Have you ever wondered how to store bacon, both when it is raw and when it has been cooked? Bacon is a delicious food that we all want to make the most of, so let’s learn how we can keep it as fresh and as good as possible for the maximum amount of time.
Raw bacon is best kept in its sealed vacuum pack, rather than being opened, but once it is open, you can keep it in a Ziploc bag or airtight container. Cooked bacon can also be kept well, and should be stored in a Ziploc bag in the refrigerator. Both kinds can be frozen for a few months.
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How To Store Raw Bacon
When you buy raw bacon, do not open the sealed packet until you are ready to cook it. It should be placed in the fridge, still sealed, as soon as you get home.
When you open the packet, use the bacon that you need and then wrap the rest up, either in aluminum foil, or in a sealable plastic bag like these Ziploc Gallon Food Storage Bags. You can also keep bacon in a plastic container, or a Wefoo 2 Pack Plastic Bacon Keeper. These will reduce airflow and keep your bacon fresh.
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Storing your bacon in an unsealed container will cause it to dry out and curl, which tends to be unpleasant and can make it difficult to cook. Some people like to wrap bacon in paper towels to ensure moisture is absorbed.
How To Store Cooked Bacon
You may occasionally want to store cooked bacon, perhaps because you want some for a recipe, you want some that just needs a quick reheat, or you have simply made more than you meant to and you wish to keep it for another day.
Ideally, cooked bacon should be cooked to just a little less than you normally prefer, so you don’t overcook it when you heat it up again. You need to allow it to cool before you can put it in the fridge. Rest it on a paper towel to drain off the excess grease.
Once the bacon has cooled, transfer it to a sealable bag and squeeze out the excess air so you can seal the bag. Next, put it in the fridge as quickly as possible so that the bacon is not left at room temperature for too long.
How To Freeze Bacon
You might want to freeze bacon sometimes, and this is easy to do. However, it’s worth noting that unlike many foods, bacon cannot be frozen indefinitely, because the fat in the meat starts to degrade.
Raw bacon can be stored for several months in the freezer, after which the fat may start to turn rancid. Before putting bacon in the freezer, you may want to divide it into individual servings of three or four slices each. To do this, wrap them tightly in plastic wrap and then a layer of foil or a sealed bag.
These will help to keep the air from getting to the bacon and preserve it for as long as possible. Date the packaging. Some people recommend using the bacon up in less than a month for best results, but it should remain safe to eat for six months.
If you want to freeze cooked bacon, you can do that too. Again, it is best to portion it into small sections. As cooked bacon is brittler than raw bacon, you may want to wrap it in some kitchen towel to protect it, and then store the wrapped pieces in a Ziploc bag.
Frozen cooked bacon will usually last for about a month. Again, ensure that you date it to make it easier to use in time.
It can be tipped straight into a frying pan and cooked lightly until it is done.
How Long Can Bacon Be Stored For?
Raw bacon can be kept in the fridge for a couple of days after the best before date as long as it is still sealed. As soon as you have opened it, it needs to be used in less than a week for the best results.
Cooked bacon can be kept for about a week after it has been cooked, but it must be cooled and refrigerated promptly.
If you aren’t going to use bacon up quickly, make sure you freeze it instead to avoid waste.
How To Tell If Bacon Is Expired
If you’re not sure whether your bacon is still okay to eat, the first thing to do is inspect its visual appearance. Bacon that is good to eat should be pink, with fat that is white or pale yellow.
Moldy bacon will often take on a brown or gray hue, and may even have a green tinge around the edges of the meat. This is no longer safe to eat and should be thrown away.
You can also smell the bacon. If it has taken on anything other than a fresh, meaty scent, discard it. Moldy bacon may smell fishy, rancid, sour, or just unpleasant.
The feel of bacon is also a clue about whether it’s still edible. If your bacon feels sticky or slimy, throw it away immediately. Fresh bacon should be moist and soft, but not slimy. Bacon that has dried up should also be discarded.
Things To Avoid Doing
- Opening a packet of bacon before you are ready to use it
- Leaving bacon unwrapped in the fridge, whether cooked or raw
- Leaving bacon on the counter for longer than necessary
- Storing bacon near other meats that may be past their best; bacteria on one kind of meat could easily contaminate the other kind
- Touching the meat unnecessarily; your hands will spread bacteria to it that may make it spoil faster
If you store bacon properly, it can keep well, because it contains a lot of salt that helps to preserve the meat and maximize its freshness. However, if you leave bacon at room temperature or don’t seal the packaging, it will spoil fast, so avoid doing so.