How long does bacon last?
Bacon is a staple food in America. It’s not just a meat product; it’s an American icon. And like most icons, its longevity depends on how you cook it. There are two main types of cooking methods: slow and fast. Slow cooking means keeping the temperature low and using a lot of fat to keep the pork from drying out or turning rubbery. Fast cooking means raising the temperature quickly and relying less on fat.
The best way to tell if your bacon is done is by looking at it under a light. If it starts getting dark brown when you touch it, then you’ve cooked too much. You want to get your bacon down to medium rare before eating so that it will still have some bite but won’t be burning your fingers (or worse).
But what does “done” mean exactly?
To answer this question, let’s look at some scientific data.
What do scientists say?
Scientists have been studying the shelf life of different meats since the 1970s. They found that pork chops take up to three years to reach their peak flavor and texture, while beef jerky takes four years. Chicken lasts five years, and chicken nuggets six months. Fish can live up to ten years after being caught.
So, how long does bacon last?
It all depends on its state. Fresh from the package and cooked, bacon can last up to four days in your refrigerator. Cooked but uncooked, it’ll stay good for up to a week. Dried and frozen, it can stay fresh without refrigeration for up to a year.
Keeping cooked pork for an extended period is a little trickier than with other meats. You can keep a whole, uncut slab of bacon in your fridge for up to a week. Cooked slices will only last three days in the fridge.
If you’re really trying to save some money, you can also freeze your cooked bacon. Three months is the maximum you’ll be able to keep it without any noticeable changes in flavor or texture.
How to Store
There are two basic ways to store bacon. First, you can freeze it. Take the number of slices you want and place them in a resealable plastic bag.
Squeeze out all the air, seal it, and put it in the freezer. It can stay there for about three months.
Second, you can refrigerate it. Take the number of slices, wrap them in aluminum foil or plastic wrap, and place in the fridge. It can stay fresh for up to a week.
What Should You Do?
Bacon is delicious and can completely turn a bowl of boring, bland cereal into a gourmet feast. However, it’s not exactly the healthiest thing you can put in your body. If you must eat bacon, then do it in moderation. One or two strips for breakfast should be fine. Any more than that and you’re looking at a high fat, cholesterol, and calorie intake for the day.
However, we’re guessing that you’re asking this question because you want to get the best bang for your buck. If you can save money by buying in bulk and you won’t go overboard on your bacon consumption, then go for the dried strips. However, if you know you won’t be able to last even a month without going overboard, then by all means go with the frozen stuff.
It’ll be easier to store and last longer.
Either way, enjoy your bacon!
Disclaimer: This site is not intended to provide medical advice and is not a substitute for professional medical advice. For specific medical questions, please consult your physician.
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Sources & references used in this article:
The dangerous shores‐one last time by AD von Kunow – 1924 – Bacon Society of America
Last glacial maximum and Holocene lake levels of Owens Lake, eastern California, USA by WA Bacon – Text and Performance Quarterly, 1996 – Taylor & Francis
Delia Bacon: Hawthorne’s Last Heroine by SN Bacon, RM Burke, SK Pezzopane… – Quaternary Science …, 2006 – Elsevier
At long last—A reinforcement sensitivity theory explanation of procrastination. by N Baym – Nathaniel Hawthorne Review, 1994 – JSTOR
Confronting the coffee crisis: can fair trade, organic, and specialty coffees reduce small-scale farmer vulnerability in northern Nicaragua? by C Bennett, AM Bacon – Journal of Individual Differences, 2019 – psycnet.apa.org
Natural course of penicillamine nephropathy: a long term study of 33 patients by C Bacon – World development, 2005 – Elsevier
Angular distributions for high-mass jet pairs and a limit on the energy scale of compositeness for quarks from the CERN pp collider by G Deleuze, F Bacon – 2003 – U of Minnesota Press
Novum organum by …, S Jawad, PR Harrison, JC MacKenzie, PA Bacon… – Br Med J (Clin Res …, 1988 – bmj.com