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Why You Shouldn't Store Bacon In Its Original Packaging

A plate of cooked bacon strips
A plate of cooked bacon strips - Handmadepictures/Getty Images

We often keep food in its original packaging without giving it much thought. It's convenient, and these packages are designed to keep food fresh for a while, right? Well, that's true for most foods, but when it comes to one breakfast favorite — smoked bacon — the story is different.

The bacon you pick up at the grocery store usually comes in a sealed plastic bag, meant to protect it from exposure to oxygen. As long as you don't open it, this packaging can keep your bacon safe in the fridge for up to two weeks. However, once you open that bag, its shelf life drops to just one week in the fridge, possibly even less.

Oxygen speeds up the spoilage process because it provides an ideal environment for harmful bacteria to thrive. Since most bacon packages don't have a zipper or resealing feature, it's best to transfer all the leftover bacon strips to an airtight container or a Ziploc bag once you've opened them. Putting them back into their original packaging may cause the meat to lose its flavor and eventually turn into spoiled bacon much quicker than you may expect!

Read more: The Best Meat For Your Charcuterie Board Isn't One You'd Expect

Freezing Can Keep Bacon Fresh For Weeks

Close-up of bacon strips out of packaging
Close-up of bacon strips out of packaging - Stefan Tomic/Getty Images

One week isn't nearly long enough to try and use up every strip of bacon if you buy the large value pack and don't plan to have perfectly cooked bacon for breakfast every single day for the next week. Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to keep it fresh beyond the recommended one week in the fridge. If you're thinking about keeping your bacon around for the long haul, freezing is your friend.

According to the USDA, frozen bacon can stay good for up to four months. However, don't just throw the bacon in the freezer in its original packaging. Instead, pop it into a freezer bag or an airtight container to shield the strips from freezer burn. If you get your bacon cuts from a butcher that's not vacuum-sealed and wrapped in paper, you can prepare it for freezing by first wrapping it in plastic wrap to create a protective barrier against oxygen.

Then, wrap it in aluminum foil and tuck the whole bundle into a freezer bag. Now, it's ready for the freezer. When you want to use the bacon, simply take it out of the freezer and transfer it to the fridge for a few hours before you plan to use it. Once it's safely thawed, cook it as you normally would. Defrosted, it'll stay fresh in the fridge for up to seven days. And if you can't finish it all in time, you can safely refreeze it so long as you don't cook it first.

Read the original article on Tasting Table.