Meat is one of the tastiest food choices, but it’s also the one that goes bad the fastest. Fortunately, you can minimize this concern by purchasing summer sausages.
Thanks to the curing process of summer sausages, they’re made to outlast other sausages to give you a delicious meal for much longer. Unlike most meats plagued by short shelf lives in high temperatures, summer sausage can be enjoyed all year round.
But does summer sausage go bad? This would be a silly question with any other meat type since they all go bad sooner or later. But this snack is slightly different.
The answer here is that yes, summer sausage will eventually go bad. For instance, refrigerated and unopened sausage will last for up to three months. Read on to learn more.
Can Summer Sausage Go Bad?
Although it lasts longer than most other meat types, summer sausage can eventually go bad.
Three factors affect its shelf life: the storing conditions, whether it’s been opened, and whether it’s been cooked.
The main reason it goes off is that people ignore the estimated lifespan. In addition, if you haven’t stored them in closed packets and away from humid areas, they can go off fast.
To store summer sausages correctly, make sure to seal them in airtight containers and packages. You also need to refrigerate them and fend off moisture to prolong their shelf life.
How Do You Know if Summer Sausage Is Bad?
In terms of signs, it largely depends on whether the summer sausage has been cooked or not.
Cooked summer sausages generally show traces of spoilage sooner than uncooked sausages. Their moisture content makes them more susceptible due to bacteria accelerating their deterioration.
One of the most common indicators is discoloration caused by the lack of nitrites and nitrates when they go bad.
These substances are preservatives that prolong the shelf life of summer sausages. However, without their protective abilities, the meat goes off quicker than usual.
A foul smell is another way to recognize spoilt summer sausages. Note that this can become more intense as the meat ages.
You should also pay attention to the texture. Spoilt sausages become slightly slippery and slimy, which signifies that bacteria have started to multiply on the surface.
Other signs include mold growth, a sour taste, and a change in the sausage’s firmness. If you notice any off-flavors or odd textures upon tasting a small piece, it’s best to discard the sausage.
Avoiding food poisoning is probably the main reason why you’ve been wondering if summer sausage goes bad.
Eating rotten meat can lead to food poisoning and trigger several health problems, such as vomiting, stomach cramps, nausea, and diarrhea. Thus, stay away from summer sausages if you notice any of the signs mentioned above.
How Long Is Opened Summer Sausage Good for Unrefrigerated?
While it’s ill-advised to keep summer sausage unrefrigerated, it can last for quite a while in this state.
In most cases, it’s safe to eat around three days after being removed from the fridge. So naturally, the lifetime of refrigerated unopened summer sausages is much longer (up to three months).
Once opened, semi-dry sausages can last for about three months refrigerated and between one and two months in well-regulated freezers.
De-thawed meat should be eaten immediately without refreezing.
As for cooked summer sausages, they typically don’t last very long. The accumulated moisture significantly reduces their lifetime.
At room temperature, they only remain good for a couple of hours. Conversely, freezers and refrigerators can keep cooked summer sausages in edible condition for up to a week or two.
But remember, if the sausage has been left out in temperatures above 90°F, its shelf life outside the refrigerator drops to just one hour due to the rapid growth of harmful bacteria.
To make the most of your summer sausage, follow the storage instructions written on the label.
This will tell you how to store the meat properly and avoid damage to the package. With these practices, you can preserve summer sausages even after their expiration date.
Furthermore, make sure to keep track of the meat’s best-by date. Most commercially packed sausages include this information, and it can come in various formats (‘best if used by,’ ‘best before,’ and ‘best when used by’).
However, this isn’t a safety date – it’s the estimate of how long the meat will preserve its peak quality.
Does Summer Sausage Need Refrigeration?
Many summer sausages don’t need refrigeration but keeping them at inadequate temperatures can speed up the meat’s deterioration.
Even though this type of meat is made to resist moisture and heat, it’s best refrigerated if you wish to extend its shelf life.
Be aware that this is one of the most essential guidelines on avoiding health hazards caused by consuming improperly stored summer sausage.
That said, some summer sausages don’t require refrigeration. To determine if your product needs to be refrigerated, consult the manufacturer.
You should also examine the packaging. If it says, ‘refrigerate after opening,’ you can store it in your pantry until you want to use it.
These sausages are shelf-stable, meaning they don’t need to be frozen or refrigerated for safe storage. In this case, the product is ready to eat, and the manufacturer doesn’t need to include safe handling directions or cooking instructions.
But if it says, ‘needs refrigeration,’ store it in your fridge, where unopened products can maintain the highest quality for about half a year.
Summer sausage stored in the freezer retains its best properties and flavor for around 10 months.
Nevertheless, it’s safe to use beyond that time, and it can last indefinitely if kept frozen at 0° Fahrenheit constantly.
Overall, you can extend the shelf life of your summer sausages by keeping them unopened in the freezer or fridge.
One pro tip is to label your summer sausages with the date of purchase or the date you opened them. This way, you can easily keep track and ensure you consume them while they’re still at their peak quality.
To help keep rot at bay, wrap them with airtight freezer wrap or aluminum foil. You can also place the meat inside heavy-duty freezer bags.
Storing summer sausages after opening works slightly differently. After unpacking a vacuum seal, remove the rest of the package.
Then, rewrap the meat tightly to keep air from infiltrating.
Finally, if summer sausages are moist, wipe them dry before repacking. You may be able to leave them unwrapped, depending on the safety instructions.
Summer sausage isn’t that different from other meat, as it can turn foul. Therefore, you no longer need to ask yourself if summer sausage goes bad.
Instead, to extend its shelf life as much as possible, follow the manufacturer’s instructions and store the food correctly using appropriate packaging. This way, you’ll be able to hold onto a mouth-watering snack for months to come.