I think we can all agree that bacon is delicious, and if it wasn’t a sure-fire way to damage our health, we’d devour packs of the stuff every day — sorry piggies!
Alas, as it’s not the healthiest treat of all time, we have to be sparing with it, especially as we get older, but we don’t want it to waste either, which means we have to be aware of the old use-by-date on our packs o’ pork.
The thing is, though, the use-by-date really only explains how long a pack of bacon will last in the refrigerator when unopened. As we just discussed, eating it all in one may be great for our tongues, but for our tickers… not so much, so let’s discuss the matter in more detail.
How long will bacon keep in our fridges?
How Long Will Unopened Packs Of Bacon Last in The Fridge?
You could just check out the use-by-date on your pack of bacon, but if you’re only given a sell-by-date to work with, a general rule of thumb is that you should use the bacon before two weeks have elapsed.
In fact, if you picked it up from the reduced aisle with that sell-by deadline right around the corner, 2 weeks may be playing it pretty fast and loose.
Also, do bear in mind that this isn’t a golden rule, as a number of variables can affect the shelf-life of bacon, variables such as how it’s stored if the temperature remains consistent, and what type of bacon it is.
You can, of course, eke a lot more time out of your unopened pack of bacon if you’re willing to freeze it, 7 and a half months to be exact, but that’s if you get into the ice box pretty sharpish after purchase.
How Long Will An Opened Pack Of Bacon Last In The Fridge?
As I’m sure you’re aware, an opened pack of bacon is going to deteriorate a lot quicker than a sealed pack of the salty stuff — it’s just the way of things, unfortunately.
If it’s raw, you’re looking at roughly 1 week before it gets a bit iffy and your fridge develops a rather unsavory smell.
If the opened bacon in question was cooked before being chilled, you have even less time to work it into your meals responsibly. We’re talking something to the tune of 4–5 days. Beyond this point, it should be trashed.
Again, you can extend your opened bacon’s shelf-life by freezing it. If you get it in there nice and quickly, there’s no reason it wouldn’t last around 6 months, which is more than enough time to consume it without doing any damage to your health.
Cooked bacon, on the other hand, will only last about 1 month in the freezer, which is still pretty decent, so if you’re worried you’re not going to be able to get through your bacon without laying waste to your balanced diet, raw or not, don’t hesitate to freeze it.
Different Types Of Bacon And Shelf-Life
I’m not going to sit here and reel off every single type of bacon and its shelf life, as I simply don’t have the resources, but I’ll drop a few popular variants to give you an idea of how much of an impact bacon type can have on shelf-life.
The information we’ve already discussed pertains to what we’d call “normal” bacon, but Canadian bacon tends to last only 3–4 days in the fridge and 4–8 weeks in the deep freeze.
Uncured bacon also has a shorter shelf-life due to the absence of nitrates. It will likely only last a couple of days in the fridge, and that’s unopened, too! You will get about 6 months out of it in the freezer, though.
Bacon grease; however, is a whole other story. If you like to save your drippings for sautéing some succulent sprouts, browning some lovely rice, or preparing some scrumptious scrambled eggs, it will last for up to 6 months in the fridge or 9 months in the freezer before you’ll have to collect some fresh.
How To Store Bacon The Right Way
Whether you’re refrigerating or freezing your bacon, the best thing you can do to optimize that shelf-life is to store it correctly. Here’s how it’s done by the book…
- Make sure to refrigerate or freeze it as soon as possible after use. Try not to leave it out on the counter for too long.
- But hold on there pard! Before you put your pack of bacon back in the cold, you’re best off quickly portioning it out. That way, you won’t have to defrost the full hunk o’ meat next time you fancy a bit of bacon.
I’d recommend doing this regardless of whether the bacon is raw or cooked.
- Next, you’ll need to make sure it’s all wrapped up. Aluminum foil will do in a pinch, but an airtight container will be even better. Sufficient wrapping or containing will protect your bacon from oxidation in the fridge and freeze burns in the freezer.
You may also want to wrap cooked bacon up in paper towels before applying a final coat of tinfoil or placing it in a container.
- Finish things up by slapping a sticker on the tinfoil or container with the date on it, so you can tell how long it’s been in storage when you’re finally ready to use it.
Ways to Tell If Your Bacon is Going Bad
Before we go our separate ways, let’s talk about signs of spoilage, just in case you’re ever unsure about the edibility of your bacon after removing it from cold storage.
When bacon is on its turn, the red/pink hue turns a sickly gray, brown, or greenish color.
Off bacon has a pungent, sour odor.
If your bacon’s gone bad, it will no longer be soft and moist, but slimy or sticky.
Should you notice any of these warning signs, it’s time to say bye-bye to that particular batch of bacon.
There you have it, folks. Now you know exactly how long your bacon will be good in the fridge and freezer, you can keep your diet balanced and healthy, and you’ll never waste another tasty morsel ever again — hooray!