Turkey can be prepared in many ways, and turkey sausages are the go-to option for many.
As with all meat products, it’s important to store turkey sausage properly to prevent spoilage and know how to tell if turkey sausage is bad.
There are a few telltale signs, including color changes, sour odor, a change in texture, and even mold growth.
Eating spoiled turkey sausage is a health hazard, so detecting these changes in time is crucial.
Read on to learn more.
Does Turkey Sausage Expire?
Unless it’s dry or hard sausage like pepperoni, all types of sausage expire, including those made from turkey meat.
So when buying turkey sausage from a supermarket or a deli market, it’s imperative to check the expiration date.
If the packaged turkey sausages don’t have a written “use-by” or “expiration date,” you can’t be sure whether it’s fresh or not.
Furthermore, it’s vital not to confuse the expiration date with “sell-by” dates, indicating how long the stores should keep the meat displayed for purchase.
Also, the “use-by” date is not the same as the “best if used-by” specification.
The latter refers to foods like condiments, canned goods, and shelf-stable items which don’t have a specific expiration date.
However, their flavor or texture may change after the noted date.
How Can You Tell If Raw Turkey Sausage Is Bad?
Do you have turkey sausage meat in your refrigerator or freezer and no dinner plans? Then, frying up a few turkey sausages sounds excellent.
But how to tell if turkey sausage is bad after sitting in the fridge for a few days?
If you bought the turkey sausage on the day, you’re planning to cook it and have checked the expiration date, you probably have nothing to worry about.
However, if you took the sausage meat out of the package and placed it in a different container, or the expiration date stamp is missing, you need to take a different approach.
Assessing whether the raw turkey sausage is safe to eat requires employing nearly all your senses, so keep in mind the following clues.
The most effective way to determine whether the turkey sausage has gone bad is to smell it.
However, if the meat has been sitting for too long, you might not even have to put it close to your nose to determine that it’s bad.
On the other hand, if the smell isn’t overwhelming, it can be more challenging to determine whether the turkey sausage is bad.
Don’t forget that fresh turkey sausage has a relatively mild smell, with a hint of herbs and seasonings.
High-quality, raw turkey sausage is either light red or pink on the surface and slightly darker on the inside.
If you notice that the exterior color of the turkey sausage is browner — or even dark gray — than red or pink on the outside, it means the spoilage is ongoing.
Another clear visual indicator that the turkey sausage is bad is the presence of mold.
Any blueish or green fuzzy patching is a sure sign to dispose of the turkey sausage.
If you want to know how to tell turkey sausage is bad, check for the consistency of turkey sausage meat.
If the raw sausage is fresh, the texture will be pretty firm, and you can easily break it apart.
On the other hand, spoiled turkey sausage is slimy and often quite sticky to the touch.
This is all bacteria buildup; the raw turkey sausage should not be cooked and eaten once the texture changes.
Eating spoiled meat of any kind can be detrimental to human health and cause fever, diarrhea, nausea, belly bloating, and cramps.
How Can You Tell If Cooked Turkey Sausage Is Bad?
There’s another important way of knowing how to tell if turkey sausage is bad or not.
Let’s say you’ve cooked the fresh raw sausage correctly but didn’t finish it.
You might store it in the fridge or freeze it, choosing to finish it later.
If placed in an air-tight container, cooked turkey sausage can be stored in the fridge for three to five days and up to three months in the freezer.
Still, before consuming it, you should check whether the sausage is bad.
You should look for the same clues as you would for the raw turkey sausage.
Rancid smell, slimy texture, mold, and color change are warnings not to eat the cooked sausage.
Tips for Storing Turkey Sausage
Knowing how to safely store food reduces health issues and food waste.
For example, if you enjoy turkey sausage and want to be sure it never goes bad, here are a few tips on storing it properly.
You can keep fresh, raw turkey sausage opened or unopened for up to two days in the refrigerator and up to two months in the freezer.
There are two crucial tips on cooked sausage.
First, ensure the sausage cools down slightly after cooking before putting it in the fridge to prevent overworking your appliance.
More importantly, you should never store cooked turkey sausage outside the fridge or freezer, as the bacteria will grow quickly and spoil the meat.
Instead, keep the cooked sausage for up to four days in the refrigerator and three months in the freezer.
Did you leave cooked sausage outside the fridge overnight and plan to reheat it for lunch the next day?
That’s not a good idea, even if the turkey sausage looks and smells fine. It can still make you sick.
Apart from these basic guidelines, you should also make sure not to store sausage meat with other foods, especially those that deteriorate at a different rate.
Furthermore, contaminated containers will likely speed up the sausage spoilage, so store it in a clean and dry container.
If you bought too much turkey sausage and don’t want it to go to waste, that’s perfectly understandable.
But just because you don’t want to throw away the turkey sausage in your fridge doesn’t mean you should eat it.
How to tell if turkey sausage is bad? Spoiled raw sausage will go from light pink to brown, start smelling bad, and lose its crumbling, firm consistency.
Cooked turkey sausage no longer edible will exhibit the same signs, including mold patches.
Always store turkey sausage in the fridge or freezer using clean, air-tight containers.