Kielbasa is a sausage originating in Poland that is almost always dried, cured, or smoked before purchasing it.
Drying and curing meats preserve them, helping them last longer and stay safe to eat. But how long does kielbasa last, and can kielbasa go bad?
Yes, kielbasa goes bad after being opened. To preserve kielbasa, you can freeze the unopened package, but once kielbasa is thawed or opened, it will eventually go bad.
Let’s learn more about determining if kielbasa has gone bad and how long you can store it.
Does Kielbasa Go Bad?
Making sausage is an old way of preserving meats before refrigeration was available, but that doesn’t mean that kielbasa lasts forever.
On the contrary, kielbasa will go bad, and the length of time depends on how the kielbasa was smoked or cured.
Dry-cured kielbasa left out overnight is often still safe to eat.
This sausage is dry and hard, like a traditional salami, and is often sold unrefrigerated.
Kielbasa that has been smoked without dry curing should be refrigerated. It may not be safe to eat if smoked or wet-cured kielbasa is left out overnight.
Fresh kielbasa will go bad if left open at room temperature for just an hour or two.
Because there are so many different types of kielbasa and preparation methods, it’s always best to check the label and manufacturer’s instructions regarding refrigeration and best-by dates.
How Can You Tell if Kielbasa is Bad?
An opened package of kielbasa should always be kept in the refrigerator, where the cold temperatures will prevent the growth of unhealthy bacteria.
However, some sausages may be contaminated with unwanted bacteria, and the signs will not be immediately apparent.
Here are the best ways to tell if kielbasa has gone bad
Smell the kielbasa if it has been left out. It should smell meaty and have the scent of the seasoning herbs and spices.
If it has an unpleasant odor, smells sour, or smells like ammonia or sulfur, it should be discarded.
Over time, kielbasa may begin to turn brown or grey even if it is uncooked. This is due to the meat oxidizing and changing color, but it may still be safe to eat.
If your kielbasa is beginning to turn brown or grey in the fridge, it is a sign that it should be cooked and eaten right away.
Kielbasa that has gone bad may develop a wet, slimy texture.
Conversely, healthy kielbasa may be slightly glossy but not have a wet or slimy texture.
Kielbasa that has begun to mold may develop white, green, grey, or black fuzzy spots. Never eat kielbasa which has started to develop a patchy, fuzzy appearance.
The first sign that kielbasa has gone bad is an unpleasant smell.
If your kielbasa still smells good and healthy, look for any changes to the appearance or texture.
If kielbasa smells and looks good, it is probably safe to eat after being cooked thoroughly.
Fortunately, kielbasa is made to be preserved and is easy to store and eat safely. Here are the best tips for storing kielbasa.
How Long is Kielbasa Good for In the Fridge?
Always follow package directions, but you can usually expect an unopened package of kielbasa to last in the refrigerator for about 4 weeks.
After the package has been opened, keep it in the fridge and not allow it to reach room temperature.
The store opened kielbasa in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 more weeks.
Can You Freeze Kielbasa?
You can freeze kielbasa, and freezing is an excellent way to store kielbasa for more extended periods.
Frozen kielbasa will last in the freezer for up to 6 months.
It’s best to individually wrap or portion kielbasa before freezing to remove and defrost as much as you need for each serving without defrosting an entire package.
Can Kielbasa Be Refrozen?
Yes, you can refreeze kielbasa once, although the texture may not be as good the second time.
To refreeze kielbasa, follow these steps:
- Defrost kielbasa in cold temperatures by placing it in the refrigerator or cold water. Do not warm frozen kielbasa in the microwave or on the counter if you plan to refreeze it.
- Refreeze immediately. Once the kielbasa is defrosted, place it into an airtight container for refreezing. Do not leave it at room temperatures for longer than 2 hours.
- Freeze quickly. Place defrosted kielbasa in the coldest part of your freezer to help it refreeze quickly.
Kielbasa that has been frozen once will last in the freezer for up to 6 months. Uncooked, refrozen kielbasa will last for up to 4 more weeks.
Do not refreeze kielbasa (or any meat) more than once to ensure that the food remains safe.
You might discover that your kielbasa has been left out overnight. It may still be safe to eat if it has been cured (not just smoked) and the package is unopened.
Inspect the sausages carefully, and cook them thoroughly before eating.
If kielbasa has been opened, especially if it is fresh, raw kielbasa, or uncured kielbasa, it should not be left at room temperature for longer than 2 hours.
Kielbasa can go bad, and unhealthy bacteria may be in kielbasa without being immediately noticeable.
Take care to follow package directions, and store your kielbasa correctly for safety and the best flavor.