What is the best way to store bacon after opening the package? Because bacon is such a TASTY treat, we want to do whatever it takes to keep it fresh and preserve its amazing flavor!
Whether you’re looking for information about storing or freezing raw bacon once you’ve opened the package, we’ve got you covered with our best tips and tricks.
How To Keep Bacon Fresh?
Bacon freshness begins at the grocery store! Before you even make your bacon purchase decision, be sure to check the bacon packages for an expiration date, sell-by date or use-by date.
The expiry date is important to know so that you don’t pay for a package of bacon that has been sitting in the case for a long time or is already expired.
What do you do after opening a package of bacon and only using a portion of it? How do you keep the leftover bacon from going bad or from drying out?
Because oxygen is the enemy of fresh meats like bacon, the key to storing it well is to wrap it very, very well and eliminate as much exposure to oxygen as possible.
How to Wrap an Opened Package of Bacon
Here at the BENSA test kitchen, we go to great lengths to preserve our bacon’s freshness. Here’s our time-tested method.
First, remove and discard the original store packaging from the bacon. Then wrap the strips of bacon as tightly as you can.
We use Press ‘N Seal because it does a good job of “gripping” the slippery slices of bacon. You can also use plastic wrap.
Wrap the bacon as tightly as you can, squeezing out any air and pressing the wrap against the surface of the bacon.
Next, wrap that package in heavy-duty aluminum foil and press it all around to squeeze out any excess air.
We go one step further and tuck that foil-wrapped package in a zip-lock plastic bag to prevent any leakage of juices into the meat drawer.
Finally, label the package with the date.
Wrapped like this, you can keep the bacon fresh for 5 to 7 days without any noticeable loss of flavor.
Can Bacon Go Bad?
Although bacon is cured to preserve the tasty strips, an opened package of bacon can lose quality fairly quickly. How to tell when bacon is bad? One sign will be the smell of the bacon; it will have a slightly sour aroma when you take a sniff.
Another key sign of bacon that should not be eaten is the appearance of the meat. If your package of bacon begins to have a grayish color, odd looking brown color or even a greenish hue you’ll need to discard it.
Fresh bacon will have a pinkish color to the meat. When the meat is pink, it is generally safe to cook and eat.
One last method to test for freshness of the bacon is to touch it. If you touch the bacon and it has a slimy texture, that is a sign that the meat has spoiled and should not be used.
What is the Best Way to Store Bacon in the Fridge?
If the package has been opened, it should be wrapped tightly in plastic film or Press N Seal, wrapped in heavy aluminum foil, tucked in a zip-top bag, marked with the date opened, and placed in the refrigerator’s meat drawer.
The tightly wrapped bacon can be stored in the refrigerator for 4 to 5 days. After that, in our experience, the bacon quality will begin to degrade.
To store an unopened package of bacon, keep it in its original packaging in the meat drawer. You can safely store it in its original package in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks or until the expiration date, whichever comes first.
However, here at BENSA we recommend consuming the vacuum sealed unopened bacon within 7 days for optimum flavor and best quality.
How Long Can I Keep an Opened Package of Bacon in the Refrigerator?
In the fridge, raw bacon can keep for up to a week after being unwrapped and repacked, while cooked bacon will keep for 4 to 5 days with appropriate wrapping and storage. Whether you prepare the bacon or not, it will lose some freshness after you open the package.
Can You Freeze Bacon That Hasn’t Been Cooked?
Because of its high fat content, bacon is one of those foods that freezes very well. Since foods can develop damaging freezer burn, it is a best practice to tightly wrap the bacon strips in plastic wrap a couple of times.
Then, wrap it in one or two layers of aluminum foil. Finally, slip it in a heavy-duty freezer bag before placing it in the freezer.
If the bacon is still sealed in the original packaging, the bacon should remain good for up to 3 to 4 months in the original packaging. If however, it has been opened, follow the double wrapping method to prevent damage to the meat.
Does Freezing Bacon Affect the Taste?
True bacon aficionados may notice a slight difference in the flavor and texture of previously frozen bacon. This will be less evident if the bacon is used in a recipe such as a bacon soup or pasta with bacon.
Bacon should be used within 3 to 4 months after it has been placed in the freezer. Thaw the bacon in the fridge overnight and use the next day if possible.
Once the bacon thaws, after a day or two it will begin to lose flavor. The longer the thawed bacon is kept in the refrigerator, the more the taste will deteriorate.
For this reason, we recommend keeping it frozen until the day before you plan to cook it.
The Best Way to Thaw Frozen Bacon
Once bacon is removed from the freezer, it should be placed in the refrigerator overnight to thaw. However, there are times when you want to use the bacon that same day. There is a method that will allow you to thaw the bacon quickly, without cooking it.
Simply fill a clean sink or container with cold water and then place the unopened package of bacon in the water. Be sure to change the water to keep it cold as often as is needed until the bacon is thawed.
There are microwaves that have a ‘Defrost Foods’ setting. However, these need to be monitored so that the bacon does not cook as it is thawing. In our experience, a microwave does not evenly thaw bacon.
How Long Does Bacon Last After Being Frozen and Thawed?
According to the USDA, an unopened package of bacon can last up to 8 months in the freezer. Once the bacon is thawed, it should be consumed within 5 to 7 days.
In our practical experience, a package of bacon that’s been opened, wrapped, and frozen begins to lose quality and flavor after about 2 months.
Therefore, we recommend using it within 60 days. Once thawed, we suggest you eat it within a day or two for maximum flavor.
How to Keep Turkey Bacon Fresh After Opening
Wondering how to store turkey bacon? The National Center for Home Food Preservation advises freezing an opened package of turkey bacon as soon as possible if you’re not going to cook it within a few days.
The suggested method is to place the raw turkey bacon into a freezer safe Ziploc bag, pushing all the air out and ‘zipping’ the bag as quickly as possible.
Raw, uncooked turkey bacon can be kept in a sealed airtight container for up to 7 days.
You may also wrap the unopened package in several layers of plastic wrap or aluminum foil and then place it into the freezer. After cooking turkey bacon, it can be kept in similar fashion as pork bacon for up to five days.
Note: We recommend the following storage conditions for all types of bacon: refrigerator temperature of 35 to 40 degrees F and freezer temperature of 0 degrees F or lower.
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