Salami has been enjoyed around the world for hundreds of years. Its preparation methods originated from a need to keep meat preserved throughout the winters.
It’s cured with specific ingredients that prolong its shelf life, keeping it safe to eat for long periods of time. But how long is too long? How long does salami last?
- Salami spoils when exposed to oxygen via microbial growth, odor-causing enzymatic actions, and lipid oxidation.
- Dry salami lasts a month at room temperature, while cooked salami lasts hours. In the fridge, opened dry salami lasts 3 weeks and cooked lasts 7 days.
- Bad salami indicators include color change, off-odor, unusual mold, and altered texture.
- For safety, store salami in original packaging in the fridge and check the manufacturer’s expiration date.
Read on to learn more.
What Happens When Salami is Exposed to Oxygen?
Exposure to oxygen spoils salami in three ways:
Fosters the Growth of Microbes
Certain bacteria and other microorganisms can only grow in the presence of oxygen, and many of these bacteria spoil food and are harmful to our health.
Promotes the Action of Enzymes
Enzymes break down proteins in food, causing odor and discoloration.
In the presence of oxygen, the fats in salami can go rancid, causing unpleasant odors and flavors.
Not all of these processes happen at the same rate, but they all contribute to salami going bad when exposed to air.
For example, oxygen contributes to spoilage when the salami is sliced and the casing opened or when the package is opened, and oxygen reaches the salami.
How Long Does Salami Last at Room Temperature?
How long salami lasts at room temperature depends on what type of salami you have (dry or raw that’s been cooked) and whether you’ve opened the package.
Here’s how long salami lasts at room temperature.
Dry salami can last unopened in a cool, dry place for about a month.
After that, exposure to sunlight may cause dry salami to go bad, so it’s best to keep it in a pantry or cupboard until it is opened.
Cooked salami is not cured like dry salami, so it has a shorter shelf life.
Cooked salami in an unopened package will only last a few hours at room temperature and should be stored in the refrigerator.
Because salami can be made and packaged in so many different ways, it’s always good to check the manufacturer’s expiration date to determine how long your salami will last.
How Long Does Salami Last in the Fridge?
Different types of salami last for different amounts of time in the refrigerator. Here are the general guidelines:
Dry salami in an opened package will last for about 3 weeks in the refrigerator.
In a vacuum-sealed package, it’ll last almost indefinitely in the fridge. Refrigerate it in an airtight container to preserve the flavors.
Cooked salami in an opened package will last for about 7 days in the refrigerator. After that, store it in an airtight container to preserve the flavor.
Again, it is essential to read the packaging for your specific salami and check the manufacturer’s expiration date to make sure your salami will last in the fridge.
Can Salami Go Bad?
Salami can go bad, even if it has been stored correctly. Over time, light and oxygen will begin to degrade the quality of salami and contribute to spoilage.
How Can You Tell if Salami has Gone Bad?
There are several ways to tell if salami has gone bad. Here’s what to look for:
The Salami Has Changed Color
Salami is usually pink to red in color, with visible marbling and seasonings.
If your salami has darkened in color, turning brown or grey, it signifies that your salami has gone bad.
The Salami Has an Unpleasant Odor
Good salami has a distinctive smell, often evoking spices and seasonings and a mild funky odor from curing and fermentation.
If your salami has an unpleasant smell, especially if it smells like rotten eggs, it is no longer safe to eat.
The Salami Has Unusual Mold
Many salamis are cured and preserved using beneficial yeasts and molds that prolong shelf life.
If your salami has been preserved in this way, it may look like it has a layer of white coating on the outside and will have looked that way when you bought it.
However, if your salami has developed a white mold that is furry or fuzzy or developed a mold that is green, grey, or pink in color, it should not be eaten.
The Salami Has an Unusual Texture
Good salami is firm and dry. If your salami has become soft and spongy or looks wet or slimy, it’s not good to eat.
If the salami is just a bit outside the expiration date on the package but still looks, smells, and feels like it did when you bought it, it is probably still safe to eat.
There are many different types of salami, and they have been cooked or specifically cured to prolong shelf life and make them last longer.
However, all salami will begin to go bad eventually.
Keep salami in the original packaging to prevent oxygen exposure, store it in the refrigerator or freezer to make it last longer, and check the label to ensure you follow the manufacturer’s directions, so you know your salami is safe to eat.