Did you just buy cured meat and are now confused about its duration and storage?
This happens to all of us because we buy them in bulk and then get worried that do cured meat go bad.
The meat actually has quite a long shelf life because it contains salt and preservatives that prevent the food from spoilage.
However, they do not have an indefinite shelf life and go bad after a certain period.
Therefore, if anyone has found old stored meat, do not consume it immediately as this can cause them several stomach-related problems.
What is Cured Meat?
This is meat that is preserved from different processes such as drying, canning, salting, and smoking.
Once the meat goes through these processes, its spoilage becomes slow as they restrict the growth of microorganisms.
The most common type of cured meat eaten nowadays is bacon, which is cured pork.
The meat includes ingredients like meat, salt, sugar, and nitrates in their formation.
Due to aging, these ingredients offer a more enhanced meat flavor than others.
The drying process can minimize the growth of harmful bacteria to % as it absorbs all the moisture from the meat.
With these processes, one can not only eliminate harmful organisms but also increase the growth of good bacteria by curing their meat through wet curing.
How Long Does Cured Meat Last? Does Cured Meat Go Bad?
If you like to eat cured meat, then you know that it has quite a long life.
However, when anyone keeps it stored for a long time, they know it does not taste like before.
That is because the taste of cured meat gets deteriorates over time, so it will be better if one can finish it before it reaches its shelf life.
Another way to preserve the flavor of the meat is better storage that will make the meat retains its authentic taste for a more extended period.
These can indeed serve you for a longer period than that fresh meat and eggs.
However, be sure that you are storing them at cool temperatures, as the pantry is not a suitable storage place.
All these meats come with the best-by date, which only provides an idea of how long it will preserve their quality.
To increase this storage period, you can put the meat in the fridge, and it will provide you a shelf life of up to 2 weeks after the best-by date.
If you are planning not to use the meat for a month or more, then be sure to put it in the freezer, as there one can expect the meat to last longer than one year beyond its best-by date.
How to Tell if Cured Meat Has Gone Bad?
- The Rotten or Sour Smell
Once you find old stored cured meat, then checking is essential as it has numerous harmful effects.
Therefore you should know ways through which you can find bad cured meat; one easy method is sniffing.
You just need to remove the meat and smell it; if there is a pleasing smell, it is fine.
However, one must avoid having the meat if there is a rotten or sour smell as it indicates bad cured meat.
- Growth of Mold
One can make their meat last longer if they do not let bacteria enter it.
Some people do not consider good storage, and therefore they keep the meat at room temperature because of which it develops bacteria.
These bacteria contribute to the growth of mold and make it bad.
So give a close look at the surface of the meat, and if there is any spot or mold, then it means it has gone bad.
- Alteration in Texture
Another noticeable change you can look for is the texture of the meat.
Although many cured processes remove moisture from the meat, if you store them for an extended period, then it can be prone to moisture.
When this happens, it indicates that meat has become mushy and wet because of excess moisture.
Thus if your meat has a mushy texture, then you should throw it out immediately.
How to Store Cured Meat?
- Avoid Storage at Room Temperature
Favorable storage conditions can help you to save your meat from earlier spoilage.
So you need to keep the meat in the refrigerator or freezer as soon as you buy it from the store.
Room temperature is relatively high for cured meat; therefore, it breaks its components, which leads to spoilage.
- Keep Away From Heat
If you cook a small amount of meat, do not disclose the other leftovers to direct sunlight.
We take out all the meat and keep the leftover on the kitchen shelf until we make our meal.
Because of this, the leftover meat gets heat exposure from the stove, which later becomes the reason for earlier spoilage of the meat.
- Store Far From Strong Smells
There are times when you store the meat in the fridge with other food items; then, you need to be careful.
That is because most of the time if you keep them near any food item with a strong smell, they develop their smell.
Therefore you will not be able to get its authentic aroma as, over time, it will absorb the off odor of other items.
Thus do not store it near foods that have a strong smell.
Many people buy meat in large amounts so that they can make it more cost-efficient, but as time passes, it goes bad, and they cannot enjoy its taste.
Therefore, using the above-provided storage measures to make the cured meat safe for extended periods will be better.
These are not immune to bacteria on their own, so keeping them away from moisture and heat will help you to keep them safe.