How Long Does Sausage Stay Fresh?
Sausages are delicious and a rich source of protein the whole family can enjoy. They’re perfect for creating a hearty meal when you don’t have much time to prepare, and you can enjoy them for breakfast, in soups or in a simple hot dog bun. The possibilities are endless, which is why it should come as no surprise that sausage sales are on the rise.
You can keep your family healthy by choosing high-quality sausages and storing them correctly until it’s time to cook. You’ll always want to ensure your sausages are fresh before serving them, so you need to know their shelf life. That way, no matter who you’re cooking for, you can always ensure you’re serving the healthiest and most delicious sausages possible — sausages the way they should be. Here are some general guidelines regarding the shelf life of sausages.
What Is the Shelf Life of Sausages?
How long your sausage will stay fresh depends on several factors, including the sell-by date, whether they’re cooked or raw, whether you’ll store them in the fridge or the freezer, and whether you’ve opened the package. The basic guidelines for sausage freshness include the following:
Fresh sausages are sold raw, meaning you should treat them the same as any other perishable item. Raw sausage will stay fresh in the refrigerator for one or two days and in the freezer for one or two months. At room temperature, they will last a maximum of two hours.
You can prolong the life of your fresh sausage by cooking it and storing it. Once you’ve cooked the sausages, they will last three to four days in the fridge and up to four months in the freezer. Store your cooked sausage in an airtight container or tightly wrapped to keep it fresh.
Precooked, “heat and eat” sausages are the perfect option if you need to cook for the family and are short on time. As these sausages are already cooked, they have a longer shelf life. An unopened packet will last up to two weeks in your fridge, but once you open the packaging, you should eat them within a week.
If you keep your sausage in the freezer, there are a few steps you’ll want to take to properly thaw them. You can defrost your sausages by moving them to the fridge, popping them in the microwave or holding them under hot water. If you thaw your sausages in the fridge, you’ll want to use them within one to two days after defrosting. It may take up to 24 hours for your sausage to fully thaw in the fridge. You should cook your sausage immediately if you thaw them in the microwave or by using hot water.
Hard or Dry Sausage
When unopened, you can indefinitely store sausages like salami and pepperoni in the fridge. You can keep them for six weeks at room temperature, such as in your pantry. Once opened, they will stay fresh in the refrigerator for up to three weeks.
How to Tell if Your Sausages Have Gone Bad
If you’ve lost track of time, had a power outage or aren’t sure if your sausage is still edible, look for the following signs:
- Strong or unpleasant odor: A strong or unsavory smell is the first sign your sausage has gone bad. If your sausage has a fish-like, acidic or sour smell, you’ll likely want to throw it away. Cooked sausage often has a rotten smell when it’s gone bad, so even if you bought it precooked, toss it if you notice that smell.
- Color changes: Changes in color are often a giveaway, especially if you see a grey or greenish tinge to your sausages. If your cooked sausage turns brown, you should throw it out.
- Changes in texture: A slimy texture, especially with a loss of color and firmness, probably means your sausage is no longer edible.
- Mold: Mold or any other sign of bacterial growth indicates you should throw your sausages away.
- Cracks or dryness: Cooked sausage that starts to crack or dry out is a sign of losing its moisture. It’s not fresh enough to eat any longer, and you should throw it out.
How to Store Sausages Properly
You can prolong the life of your sausages with correct storage. Taking extra time to focus on storage will keep your sausages safe to eat and maintain that fresh, spicy taste we all love. Keep the following tips and tricks in mind:
- Keep your hands clean and dry: Wash your hands and dry them thoroughly before you handle sausages. It prevents the spread of potentially harmful bacteria. When working with raw meat, always keep it away from other food and wash all surfaces and utensils when finished.
- Keep them in the coldest part of the fridge or freezer: Fridge and freezer temperatures vary. Remember, the ideal temperature to store meat in the refrigerator is 40 degrees Fahrenheit or below.
- Stick to the two-day rule: Always use fresh sausage within two days of buying it. If you plan on using it more than two days from purchase, freeze it.
- Use the correct containers: Whether you are refrigerating or freezing sausages, ensure you use an appropriate container, like an airtight tub or a wrapping suitable for temperatures below zero
- Err on the side of caution: If you’re unsure whether your sausages are safe to eat, throw them away.
How to Tell if a Sausage Is Cooked Properly
There are many different ways to cook and serve sausages and just as many types of sausage around the world. Always cook sausage to a minimum of 160 degrees F to ensure you’ve cooked them through and they are safe to eat.
Undercooking sausage is a common challenge in the kitchen. When cooking sausages, you must ensure you cook them properly to avoid food poisoning or affecting the taste of your food. The tricky thing with sausage is that it might look done on the outside and still be raw or undercooked in the middle.
There are several ways to tell if sausages are cooked through, including the following:
- Check the internal temperature: You can use a meat thermometer to check the temperature of sausages. They are cooked through if they have a temperature of at least 160 degrees F.
- Boil them beforehand: Boiling sausages before frying or grilling them in the oven helps ensure they are cooked through and can also help them retain moisture so they don’t dry out.
Choose Quality Sausage From Premio Foods
If you’re looking for the perfect blend of quality and taste, look no further than Premio Foods. We have more than 40 varieties of sausages, which are excellent for keeping things interesting for family and friends. Whether you’re looking for a quick and delicious meal or want to have some sausages in the freezer for later, browse our incredible products, and we’re sure you’ll find what you’re looking for.
You can check out our recipes for inspiration and find the closest store to buy your Premio Foods sausage and other ingredients. Please reach out with any questions, or respond in the comments with your advice on keeping sausages fresher for longer.