Keep in mind that it is always better to freeze cooked bacon than the raw one. The best ways to do it include:
Freezing the pack
The quickest way of freezing raw bacon is to put the whole package to freeze. However, it is a practical solution only if you plan to use it as soon as you thaw it. Always let the packed bacon thaw overnight in the fridge. Another solution is to put it in a bowl of hot water before using it.
Freezing bacon slices
When you know that you need only a few slices once you defrost it, it is better to cut the bacon before putting the package in the freezer. Then, place slices on a sheet of wax paper and freeze pieces separately.
Freezing bacon rolls
Make bacon rolls, so you can use them immediately after thawing. Line baking sheet with wax or parchment paper and put prepared rolls over them. Move them from it as soon as rolls freeze entirely and put them in a safe bag.
Bacon is a highly popular meat product in the US. It is estimated that 53% of the households always have it in the kitchen, and every American eats 18 pounds (8 kg) of this grocery a year. So, it is crucial to store it well and prevent its spoiling and possible food poisoning.