Salami might be a cured sausage, but don’t let that terminology trick you into thinking that it won’t go bad. People love to snack on cured meats and often assume that salami will last for long periods. How long is salami good for? It depends on how you store it, as well as some other factors.
There are a lot of unanswered questions about salami and other luncheon meat. Does salami go bad at all? If so, when does salami go bad?
While it’s tempting to skip forward and find a quick answer to your questions, there is quite a bit of information you should learn about cold cuts to store them the right way and prevent food poisoning.
After all, you only want to eat off of a charcuterie board with the best quality salami and lunch meat that there is to offer. Keep reading to finally stop asking yourself, how long does salami last?
Does Salami Go Bad?
How long is salami good for, and do the different types of deli meat have a separate shelf life? Let’s take a deeper look into the world of meats and how to tell when salami is gone bad.
How Long is Salami Good for When Cured?
There are several different types of salami. One of the most popular is dry salami, an Italian sausage made from a mix of meat, spices, and salt and stuffed into a casing. From there, it is left to ferment and air-dry.
This type of salami is a shelf-stable product that doesn’t require refrigeration but continues to dry out. When does salami go bad if it doesn’t require refrigeration?
Making dry salami, also called hard salami, dehydrates the decay-causing bacteria and instead allows beneficial bacteria to grow.
This is why these types of meats have an extended expiration date compared to others. Dry salami includes varieties like sopressata, chorizo, pepperoni, and Genoa salami.
If dry salami stays unopened in the original packaging, it lasts for up to six weeks before it reaches spoilage. However, according to the USDA, it could last indefinitely in the fridge.
Regardless, it is best to find the expiration or best-by dates whenever you’re unsure. The moment you cut into salami, bacteria can reach the inner sausage, and then it only lasts for up to three weeks in the fridge. Freeze hard salami for two weeks in the freezer.
How Long is Salami Good for When Cooked?
Cooked salami is another type that many people love. Cooked salami is meat that gets stuffed into a casing and then boiled, smoked, or cooked in some way.
They are only sometimes cured after being cooked, but many don’t undergo the fermenting and curing process. Examples of cooked salami are bologna and mortadella.
When does salami go bad if it’s cooked? The USDA food storage guidelines say that most cooked salami last two weeks in the fridge when unopened or up to seven days after being opened.
If you truly wanted to extend the shelf life, you could store fresh salami in the freezer and in a freezer bag for two months.
Pay attention to meats that are labeled “uncured.” These meats are not preserved with sodium nitrate. Nitrites help preserve food, and you should always check the use-by date on the packaging with these labels.
When does Salami Go Bad at Room Temperature?
Once you slice into salami, bacteria penetrate the meat quickly. Salami can only sit out at room temperature for about two hours before you’re in danger of getting sick.
Don’t even try to stick it back in the fridge if it’s been out longer. Always wrap your salami with plastic wrap or stick it in an airtight container and put it in the fridge to ensure the safety of you and your loved ones.
How to Tell When Salami is Gone Bad
Several distinct warning signs tell you not to eat spoiled salami. The first is typically a color change. Salami has a range of colors, usually from red to pink, with a few small bits of white mold.
These white bits are good bacteria that help preserve the meat. However, if left out, they’ll grow and leave fuzz behind.
If you see white, powdery mold, this is penicillium and isn’t uncommon. Avoid the molds that are brown, grey, black, or green and have a fuzzy texture.
A change in smell is another good indication that you shouldn’t eat your meats. Salami has a very distinct smell that is similar to cheese. If it smells any different or smells a little like rotten eggs, it’s best to throw the meat away.
You could also see texture changes. Salami does get hard, dry, or slimy, depending on the conditions. These visuals are clear signs to put it in the garbage bin.
How to Store Salami
There are a couple of different methods to store your salami. The ideal way is to wrap it in butcher paper and store it in the fridge.
If you don’t have butcher paper, plastic wrap or aluminum foil works as well. If keeping it in the freezer, make sure to double wrap it or put it in a freezer bag first.
Making Your Own Salami
You don’t have to buy salami at the grocery store. There are plenty of homemade salami recipes on the internet to try. It is a little tricky to stuff it in the casings, though.
Thankfully, we found a way around this challenging process. Don’t be afraid to add your favorite spices or meats and really make it your own.
Mix your ground beef with garlic, onion, mustard, curing salt, red pepper, black pepper, and liquid smoke in a large bowl. Roll the mixture into a long, two-inch log and wrap it tightly in aluminum foil. Refrigerate the roll for 24 hours.
Preheat your oven to 325°F. Slice a few slits into the bottom of the meat roll to allow the fat to drain while it cooks. Place your meat roll on a broiler pan and fill the bottom section of the pan with an inch of water to help keep the meat moist.
Bake the salami in the oven for 90 minutes. Remove the hot pan and allow it to cool completely before unwrapping it. Slice the salami and eat it as you would with lunch meat or serve it with crackers and cheese.
Salami has such a distinct flavor that people love. While there are many different types of salami, they all have the potential to spoil if you don’t care for them properly.
When you have such tasty meat on hand, it’s best to learn how to store it the right way so that you get to enjoy it.
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