Does Bacon Go Bad?

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Bacon has got to be America’s most favorite food. It is salty and crispy and while it is a popular breakfast side, it is just as popular to have along with burgers and sandwiches. In fact, bacon is so beloved and popular that there are even concoctions of bacon ice cream and bacon doughnuts.

Bacon comes from pigs, usually the side of the pig, and is salt cured that can be dry, smoked, or in a pickle. The bacon comes in different cuts, the most popular are:

Streaky bacon: this is also called American bacon, side cut, or standard cut. This is cut from the pork belly.

Canadian bacon: This is usually cut from the loin and is also called back bacon. It comes in round slices and is often leaner than the side cut.

Thick-cut bacon: This is like streaky bacon but just thicker and cut into lardons or matchsticks.

Pancetta: This is also cut from the pork belly and can be consumed raw. It is Italian-style bacon.

Slab bacon: Slab bacon is big chunks of bacon that have been cut from the pork belly and can be cured in multiple ways.

These are the most popular types of bacon found in America. Apart from this, you can find Asian bacon, Russian and Polish styles of bacon, and English styles of bacon called rashers among a whole slew of others.

Because of its high grease and fat content, it is not advised to eat bacon every day. Bacon has some health benefits and is good for you in moderation. Bacon contains plenty of micronutrients like potassium and also contains zinc, phosphorous, niacin, thiamin, and vitamins.

Does Bacon Go Bad?

Bacon, whether cooked or uncooked and whatever type and whichever way it has been cut or cured, will go bad. Bacon has a pretty limited shelf life and proper storage will ensure that it tastes good and retains the best quality till its expiration.

How Long Does Bacon Last?

Bacon does not have a very long shelf life and it can go bad really quick. Bacon needs a lot of care to make sure it does not spoil.

  • Uncooked bacon will last in the fridge, when still unopened for about 2 weeks.
  • If the bacon is opened but still uncooked, it will be good for about a week.
  • Uncooked bacon will be good in the freezer for about 8 months.
  • Cooked bacon though has a much shorter shelf life. Once cooked the bacon will last in the fridge for no more than 4 to 5 days.
  • Cooked bacon can also be stored in the freezer, it will stay good for about 2 to 3 months.
  • Bacon of any type cannot be left out in the pantry or the kitchen. Bacteria sets in very fast and the bacon must be thrown out. Even if closed and sealed, do not leave the bacon out. Bacon should always be stored in the fridge or freezer.
  • Some store-bought precooked bacon does not need to be refrigerated. These vacuum-sealed, precooked bacon are heavily processed and are usually sold as bacon bits of bacon crumbles and they do not need to be refrigerated even after being opened. They last anywhere between 1 to 3 months.
  • Heat, humidity, and moisture will accelerate spoilage in the bacon.
Type of BaconPantry/CabinetFridgeFreezer
Uncooked, unopened bacon
2 weeks8 months
Uncooked, opened bacon
1 week8 months
Cooked bacon
4-5 days2-3 months
Precooked, vacuum-sealed bacon crumbles1-3 months4-5 days2-3 months

The above table is just an estimate of how long bacon can last if stored properly. Obviously, a number of factors go into determining the actual shelf life of bacon. Also, most packs of bacon sold in stores come with best-by, sell-by, or expiry dates. The best-by and sell-by dates indicate when the product is expected to reach peak quality. It does not indicate when the product will go bad. The product will still be good to eat but it might have lost some its flavor and quality. If the pack does have an expiry date it is not recommended to consume the bacon after that date.

What Is the Best Way to Store Bacon?

It is very easy for bacon to go bad. Bad storage conditions can severely cut down its shelf life. There are a few things to keep in mind when storing bacon.

  • Store-bought bacon that has not been opened yet and is still uncooked, can be stored as is in the refrigerator. Make sure the seal is not broken. If the plastic has ripped or it is open, then either wrap the bacon tightly in aluminum foil or store it in an airtight container or pouch.
  • Once the bacon has been opened, you can first wrap the bacon in some paper towels to absorb the moisture. Excess moisture can easily spoil the bacon due to bacterial growth.
  • Wrap the uncooked, opened bacon tightly in aluminum foil and then place it in an airtight container. You can also place it in a Ziplock bag.
  • Cooked bacon obviously has a much shorter shelf life and if you want to enjoy it a lot longer, you need to take some extra care.
  • Wrap the bacon in a shallow, airtight container or wrap it tightly in aluminum foil. This helps keep the bacon crisp and fresh.
  • If you want to freeze your bacon, there are a couple of ways to do so. Unopened bacon that is still in the store-bought package, has to be double wrapped in a heavy-duty foil. This will make sure that the bacon is extra secure and does not get spoiled due to moisture, air, or fluctuating temperatures.
  • Similarly, opened bacon, cooked or uncooked, should also be wrapped in heavy-duty foil and stored in the freezer. You can use parchment paper or wax paper between each strip of bacon so that they don’t freeze together and then break apart when thawing. You can also place the wrapped bacon in an airtight container.

How To Tell If Your Bacon has Gone Bad?

It is not recommended to consume spoiled bacon as it can lead to severe poisoning, While some of the symptoms can be usual diarrhea, vomiting, and abdominal cramps, it can also lead to more severe symptoms and lead to hospitalization.

  • If the bacon doesn’t have its usual meaty smell but instead smells off or funky, then it has turned rancid.
  • If you see any kind of spots on the bacon it has been spoiled. Spots are an indication of bacteria.
  • Similarly, if the bacon does not have its healthy, pink coloring, but instead has a green or gray coloring, then it has gone bad and should be tossed.
  • Oftentimes, spoiled bacon will have an oily, slimy feel. This definitely means it has spoiled.

Bacon is the world’s favorite meat that can be had as a side, topping or part of a meal. Everyone loves bacon and understandably so. But despite all the deliciousness, it can go bad really quickly, so take some care and enjoy your bacon.

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