People love their bacon. So much so, that the National Pork Board states that 53% of American households have bacon in their fridge at any given time. Sometimes that bacon sits too long in the fridge and turns brown.
You may wonder why and ask yourself if it’s gone bad. The answer is yes. If your bacon has turned brown, it’s bad.
Brown bacon means it’s been exposed to bacteria in the air and it’s sat long enough to cause spoilage. It could make you sick, but even if it doesn’t, it’s not going to taste good.
Other signs that your bacon is no longer good are:
- other colors like gray, blue, or green
- fishy or rotten smell
- feels slimy or sticky
A good, fresh piece of bacon will be pink in color and the streaks of fat will be white or very pale yellow.
How Long Is Bacon OK To Eat After Opening?
Once you open the bacon package, the meat becomes exposed to potential bacteria and fungus in the air. Even if you reseal it, the chemical reaction that will lead to spoilage has begun.
Bacon will last for about a week in the fridge after it’s been opened. If you’d like to keep your bacon longer, seal it in an airtight container and stick it in the freezer. It will stay fresh for up to a month.
If you’re storing cooked bacon, it will last 4-5 days in the fridge and up to 4 months in the freezer.
How Long Will Unopened Bacon Last?
An unopened package of bacon will keep in the fridge for up to 1 week past the “sell by” date. Be sure to check it carefully before using it. The unopened package will last 4-6 months past the “sell by” date if stored in the freezer.
How Long Can Bacon Be Kept At Room Temperature?
Bacon should sit out no longer than 2 hours at temperatures above 40 degrees Fahrenheit (4.4 Celsius). Bacteria grow quickly above that temperature.
Can You Eat Raw Bacon?
Bacon is pork. Raw pork can contain bacteria and parasites ( tape and roundworms) commonly found in pigs. The only way to ensure all the harmful organisms are killed is to fully cook the bacon. So, while you can choose to eat it, it could make you seriously ill.
What Should You Look For When Buying Bacon?
According to the USDA, when buying bacon you should look for:
- long veins of pink meat
- the “sell by” date
- small amounts of fat
- brands with a reputation for quality (cheap bacon is injected with chemicals like nitrates)
What Are The Most Common Types Of Bacon?
Bacon comes in many shapes, sizes and flavors. Below are a few of the most common types of pork belly.
This is the most common in the United States. The long strips, also called “steak bacon”, are made from pork belly, cured in salt, and then smoked. Great as part of a hearty breakfast or a BLT sandwich.
This bacon is made from pork loin from the middle to the back of the pig. It tastes more like ham than traditional bacon. This type is great to add to an egg and used in an English muffin sandwich.
This is a cut bacon that’s cured with paprika and smoked with the rind on. This type goes great on a sandwich, in stews, or on its own with some mustard.
Also called Italian bacon, it’s sliced thin with spirals of meat and fat. It’s cured with spices like garlic and Rosemary, but not smoked. It goes well in pasta or as a cold cut.
Similar to Canadian bacon, but with a layer of fat around the edges. It makes a nice sandwich and is great for frittatas and omelets.
6. Slab Bacon
Large chunks (slabs) of bacon that are smoked with the rind on. Goes great with stews and soups.
What Are Some Mistakes People Make When Cooking Bacon?
When planning on cooking bacon, you must prepare yourself. These delicious pork strips have been the cause of more than one smoke-filled house, skin burn, (from splattering), and overcooked bacon. Avoid these and other mistakes by following the tips below.
1. Turn the oven fan on high before you begin. Also, open a window if you can.
2. Don’t cook your bacon cold. Allow it to sit for 15 minutes so the meat and fat are the same temperature.
3. Don’t start with a hot pan. Cold bacon in a hot pan will make the fat seize up. Heat the pan slowly with the bacon inside so the fat will melt , making for extra crispy bacon.
4. Keep the flame medium low. This way it will cook evenly, not burn, and there’s less of a chance of splattering.
5. Don’t crowd the pan. A crowded pan will create steam which will cause uneven cooking.
What Are Some Great Ways You Can Use Bacon?
If you’ve got some leftover bacon and don’t want to risk it turning brown, check out these great ways to use it up. They’re also a great reminder that bacon is not just for breakfast.
1. Roasted Bussey Sprouts and Bacon
A drizzle of olive oil, garlic, cumin, and bacon is guaranteed to get the best flavor possible out of your sprouts.
2. Bacon and Beer Cheese Dip
3 great ingredients that make for a perfect dip at sports games, BBQs, or other over 21 get-togethers.
4. Bacon Potato Salad
Make it any way you like, the bacon will only make it better.
5. Chocolate Cake With Maple Bacon Frosting
If you’ve ever had maple bacon and fallen in love, we promise you will love this.
6. Bacon Pancakes
Cut out the “middleman” of a side of bacon, just mix the pieces of bacon in with the batter and bake!
7. Whipped Sweet Potatoes
Crumble up some bacon, mix it in, and drizzle some bacon fat over the top.
8. Cheesecake With Maple Bacon Crust
Sweet and savory has never come in a better package.
9. Cheesy Oatmeal With Bacon
Spice up the same old oatmeal. It’s so tasty , the entire family is sure to love it.
10. Bacon Muffins
Grab some corn muffin mix, crumbled bacon, and chives for a tasty, unique muffin. Great for the holidays.
A Few Fun Facts About Bacon
1. National Bacon Day is celebrated the Saturday before Labor Day.
2. During World War 2, the US government encouraged people to donate their bacon drippings to the army. It was used to make glycerin, which was used to make bombs.
3. The average American eats about 18 pounds of bacon each year.
4. The Chinese were the first known people to cure pork bellies and smoke them, around 1500 BCE.
5. There are over 67,000 pig farms in the United States alone.