Salami. It’s the heart and soul of any Italian sub and a tasty topping on pizzas as well. This versatile deli meat is a widely loved classic that is an excellent addition to almost any Italian-inspired dish.
Salami comes from humble beginnings. It was very popular among peasants in Europe, particularly in Southern, Eastern and Central Europe. This was because it’s a cured meat, giving it a long shelf-life. This was particularly beneficial when other fresh meats were in short supply. Before refrigeration was invented, cured meats that remained edible for long periods of time allowed people to stock up.
However, even though it’s cured to extend its shelf-life, salami sadly doesn’t last forever. Nowadays, of course, we can make things last even longer with refrigeration. So what to do if you’ve got more than you know what to do with? Can you freeze salami? The good news is yes – you can!
In this article I’ll answer some frequently asked questions about storing salami. I’ll also show you how you can keep your salami fresher and tastier for longer.
Can Salami Go Bad?
In short, yes and no. The way salami is cured allows it to stay good for a longer period of time. This is mainly because of the salt and acidity. However this does not mean that it’s perfectly good indefinitely.
Being “good” and “going bad” can be different things. Salt and acidity can keep sealed dry salami from spoiling almost forever. However, it will continue to get harder and drier perhaps to the point that it is not practically edible.
Salami will only be harmful, rather than unappetizing, if it’s been left opened or sliced and left out. This exposes is it to bacteria which can contribute to food poisoning if eaten.
How Long Does Salami Last?
If you’re hoping to keep salami good, you should take note of a couple of things. It can last for varying lengths of time depending on the conditions it’s stored under.
According to the USDA If you keep it whole and in the fridge, it can last pretty much indefinitely. However its texture will change with time, becoming harder the longer you leave it.
If you keep salami whole and in the pantry, unrefrigerated, it can last up to 6 weeks.
How Long Does Salami Last in the Fridge?
When I was growing up, we would always keep a big stick of salami in the fridge, opened or unopened. So I suppose I am a bit biased towards this storage method! The truth is though that it does keep your salami better for longer. How long salami lasts in the fridge is impacted by whether it has been opened or not.
If unopened, salami can last much, much longer. If you keep it below 40 degrees Fahrenheit, it can last indefinitely. However as I said before, it will continue to harden and dry out the longer it is kept.
If you’re not sure exactly when you’re going to eat it, it is best to buy a whole, unopened salami. That way you can keep it until a deep craving for fresh salami hits!
Salami being opened can mean a couple of different things. Either an entire stick of salami that you began to cut yourself, or pre-sliced salami from the store. If this is the case then it can stay good in the fridge for 3 weeks.
Another option, kind of between the two others, is a stick of salami in its casing that has been cut in half but then resealed in its packaging. This is a bit tricky because small bits of oxygen can be in the packaging. Since it’s not entirely encased like unopened salami, the meat will start to slowly degrade. If this is the case then you should pay attention to the “use-by” date on the package. Beyond this date, throw it out to be on the safe side.
If there’s no date on the package, you should stick to the 3 week cut-off for eating the salami.
How Long Can Salami Sit Out?
Whether it is a part of a charcuterie board, or maybe you just forgot to put it in the fridge, salami may be sitting out for a couple of reasons but it is good to know how long that can be left in such conditions.
If the salami isn’t opened then it can sit out for a longer period of time than if it has been opened. Since it is shelf-stable it does not need to be refrigerated. It is recommended that it can be stored safely in your pantry for up to 6 weeks.
Contrary to when it is unopened, salami acts like any other perishable food once it has been opened as it allows for bacteria to grow on the surface of the food. So, because of this, it should not be left out unrefrigerated longer than 2 hours.
How to Freeze Salami
While salami is certainly more durable than most foods; unless it is kept unopened and refrigerated, it will eventually reach a point where it should have been eaten or disposed of.
To avoid any waste you can freeze salami to extend its life. There are a few things to keep in mind when doing so, however.
First, you should cut the salami into portions that you can retrieve from the freezer one (or two) at a time. This is because, like most things that are frozen, you should avoid thawing and refreezing salami pieces.By keeping them in portions you can only take and defrost what you need.
The next thing to keep in mind is that your salami should be well sealed. You should double wrap it in plastic film to keep the moisture in as much as possible to prevent it from getting dry. If you have a vacuum sealer then it is even better.
Lastly, you should refrigerate dry salami before preparing it for the freezer. If it is at room temperature when you cut and wrap it, it can become discolored when the temperature drops towards 32 degrees.
Another thing to keep in mind is that it should be frozen as soon as possible. Avoid waiting until the opened salami is getting towards the end of its lifespan to freeze it.
How Long Can you Keep Salami in the Freezer?
Since salami can stay good pretty much indefinitely outside of the freezer, it is best to only freeze sliced or portioned salami that has already been opened. If this is indeed the case then it can last between 1-2 months in the freezer.
How to Defrost Frozen Salami
Of course, freezing salami is only good if you know how to properly defrost it. Like most other foods, the best way to defrost salami is by leaving it in the fridge until it has thawed.
The next best method is to submerge it in water until it is soft. But, unless the water with the salami is in the fridge, be careful how long it sits out. If it defrosts and reaches room temperature for more than 2 hours it may be bad to eat due to bacterial growth.
The worst way to defrost salami is by the microwave. This is because since it is a deli-style meat, you generally don’t want to eat it warm and the microwave defrost function can quickly warm the salami more than you would like. I recommend that you only use the microwave if you are very short on time and to keep a close eye on it to prevent it from cooking in the microwave.
How to Tell if Salami Has Gone Bad
Unfortunately, despite its durability, you may still need to check if your salami has gone bad.
The classic tell-tale signs of bad salami are its appearance and smell. If it smells bad, or it has developed a slimy film and looks unappetizing then it is bad and it should be placed in the bin.
Hopefully, though such a tragedy can be avoided and you can enjoy your delicious salami before it goes bad or you can freeze it in a timely manner using the tips provided!