As the main ingredient in many recipes, you can enrich your homemade pizza and calzone with fatty pepperoni meat.
Most recipes only call for a few slices. You’ll have plenty left if you buy the whole stick. And you might be wondering: Does pepperoni go bad?
While shopping for ingredients to use in your Italian-style pizza, maybe you came across refrigerated pepperoni sticks. And now you’re wondering if pepperoni needs to be refrigerated.
Don’t worry. Today, we’ll be talking about how to tell if your pepperoni has gone bad, how to store pepperoni, and how long you can expect your pepperoni to last.
Want the answer and fast? Whatever type of pepperoni you have, you need to watch for signs of rancidity (a bad smell and a bitter taste). Plus, the best rule of thumb is to eat your opened pepperoni within 5-7 days and store it in the refrigerator.
How To Tell If Your Pepperoni Is Off?
You can quickly check a few signs to find out if your pepperoni has gone bad or not.
- Changes In Appearance: You can check for any changes in appearance. Any signs of slime or discolorations on the surface should be enough for you to toss the pepperoni in the trash.
- Unusual Smells: You can check for any distinctive odor. If it smells putrid or rancid (rotten), then it’s time for you to chuck your pepperoni away. The rancid smell means the fats in your pepperoni have been oxidized by the air.
- Slimy or Sticky: If your sausage feels sticky or slimy, then you will be wise to get rid of it.
- Change in Taste: If all the signs above are okay, you can cut a pepperoni slice and give it a try. You can use it if it tastes good. Otherwise, chuck it away.
If the pepperoni is not wrapped correctly and left open, the surface will dry out and change color, as the rancidification process will have quickened.
However, rancidity isn’t dangerous – it’s just not nice to eat! – so just cut out the bad part and enjoy the rest.
How To Store Your Pepperoni For A Longer Life
Your pepperoni will only be shelf-stable (able to be stored at room temperature indefinitely) if it’s been through a dry-cure process. With specific moisture levels and salt addition, meat is made shelf-stable.
You can also keep your pepperoni stored at room temperature – somewhere like a cool, dry, dark pantry or kitchen cabinet – if it’s not stored in the chilled section at the grocery store.
If it’s sold refrigerated at the store, follow suit and store your pepperoni in your refrigerator, whether opened or unopened.
Can’t remember whether your pepperoni was sold in the chilled or regular section? Check the label, or just opt for the safe bet: the refrigerator.
Now: When you open the pepperoni sticks for use, then you should wrap the leftovers up tightly in cling film and store them in the refrigerator. If you don’t protect your pepperoni from the air, it’ll absorb smells from your fridge and dry out.
What’s the bottom line?
Once you have opened the pepperoni sticks, you should always keep the leftover sausages in a refrigerator.
The good news: once you know how to store pepperoni, you basically know how to store any deli meat.
How Long Is Pepperoni’s Shelf Life?
You might be wondering: Do refrigerated and unrefrigerated pepperoni have the same shelf lives?
Simple Answer: No! They don’t.
If you store refrigerated pepperoni sticks properly, the quality should last a few days past the sell-by date. If you have opened the packing, you should use them within three weeks.
On the other hand, unrefrigerated pepperoni lasts longer. Your sausages will retain their quality better because they are preserved, either through ingredients or production methods.
Usually, you’ll find the best-by date on the unrefrigerated sticks. If you have opened the package, then you can get away with storing your pepperoni a few days past the best-by date.
But you can easily secure two more weeks of shelf-life by storing the unrefrigerated sticks in the fridge.
If you have opened the pepperoni package, it’ll be better to store the leftovers in a refrigerator.
Also, you should consume the slices within 5 to 7 days for the best quality. Any suspicion in smell, taste, and appearance should be enough to chuck it away.