DOES BACON GO BAD? HOW TO TELL IF BACON IS BAD. HOW LONG DOES BACON LAST IN THE FRIDGE? To tell bacon is bad is by the look, smell, and touch and will last for up to 6 months if stored properly.
Bacon is a delicious protein that is popularly eaten by many people all around the world. Whether it is prepared from scratch or pre-packed, bacon is always a great addition to every meal.
According to the National Pork Board, more than 53% of the households in the United States of America have bacon handy in their kitchens. Also, the average American person eats up to 18 pounds of bacon yearly.
For some people, bacon is best eaten during holidays, special occasions, or when the whole family comes together. But, regardless of the period when you eat it, one sure thing is that when you crave a strip of bacon, you can either buy a fresh pack or rummage your entire fridge to get a previous pack of bacon you had forgotten in your fridge.
This pattern of behavior is synonymous with many people around the world. And questions like, ‘does bacon go bad?’, ‘how to tell if bacon is bad?’, ‘how long does bacon last in the fridge?’ always pop up.
To satisfy your curiosity, this article aims to answer all your impending questions about the shelf life of bacon. So, next time when you open a new pack of bacon, check this article for everything related to storing bacon.
Before getting right into it, if you don’t know what bacon is, let’s attack that first.
What is bacon?
Bacon is a type of meaty protein made majorly from the pork belly or the pig’s back cuts. Bacon is best enjoyed as a complimentary side of a breakfast dish. Bacon can also be used as a minor ingredient to spice up dishes like sandwiches, toast, eggs, soups, salads, porridge, etc.
The most popular form of bacon is the sidecut, which is cut from a Pig side, as the name implies, and this is very popular in the USA. The sidecut is fatty and has layers of fat running parallel to the rind. The back cut, which is from the back of a Pig from the loin in the middle, is another popular form of bacon, common in the United Kingdom. The back-cut bacon is also called Irish bacon, rasher, or Canadian bacon. The back cut has a ham-like texture to it.
The meat from other animals like lamb, chicken, goat, turkey may be cut and prepared to look like bacon and can be referred to as lamb bacon or chicken bacon, as it deems fit.
The meat is treated by soaking it in a salt, nitrates, and sugar solution and mostly smoked before it is cooked. The fat in the bacon gives flavor to the bacon and makes it crispy and tender at the same time. It is always important to cook the bacon before eating it, so it is removed before consumption.
When cooking bacon, you should not cook it at a high temperature for a long time. The high temperature can turn the nitrite used in treating the bacon into nitrosamine, while bacon cooked in a microwave contains lesser nitrosamines. Nitrites are considered harmful because they have been tested positive for causing cancer in animal experiments. Some food producers now add vitamin C to portions of bacon to reduce the nitrosamine content during protection.
As a type of protein, Bacon has been around for a very long time, dating as far back as 1500 B.C. It all started when the Chinese people treated pork belly with a lot of salt, and the Greeks and Romans learned about this method from the Chinese. They also learned about bacon production from the Middle East, and when they returned to Europe, they spread the good news about bacon far and wide. Many people tried it out, started loving bacon, and even incorporated it as a side during meals. Till today, bacon is still enjoyed by many people all over the world.
What does Bacon taste like?
The taste of bacon varies on the breed of animal used. It is mostly also dependent on the breed of pig used, how the bacon is cut, the treatment method, and the processing methods. Bacon has tasted salty, sweet, fatty, and smoky when eaten.
Nutritional Facts About Bacon
- A slice of bacon has 45 calories and 3.5 grams of fat.
- The bacon’s fat is about 45% monounsaturated, containing oleic acid, a healthy type of acid for the heart.
- According to the American Heart Association, salty food raises the blood pressure level- Bacon is also high in salt.
- Bacon contains a lot of fat because it is mostly cut from a Pig. Many people say that bacon is unhealthy, as it has a lot of fat high in cholesterol, which is bad for the heart.
- It is best to eat bacon in the right amount because too much of everything, no matter how sweet, is bad for the human body.
Types of Popular Bacon Cuts
There are different types and shapes of bacon, and each is based on the part of the animal cut or the way the part was treated. The cuts on animals, especially Pigs, vary and depend on the local preferences. Some of the popular cuts used for bacon are listed below.
- Sidecut, side bacon, or streaky bacon: This bacon is gotten from the pork belly. It is the most popular type of bacon in the United States of America.
- Bacon, back cut: This cut contains meat from the loin in the middle of the back of the Pig. It is leaner, and it is a popular type of bacon eaten in Ireland and the United Kingdom.
- Collar bone: This cut of bacon is gotten from the back of a Pig, near its head.
- Jowl bacon: It is the treated and smoked cheeks of pork. The use of skin with a cut of bacon is called the ‘bacon rind.’
- Cottage bacon: This cut is made from the lean meat of a boneless pork shoulder, which is tied into an oval shape.
Popular Sizes of Bacon Sold
Bacon is popularly pre-sliced and packed in regular or thick slices. They are sold in supermarkets, warehouses, or butcher shops. The slices and sizes of bacon are:
- Thickly sliced bacon contain 12 to 16 slices per round.
- Regular sliced bacon is 1/16-inches thick and has16 to 20 slices per round.
- Thinly sliced bacon is 1/32-inches thick and has 35 strips per round.
- Bacon bits are pre-cooked pieces of bacon that are dried for consumption. Bacon bits are made of flavored vegetable protein and must be refrigerated once opened.
Does bacon go bad?
Every food type has a shelf life, whether it is delicious as bacon or as bitter as aloe vera. You probably have a pack of bacon in your fridge that has been sitting in there for over a week, and you’re wondering if it is good to eat or it has gone bad.
Well, before you get excited about eating that bacon, you have to find out if it is still good for consumption. So, the answer to your looming question is YES, bacon does go bad. The next question should now be, how do you tell if bacon is bad? How long does bacon last in the fridge? What happens to you if you eat spoilt bacon? How can you properly store bacon (cooked or uncooked)?
How to tell if bacon is bad?
As stated before, every food has a shelf life and can go bad if not stored properly. And like any meat product, bacon has a consumption time frame that should be followed strictly. So, what happens when bacon is not consumed with that period? Or how do you tell when bacon has gone bad?
There are three major ways to tell if bacon is bad. The three ways are listed below:
1. The look: Is your brown or grey with a shade of green or blue? Or is your bacon pink with a strip of white or yellow fat? If your answer was the first, please get rid of that bacon immediately because it has certainly gone bad. Excessive exposure to air causes a chemical reaction that makes the bacon change to a darker color.
2. The smell: Good bacon always has a meaty, fresh, and natural smell. But bad bacon always smells rotten, fishy, and generally unpleasant. Bacteria growth makes bacon develop a foul smell.
3. The touch: Once the bacon has a slimy, icky, and sticky feel to it, it hasn’t gone well. Good and fresh bacon should always feel fresh, moist, and soft.
Once you notice that your bacon pack does not have any good attributes, it’s best to get rid of it immediately not to contaminate other protein products in your fridge. Wrap it up in a plastic bag and get rid of it.
What happens if you eat spoilt bacon?
In the United State of America alone, 48 million people are diagnosed yearly with food poisoning. To avoid getting diagnosed and falling sick from food poisoning, it is always good to ensure that whatever you eat, home-cooked, or restaurant cooked, is always fresh.
Any spoiled food always has bacteria residing in it, and so does bacon. Bacteria like salmonella, Escherichia coli, bacillus, staphylococcus, dwell in foods that contain bacteria. And eating bacon or any food that has bacteria in it leads to food poisoning.
To prevent getting food poisoning and getting sick, storing your bacon properly is the safest option. If you experience symptoms like nausea, vomiting, fever, abdominal pains, headaches, you may need to get yourself checked for food poisoning.
Most people are lucky to have strong immune systems that fight away food poisoning without any major forms of treatment. But others are unlucky and experience uncomfortable situations and in some extreme cases vomiting of blood, drowsiness, and high fever. To treat these symptoms properly, you need the help of a medical professional.
How to store bacon properly?
To avoid getting food poisoning from eating bad bacon, how do you store bacon properly? Many people toss a pack of bacon into their fridges and forget about it for up to three months, then whip it right back up when needed. This is wrong because bacon needs to be stored properly to prolong its shelf life for consumption.
So, if you ever buy bacon or make it and it does not finish in one meal, here are some tips that can be used to store your bacon properly. Tips here cover cooked and uncooked bacon.
How to store cooked bacon?
- Cooked bacon lasts for 4-5 days when stored in the refrigerator, but the bacon lasts for two to six months when stored in a freezer. To ensure that your pack of bacon lasts longer in the freezer, you want to store it in a plastic bag, wrap it in a foil or a tight-lid container. To store your cooked bacon in the refrigerator, always place it in a tight lid container and consume it within five days after reheating.
- Whether stored in a freezer or refrigerator, for cooked bacon, always store in a plastic wrap bag, a tight lid container, or a foil.
How to store uncooked bacon?
- Before buying packed bacon, always check the sell-by date to ensure that you’re getting a product that can last for a while before expiring.
- Put the unused bacon in a paper towel before putting them in a refrigerator. This helps to absorb the moisture from the bacon and prolong its shelf life.
- Keep the unused bacon in a freezer or refrigerator. In the freezer, the bacon will last for up to 6 months if stored properly, and in the refrigerator, it will last up to days.
- Bacon stored in a freezer can change taste due to freezer burns and can cause fat rancidity. To get the same bacon taste even after proper storage in a freezer, best consume the bacon after 2 months.
- As stated earlier, too much air on bacon makes it go bad. So to prevent any spoilage, store your bacon in a very tight lid-fitting container.
Bacon is tasty and sweet to eat, but when it is not stored properly, it becomes bad and unhealthy to eat. To ensure that your bacon is of the best standard, buy it when fresh, check the pack’s expiry date, and avoid cheap sales.
Bacon has to be stored rightly to prolong its shelf life, and it should also be cooked properly regardless of the method you choose. To ensure that your bacon is good to eat, always use the 3 methods highlighted above in this article. If you sniff the slightest foul smell, please throw it out into the bin immediately!