Cured meat is a type of preserved food that has been treated with salt, nitrates, or other preservatives.
Curing and preserving meat helps to keep it from spoiling.
The word “cure” actually refers to how the process keeps the meat from spoiling by killing bacteria that can cause illness through fermentation or other methods.
This article will talk about how to store your cured meats, how long they last in the fridge, how you can tell if they have gone bad, as well as tips on how to prepare them for consumption.
What is Cured Meat?
Butchers, foodies, and anyone who enjoys eating meat will know what cured meats are.
It is a type of processed or preserved meat which has been salt-cured to preserve the product for an extended period without refrigeration.
There can be various types, such as bacon, ham, Jamon Serrano, prosciutto, and salami.
Cured meats are usually made from pork (although beef or other meat can also be used).
Before the meat is cooked, it starts as a mixture of fat and lean meats.
The meat undergoes various processes to inhibit bacterial growth before being cured.
The most common process is called the nitrite-curing process, which uses a combination of salt and sodium nitrate (or other curing salts) to inhibit bacterial growth and create an environment with significantly lower water activity than raw meat.
The result: a deliciously salty piece of cured meat that you can eat without having to worry about it going bad for weeks or months.
Cured meat can be used in several dishes, such as the classic ham and eggs breakfast, or can be used to create delicious sandwiches.
How to Store Cured Meat?
We all know that cured meat like ham, bacon, and beef jerky tastes great.
But did you also know that these meats have to be stored properly?
Cured meats are often stored in a refrigerator or freezer as long-term storage.
However, they can also be placed on shelves and aged for one week before consumption.
No matter where you choose to keep your cured meats, make sure that it is not near any other food items with strong odors such as onions.
To keep your cured meat in the best shape, store it in a cool place without too much exposure to the sun or other sources of heat.
This will help to avoid any spoilage and prevent the meat from drying out too quickly.
How Long Does Cured Meat Last? Does Cured Meat Go Bad?
If you’re a fan of cured meats like bacon, ham, or salami, you’ve probably wondered how long it lasts.
You may be surprised to learn that, like fresh meat and eggs, cured meats can last for a surprisingly long time in the fridge or freezer.
Freezer: While they don’t spoil as quickly as fresh food items do once frozen (since most bacteria have been killed during processing), there’s still an expiration date stamped on every package.
If your salami is over six months old when you go to make your sandwich, it might not taste good anymore.
In general, cured meat should be frozen for one year but might last longer.
Fridge: Cured meats can last up to two weeks in the refrigerator.
Be sure to wrap them tightly or place a plastic bag over loosely before putting it in the fridge – this will help prevent spoilage and keep out moisture, which can lead to mold.
This means that if it’s been more than five days since you bought your salami sandwich ingredients, make sure you stick them back into the refrigerator, so they don’t spoil.
How to Tell if Cured Meat is Bad?
Cured meat offers a great, inexpensive alternative to fresh meat.
It can last much longer and is not as expensive if purchased in bulk.
Many people mistakenly believe that cured meat should be used for a short period before it starts to go bad–in reality, the opposite is true.
Cured meats are safe indefinitely as long as they have been adequately preserved with salt or nitrate solutions.
Unfortunately, some cured meats can also be a breeding ground for bacteria.
This is why it’s essential to inspect all cured meat before using or consuming it–especially if the meat has been sitting on your countertop for an extended period without being refrigerated.
The following are some signs that indicate you might have bad, spoiled cured meat:
- If it smells funky, rotten, or sour.
- When any mold is present on the surface of the product.
- The texture of the meat is mushy and wet.
- If it looks slimy on the product’s surface, or if it has any bulges in its flesh.
- The color of the cured meat has changed drastically–for example, from pink to brownish-yellow.
- It’s hard to cut through with a knife without encountering any resistance (meat should be easy to slice).
If one of these signs is present, you should discard the product.
It’s best to be proactive and not wait for these signs to appear.
If you’re unsure of whether or not the meat is spoiled, it’s best to discard it–it’s better safe than sorry.
Just because a meat product has been cured, it does not make it immune to spoilage.
However, if you follow these simple guidelines for storing and handling your cured meats, they will last much longer than their uncured counterparts.
We’ve outlined all of the details below for easy reference but feel free to reach out with any questions at any time.