Grey Bacon? Here’s Why and How to Fix It

Grey bacon can indicate spoilage due to bacteria growth; reasons include air exposure, curing process, and expiration date. Store bacon properly to avoid discoloration and potential health risks.

bacon looks grey

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? 

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Air Exposure Causes Gray Bacon

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 Cabn Cause Gray Bacon

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 Can Cause Gray Bacon

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. 

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. 

My bacon is grey but smells fine?

When bacon turns grey, it’s often a sign that it’s starting to spoil. However, if it still smells fine, it could be safe to consume. Always check for any off odors or sliminess before cooking, as these are clearer indicators of spoilage. Cook thoroughly before eating.

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. 

Storage Method

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. 

Tin Foil

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. 

Airtight Container

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. 

Is it OK to eat Discoloured bacon?

It is not okay to eat discolored bacon. If the bacon appears iridescent or shows any signs of discoloration, it is recommended to discard it immediately as it may indicate bacterial growth.

Is slightly GREY bacon OK?

Slightly grey bacon is still safe to consume as long as it retains its natural pink color, with the fat appearing white or yellow. However, if the bacon has turned brown or grey with a hint of green or blue, it has already spoiled. This change in color occurs due to a chemical reaction caused by excessive exposure to air.

Is bacon bad if it turns gray?

Bacon is considered bad if it turns gray. If your bacon has turned green, gray, or brown after being stored in the refrigerator for a week, it indicates the presence of bacteria and/or fungi. Therefore, it is advisable to discard the bacon in such cases.

What does oxidized bacon look like?

Oxidized bacon looks like bacon that has green, gray, or brown discoloration, mold spots, or a slimy texture. It is important to check the “sell by” or “use by” date on the bacon’s packaging and consume it before the “use by” date or within 7 days after the “sell by” date to avoid spoiled bacon.

What color is mold on bacon?

The color of mold on bacon can vary, with small areas appearing white, black, or green. These colors are signs that the bacon is no longer safe to consume. Ideally, bacon should retain its original appearance from when it was purchased, which includes being pink or red, bright, and having white or yellow streaks.

How long does cooked bacon last in fridge?

The cooked bacon will last in the fridge for about 4-5 days, and if you freeze it, it can stay fresh for up to a month. Additionally, the bacon grease can be refrigerated for 6 months or frozen for 9 months before it starts to taste sour.

Is it bad to eat rare bacon?

It is not recommended to eat rare bacon because it poses a higher risk of food poisoning. Bacon is salt-cured meat taken from the belly of a pig. It is important to cook bacon thoroughly to ensure safety. However, be cautious not to overcook it, as excessive cooking can lead to the formation of carcinogens.

How can you tell if bacon has gone bad?

You can determine if bacon has gone bad by observing its appearance. Rancid bacon will no longer have its characteristic red color, instead appearing brown, gray, or greenish with a faded hue. Additionally, it will emit an unpleasant smell and may become sticky or slimy.

How long after eating bad bacon will I get sick?

You may get sick from eating bad bacon within a range of time. The onset of food poisoning symptoms can vary, typically occurring between 1 to 3 days after consumption. However, it is also possible for symptoms to manifest anywhere from 30 minutes to 3 weeks after consuming contaminated food.

What does bacon look like when it’s done?

Bacon looks fully cooked when its color changes from light pink to light brown, gradually darkening and acquiring a reddish hue when exposed to heat. Once the meat layers of the bacon turn brown, it can be considered done. You can continue cooking the bacon slices until they reach the desired level of crispiness.

How do you store bacon after opening?

The bacon should be stored in the refrigerator’s meat drawer after opening. To do this, tightly wrap the opened package in plastic film or Press N Seal, then wrap it in heavy aluminum foil. After that, place the wrapped bacon in a zip-top bag and make sure to mark it with the date it was opened. By following these steps, the bacon can be safely stored in the refrigerator for 4 to 5 days.

Does sealed bacon go bad?

Sealed bacon does not go bad if stored properly. Unopened bacon can last for approximately two weeks in the refrigerator and up to eight months in the freezer. Once the package is opened, uncooked bacon remains good for about a week if stored in a sealed container. If sealed in an airtight plastic bag and kept in the freezer, the bacon can last for approximately a month.

Is it OK to eat GREY bacon?

It is not okay to eat grey bacon. If your bacon has turned green, grey, or brown after being stored in the refrigerator for a week, it means that bacteria and/or fungi have grown on it. Therefore, it is necessary to discard the bacon.

Why does bacon turn yellow?

Bacon turns yellow because it has been exposed to smoke, resulting in the yellow coloration of the rind. This occurs when the bacon is sliced and one strip gets attached to a single piece of the rind instead of being distributed in smaller bits on the other strips. Rest assured, the yellowed bacon is safe to consume.

How long is sealed bacon grease good for?

Sealed bacon grease is good for approximately three months when refrigerated. It is recommended to check the smell before using it, as it may become rancid over time. Alternatively, bacon fat can be stored indefinitely in the freezer.

Is bacon still good when it turns brown?

When bacon turns brown, it is no longer safe to consume. Bacon that has its natural pink color with white or yellow fat is still good to eat. However, if the bacon has turned brown or gray and has a tinge of green or blue, it has already spoiled. The change in color occurs due to a chemical reaction in the meat caused by excessive exposure to air.

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