Picture this: it’s Saturday morning. You make a home-cooked breakfast featuring eggs, bacon, and pancakes. The remaining bacon goes into a zip-up plastic bag.
But then, you go to make a bacon sandwich that Friday morning before work to reward yourself for a job well done this week, and now your bacon is grey and slimy-looking! What happened? Shouldn’t it have stayed good since you placed it in the zip-up bag?
We will discuss the three reasons why your bacon looks grey and how to avoid this when storing future opened bacon packages.
The Signs That Your Bacon Is Spoiled
Spoiled bacon may turn grey, brown, green, or a combination of all these colors. Discoloration means that fungi and other bacteria started growing on your bacon.
The discoloration should be the immediate sign to throw out your bacon. Smelling it will double confirm your decision to discard it because discolored bacon will have a rotten odor.
3 Reasons Why Your Bacon Looks Grey
Now that we know how the signs of your bacon being spoiled, let’s highlight the reasons why it turns grey in the first place.
Let’s talk about the plastic zip-up bag storage method. It exposes too much air to your bacon. Even if you have airtight zip-up bags, there is a chance that any air not pressed out of the bag will cause your bacon to spoil more quickly.
The Curing Process
If you cooked your unspoiled product and the bacon looks grey, this means that the company utilized nitrates and salt to cure it before packaging. So don’t be alarmed in this case.
Continue to cook the bacon until it becomes a light or darker brown color, which signifies fully cooked bacon. Next, grab a meat thermometer to check that it has been cooked thoroughly. If it reads at least 145 degrees Fahrenheit (or 62.8 degrees Celsius), this means the bacon is fully cooked.
It is Past the Expiration Date
You may have only just used the new package of bacon a few days ago, and now it’s turned grey. Check the expiration date on the package. Even if the bacon is three to seven or more days past the sell-by date, it’s best to discard it and grab a new package from the store.
How To Avoid Grey Bacon in Your Fridge
A TikToker complained recently about how there is no way to zip up a bag of Oscar Meyer bacon after she only wanted to cook a couple of pieces for herself.
Bacon companies innovating their packaging would be a great start to lessening how many times Americans have to deal with grey bacon in their fridges. But for now, here are some ways to avoid grey bacon.
If you have leftover raw bacon, wrap it up tightly in tin foil or place the bacon slices inside in an airtight container. Either method will block out any air that can get to the bacon and cause bacteria to form before you are ready to cook more later in the week. Store in the fridge or the freezer, depending on when you plan to cook up bacon next.
For the tin foil method, break off a piece large enough to wrap around the bacon package. Be sure the tin foil has tightly adhered to the packaging. For extra reassurance, wrap and other pieces of tin foil that’s the same size around the already wrapped-up package.
Another way to block out air from getting to your bacon and making it spoil too quickly is to place it in an airtight container instead of a zip-up plastic bag.
Remove the bacon slices from the packaging and place them directly into a wide airtight container so that the pieces lay flat. Push down on the lid to reassure all air is blocked out from the container.
Use the Bacon Sooner Rather Than Later if Refrigerated
If you decide to store bacon back in the fridge rather than the freezer, use it sooner rather than later. While it can stay good for up to a week in the fridge, maybe try using it within two to three days of opening to be on the safer side.
Bacon can act as a garnish on a savory dish or even be crumbled up as a crunchy element for a salad. Make a sweet and savory treat by dipping bacon into melted chocolate, letting it harden, and enjoying it as a snack after a meal.
Frequently Asked Questions
Now that you know why your bacon looks grey, here are some answers to your frequently asked questions about storing bacon correctly to give you more information.
How long can bacon stay fresh in the fridge?
As long as an open package of bacon is stored correctly in the fridge, you can keep it for one week from opening it.
Can I eat the grey bacon I am trying to cook before the best-by date on the package?
If it is before the best-by date on the package and your bacon has turned grey, do not risk it! The discoloration and foul smells are signs of spoilage, which can make you very sick if you attempt to cook it up and eat it.
What is the proper temperature for storing bacon in the fridge?
The USDA states that you can keep bacon stored in the fridge at no more than 40 degrees Fahrenheit.
How long does raw bacon last in the freezer?
Store your bacon in the freezer with either of the recommended storage methods above for up to two months. Freezing bacon will preserve it from its original raw state so that it does not go bad as quickly as storing it in the fridge.
However, if you see a freezer burn on the bacon at any time when it is stored in the freezer, it’s best to discard it and get a new package.