If you’ve ever eaten summer sausage (or any other kind of dry-cured or smoked meat), you know you want to keep it around for as long as possible.
It’s an excellent source of protein, and its flavor is so delicious that you may never even notice how good it tastes.
But, just how long does summer sausage last?
How do you store it properly so it doesn’t go bad?
And when you find yourself with some leftover summer sausage, what’s the best way to use it?
How long does summer sausage last in the fridge?
If you live somewhere warm and humid, like most places in Florida, summer sausage will last longer in your refrigerator than it would anywhere else.
That’s because it tends to get moldy faster in hot weather.
As long as you keep your summer sausage in a cool place (like the crisper drawer) and away from heat sources (the back of the door), it should last about three weeks before it starts to smell.
How long does summer sausage last in the freezer?
In the freezer, summer sausage will last much longer than it does in the refrigerator.
You can freeze it for up to six months, which means you can enjoy it year-round!
But, once again, it’s important to keep it away from heat sources.
Even though it won’t get moldy quite as quickly, you still need to take precautions.
Just like with fresh food, it’s best to wrap your summer sausage tightly in plastic wrap before freezing it.
If you don’t have enough room in your freezer to pack it all snugly, put it on a baking sheet and freeze it flat instead.
How long does summer sausage last unrefrigerated?
Once you’ve got your summer sausage out of the fridge, it’ll start to lose its crispness pretty quickly.
This isn’t because of the time you had it in the fridge — it’s because of the bacteria that grows inside it.
As soon as you remove it from refrigeration, those little critters begin to multiply.
You can try to slow this process by wrapping it in aluminum foil.
This traps moisture inside the package, helping to prevent spoilage.
Alternatively, you could freeze it right after you take it out of the fridge.
How long does summer sausage last cooked?
Summer sausage is meant to be served uncooked, but cooking it will increase the amount of time it lasts in the fridge.
This is because it softens and breaks down, making it more vulnerable to spoilage.
The USDA recommends that you cook summer sausage until 140 degrees Fahrenheit (60 C).
This takes about 25 minutes, depending on the size of your links.
How long does summer sausage last opened?
Summer sausage should only be opened once it’s fully cooked.
Even though it might look like it’s done, there’s still a chance that it hasn’t reached the proper temperature yet.
So, if you open it up, you risk ruining it.
How should summer sausage be stored?
To make sure it stays good for as long as possible, you should store it in the refrigerator.
This is where it can stay for the longest period of time at between five and seven days, depending on climate conditions.
How long does summer sausage last closed?
When you buy summer sausage, it comes in pouches or tubes.
Once you get it home, these packages will usually come with instructions telling you how to store them.
These instructions often include the phrase “store in the original packaging.”
This advice is great for things like yogurt and crackers, but not so useful for meat products.
Unless the packaging specifically says otherwise, you shouldn’t leave summer sausage in its original packaging.
Instead, unwrap it and store it in a cooler bag or container.
This helps prevent condensation from forming on the outside of the pouch or tube.
How long does summer sausage last wrapped?
Since summer sausage is already pre-cooked, you don’t really need to worry about keeping it in the fridge.
However, you should still wrap it in something to protect it from flies and other pests.
There are several options here.
You can cover it with plastic wrap, but that’s not ideal since it prevents air circulation.
You could also use wax paper, but that’s messy and leaves behind a residue.
Instead, I would recommend using parchment paper.
Parchment paper is reusable and easy to clean up after use, plus it doesn’t leave behind any trace of grease.
Plus, it’s biodegradable, which makes it environmentally friendly.
How long does summer sausage last rolled?
Rolling summer sausage into balls helps to prevent it from drying out while you wait for it to cook.
When you roll it into logs, too, you can slice off pieces as needed.
This is especially helpful if you plan on serving it cold.
How should summer sausage be sliced?
Some people like to cut their summer sausage into thick slices.
While this is fine if you’re cooking it immediately, it’s better to slice it thinner if you’re going to let it sit in the fridge for a few hours.
This allows the fat to melt and seep into the meat, which gives it a richer flavor.
How long does summer sausage last cooked?
Cooked summer sausage will keep in a sealed container for about two days, although some recipes call for it to be kept up to four days.
This is because the fats in the meat break down over time, causing the meat to turn rancid.
However, you can extend the storage time by freezing it first.
Put your cooked summer sausage in a ziplock freezer bag, squeeze out as much air as possible, and seal it tight.
Label the bag “frozen sausage” and stick it in the freezer.
After a couple of days, you can give it a quick reheat in a microwave for 30 seconds to one minute per pound of meat.
Let it rest for 10 minutes before serving.
How can you tell if summer sausage has gone bad?
You can tell when summer sausage has gone bad simply by looking at it.
If it smells, looks, or feels slimy, it probably has.
It’s important to note that summer sausage isn’t always bad.
Sometimes, it just gets old.
For example, you might think a piece of summer sausage has gone bad when it actually smells okay and tastes fine.
Or maybe you bought some meat that was supposed to be summer sausage and now it tastes awful.
Either way, there are ways to salvage it.
Since summer sausage is typically sold in bulk, you can either return it to the manufacturer or throw it out.
What are the signs of spoiled summer sausage?
If you see any of these signs, it’s likely time to toss that summer sausage:
Greenish brown spots
Dried out texture