Did you find a package of fresh bacon in the back of your fridge? Wondering how long it will last or has it already gotten bad on you. Learn about how long bacon lasts in the fridge when it's in an unopened package as well as how long after you open it.
Have you ever started searching around your fridge and then notice that a package of bacon that you bought some time ago. You can't remember exactly when anymore. Is this bacon still ok to eat or did your chance to make a killer BLT sandwich just go out the window?
In this post we will talk about how long uncooked bacon lasts in the fridge and talk about the kind of shelf life you can expect when you get bacon at the grocery store.
📅 How Long Does Bacon Keep?
To begin I want to look at the dates on packages of bacon that I found in the grocery store. I went to the store on May 6th and checked the dates on several packages of bacon. Here are the dates I found:
- May 11st
- June 16th
- June 20th
- June 28th
- June 29th
- July 12th
- July 26th
Nearly all of them were over a month away from their dates, minus the one that had a sell by date of May 11. And that package of bacon had a reduced price. I bought it for the savings and then threw it into my freezer.
Of course this can vary by where you shop and how many customers that store gets. In general I would say that bacon you buy in the store usually has 6 weeks before you pass the date on the package, It could spend that whole time in your fridge.
In most cases if you forget about the bacon for a few weeks you are likely to be fine. Just look for the printed date on the package. It should either be on the back somewhere or along the edge. They aren't always easy to spot, so give yourself some good lighting and a minute to spot it.
🗓️ Type of Dates
So you may encounter different types of dates. These are the 3 most common
- Sell-by date - the date in which the product must be sold by, after that date the store will no longer sell it.
- Use-by date - the date in which the producer says you need to use the product by
- Best-by date or Best if used by - the date the producer says that the quality of the product will begin declining.
Going back to the bacon I reported on with the dates on the package here is how many of each type of date I found
- Best-by (3)
- Sell-by (1)
- Use-by (2)
A little bit of each with best-by being the most commonly used. So you need to not only read the date but see which words are preceding it. Use-by dates are the ones you want to be more strict. Sell-by and best-by really give you more time to use the bacon after the date. In most case you probably still have 5-7 days.
👎 How to Know if Bad
Unlike fresh vegetables or raw chicken, bacon doesn't go bad that easily. It's salty food and salt is used as a way to preserve food. Also bacon is normally vacuum sealed. so oxygen that could cause the food to eventually spoil is reduced. Apples are stored in packinghouses that reduce the oxygen level in the room to help prolong the shelf life of the apples.
That doesn't mean your bacon is free from going bad. Although I worry more about food poisoning with other foods, here are a few things to watch for, just in case you encounter them with your bacon.
- Slimy - If your bacon has a slimy texture when you open the package then something is off.
- Smells Like Sulfur - Good or bad bacon isn't going to be odorless. It should smell. Mainly like smoke. But if it has a rotten smell like bad eggs then you don't want to eat it.
- Mold - I got to say that I have never seen mold growing in an unopened package of bacon. Not to say it couldn't happen if that package was mishandled. If you see mold or the bacon has a greenish hue, you will need to toss that whole package out. It's hard to say for sure how far the mold penetrated the meat.
- Turned brown - If the bacon was a nice pink color when you bought it and now it has turned more brown, it's more of a judgment call. Some would say for sure toss it, others might say it's cosmetic as the bacon was exposed to air. Bacon should be wrapped up tight enough that it doesn't happen, so I would be considered it wasn't stored right. I see this more often in bacon that I buy by the pound in the store and then it's wrapped up in paper. If you don't see any other symptoms, especially smell and the date on the package hasn't passed yet, I might still use it unless it looks green.
🧊 How Long Can You Freeze Bacon
If you need to put your bacon in the freezer it can hang out in there for 1-3 months. People say that the flavor will worsen with time. Every pack of bacon I have frozen, I haven't keep around long enough to know sure. With time, the bacon could end up getting freezer burn if it's not really tightly sealed.
If I am freezing a whole pack of bacon that is already vacuum sealed, then I just put the whole thing in the freezer as is. No reason to mess with it.
🥓 Leftover Bacon
Say you open a package of bacon but don't use it all. How long do you have? Once you have opened the package and it exposed it to air you do lose some time. I would say you need to eat it within a week or freeze it. If you are going to freeze it wrap it first in aluminum foil, then wrap in plastic wrap or put in a plastic freezer bag. Bacon is fatty and that fat can pick up funky flavors in the freezer. Plus this also helps reduce the odds of freezer burn.
Maybe instead you are talking about cooked bacon that you have leftover. First I am wondering who you managed to pull that off? We never have leftover bacon in my household. But if find that you do, use it up within 4 to 5 days. It's great crumbled up on top of a salad. Or in a sandwich. Or in a bowl of potato leek soup. There are many ways to use it so that it doesn't go to waste.
🦃 Turkey Bacon
So far we have assumed you have been talking about pork bacon. But what if you have turkey bacon? Does that change anything? If that bacon is salted just like a pork bacon that really isn't going to be much difference. Following everything I already said and you should be in a good shape.
How long do you think you have left bacon in the fridge for? Leave a comment below to let us know.