The shelf life of any food item is an extremely important aspect. In the US, sausages are inspected by the USDA to ensure that they are following safe practices. And if retail outlets make these sausages to sell them within the same state, this is the state’s jurisdiction.
If you didn’t know it already, sausages are usually made of pork or ground beef. Then, the meat is mixed with some seasoning and packaged into a case. Sometimes, they have other ingredients like oats and breadcrumbs. This adds flavor to the meat. But some ground meat also contains fish or poultry. And they are available in different sizes too.
It is important to know about the shelf life and storage techniques of this food item because carelessness can lead to food poisoning. And let’s not forget about food waste if and when the sausages go bad. But it’s not a complicated thing. So, let’s get started.
About the Shelf Life of Sausages
Until they are ready to be cooked, sausages should be stored in the refrigerator. Therefore, they have most likely been in the refrigerator for a few days at the time of purchase. Because sausages can become bad even when they are frozen, it is important to pay attention to the dates on the container.
This is due to the fact that a sausage’s shelf life varies depending on whether it is cooked or not. Additionally, it varies depending on whether the sausages are frozen or refrigerated and whether they have been unwrapped.
How Long Can You Leave Sausages Out?
If you leave them at room temperature, bacterial growth will be very rapid. In this context, room temperature can be anywhere from 40 to 140 degrees Fahrenheit. If they have been outside the fridge for more than a couple of hours, it is best to discard them.
Ideally, sausages must not be opened till they are ready to be used. This is one of the most effective ways to maximize their shelf life. The other way is to freeze them and keep them in there as directed on the label.
If you freeze them, you can extend their shelf life by wrapping the store packaging using heavy-duty foils or food paper wraps so that the sausages are airtight. When you do this right, you can expect the sausages to be in good condition for a month or two till it is time to thaw and use them. If you keep them at zero degrees Fahrenheit, the quality can be protected indefinitely.
After defrosting the sausage, you can expect it to be safe for a day or two if it is still kept in the refrigerator. If you thaw them under running cold water or in the microwave, you must cook them right away.
What’s the Shelf Life of Uncooked Sausages?
If you are dealing with pre-cooked sausages, which will be specified on the label, you will have better luck than storing fresh sausages. These sausages can stay good in the refrigerator for about two weeks. But that’s the case with unopened packages. If you have opened them, you want to use them in a week. The ideal time frame is to use them in one or two days.
Fresh sausages, also categorized as uncooked, are made from one or more types of meat and are sold in their raw form. These sausages should be taken care of just like any other perishable food product.
If you keep the links out and store them in the refrigerator, you can expect them to stay good for one or two days. If you don’t refrigerate them, they will stay good only for a couple of hours.
The best way to deal with fresh sausage is to buy only as much as you can consume for about two days. You can cook and store them in the refrigerator, extending their shelf life to three or four days.
If you are dealing with dried sausages, they will be fine in a cool and dry pantry for about six weeks if you get them whole. In a refrigerator, they will last for three weeks if they are opened and indefinitely if they are not opened. If you freeze them properly, they will last for about one or two months.
The only exception to this whole storing process is “shelf-stable” sausages. These are meant to last long, even if they are not refrigerated. So, once again, you must check this detail on the packaging.
What About Cooked Sausages?
If you want to store cooked sausages in the refrigerator, you can expect them to be good for three to four days. And if you keep them in the freezer, you can prolong it to about four months.
Typically, cooked sausages are good for up to four days. This is if you keep them in the fridge at about 32 degrees Fahrenheit. If you freeze them, cooked sausages stay fine for two months and maybe even up to three months but you must do it right.
Checking the smell of the sausage is the best way to determine if they are still good for consumption. Sometimes, they also have a little bit of mold or slime on the surface. In that case, you must definitely be discarded.
How to Thaw a Sausage Safely
There are three ways to do this: cold water, microwave, and refrigerator.
- Step 1: You can thaw sausage by placing them in a container filled with cold water while they are still in their packaging.
- Step 2: Leave it in the bowl for 30 to 60 minutes based on the sausage size.
Do not use hot water because it is unsafe and might cause bacteria to grow.
- Step 1: For this, get a microwave-safe plate and place the sausages on it with some gap in between them.
- Step 2: There should be a defrost setting on the microwave. Press the button and let it be for 3-5 minutes.
This is the quickest way to defrost sausages completely. It might make the sausages a little rubbery. So, check them to make sure you’re not overdoing it.
This is another safe way of defrosting a sausage, but you might have to plan ahead.
- Step 1: Keep the sausages wrapped on top of the store’s packaging, as mentioned earlier.
- Step 2: Leave them in the refrigerator, outside the freezer, for about 24 hours. This will defrost them completely.
But once it happens, you must use them within the next couple of days.
Can Sausages Kept in the Freezer Still Go Bad?
Typically, the temperatures in a freezer should make sure that your food doesn’t go bad for a long time. If this happens, either your freezer is not working properly or you bought sausages that were not properly packed, transported or stored in the supermarket. But that’s not your fault.
There are lots of different ways to cook a sausage, but when it comes to storing them, you can do it in the fridge or the freezer. Just make sure you read the label before you decide what to do.