Bacon, that delicious crispy meat often eaten on the side for breakfast with eggs or omelet. Sometimes chopped up and added to soup for a bit of smoked flavor. Other times cooked up in the oven or pan-fried and snacked on in tasty delight.
Whatever way you eat it, bacon is a staple of most homes in North America and Europe. The salty-sweet goodness is enjoyed by many but as with all food, it has the best before date. Keep reading for great storage tips and to find how to tell if bacon is bad.
Related Question: Does Bacon Grease Go Bad?
A Bit More About Bacon
Bacon is the fatty cut of meat taken from either the side or the back of a pig. It’s typically smoked or cured in salt, nitrates, and sugar as a preservative. Some bacon is cured in brown sugar for an even sweeter taste. Special wood, like hickory, is often used for smoking.
As bacon does contain high concentrations of saturated fat, it’s not the healthiest of meats. Experts recommend that saturated fats should be less than 7% of our diet to be healthy. This is equal to 1 ounce of bacon or the calorie equal to 1 cup of low-fat milk.
If you still want to enjoy this delicious meat, we recommend choosing leaner bacon. When choosing between bacon or something like breakfast sausage, choose bacon! It is lower in fat and calories as well as saturated fats than breakfast sausage.
You can also consider an alternative to traditional bacon such as turkey bacon. Turkey bacon is sourced from poultry rather than pigs. This means it can often contain less saturated fat and can be a healthier choice.
No matter which type of bacon you decide on, we’ve provided several helpful tips in this article on the best ways to store this scrumptious meat. So read on to find these hints and more on how to tell if bacon is bad!
See Also: Can You Eat Turkey Bacon On Paleo?
Types Of Bacon: Pre-sliced Vs Slab
There are two types of bacon. The majority of bacon comes prepackaged and sliced from your local supermarket. You can buy pre-sliced bacon from your supermarket deli as well.
Slab bacon is the entire cut of bacon. Bacon like this will last several weeks in the fridge if tightly wrapped in foil or plastic. The ends of the slab bacon will darken and dry out over time. This does not mean the bacon has gone bad in any way. Trim these pieces off and throw them away.
Signs Your Bacon Has Gone Bad
When considering how to tell if bacon is bad there are three signs to look for.
Any meat will shift in color as it begins to spoil. Bacon is no different. Fresh or good bacon has a natural pink color and the fat or marbling will be a creamy white or yellow. Spoiled or bad bacon will change from this to a green or brown color. It will also have a slight gray look to it. Bacon that looks like this should be discarded immediately.
Rotting or rancid meat has a distinct smell. If your bacon no longer has a rich meaty scent but smells more like fish – throw it out. The fat in the bacon has turned rancid and the meat has developed bacteria. This bacteria is unsafe for human consumption and will cause food poisoning. More on that in our next sign of bad bacon.
3. Taste And Texture
One sure way of how to tell if bacon is bad is through the taste and texture. Good bacon is soft and moist, even after being defrosted if you decided to freeze it to prolong its best by date. Rancid bacon will feel slimy to the touch. It also has a sticky sheen to it. This sheen will leave a film on your fingers to the touch. It is a sign that lactic acid bacteria are present in the meat. This bacteria causes the slime to form and is decidedly unappetizing.
Bacteria that affect spoiled bacon include Staphylococcus, Salmonella, Bacillus, Clostridium, and Escherichia coli. These bacteria are very dangerous to humans. With proper storage and labeling, you can reduce the risk of your bacon spoiling.
Consumption of rancid bacon will cause food poisoning in humans. It is very important to check your bacon or any other meat before eating. These three signs are clear indications of how to tell if bacon is bad.
Tips On Storing Bacon
As we said before, bacon has an expiry date. Storing your bacon properly will extend its shelf life. The key to keeping your bacon from going bad is the temperature. Keep your bacon either refrigerated or frozen to ensure its freshness.
Prepackaged, uncooked bacon still can stay refrigerated for up to a week. As it is vacuum-sealed, this means it will last even past the best-before date in the fridge.
Bacon like this will last even longer if you freeze it. Unopened, bacon will stay unspoiled for 6 to 8 months in the freezer.
If you want to break up your uncooked bacon into serving sizes for easier consumption before freezing, here’s how. Separate the pack into a 4-piece serving and wrap the pieces up in a paper towel. The paper towel absorbs moisture and will prevent freezer burn. Then wrap them tightly in foil or plastic. Single serving sizes of bacon like this will last for several weeks when frozen.
For even better results, store your servings in a shallow, freezer-safe container or zip-lock bag.
Remember to thaw any bacon before cooking in the fridge as this will prevent the water and fat from splattering.
Cooked bacon will last 5 days in the fridge. Again, be sure to use a paper towel to soak up extra moisture and fat. To freeze cooked bacon, simply follow the same instructions as above. In a freezer-safe container or zip-lock bag, cooked bacon will last up to 6 weeks in the freezer. Easily reheat it either in a frying pan or even in the microwave!
A Final Word: How To Tell If Bacon Is Bad?
From pan-fried to oven-toasted: microwaved to campfire cookout – bacon is delicious. Add it to soup, sprinkle it over salad, or just eat it on its own. No matter what way you like to enjoy bacon, remember these easy tips.
That way you will always know how to tell if bacon is bad and ensure freshness. Inspect your bacon before buying it and check best-before dates carefully. Label and date your bacon whether you decide to keep it raw and freeze it or cooked and refrigerated.
If your bacon is discolored or smells fishy, discard it. These steps will also help to prevent food poisoning.
Now – who’s up for some breakfast? Break out the frying pan and let’s enjoy the juicy sizzle, the smokey scent, and the crunch of bacon from pan to plate!