Bacon is a popular item in many homes around the world, with it being so versatile as it can be used across breakfast, lunch and dinner alike. And if you are a lover of bacon, well you are in luck, because yes, you can refreeze bacon! Huzzah! Time to buy as many packets as you can!
Bacon, like all fresh meats, will not last long in your fridge, especially if you have bulk bought a bunch from the shop. Unless you are living in a bacon-eating machine household where it will get wolfed up in no time, you most likely will not have to worry about it going out of date. Regardless, it is a good idea to pop any excess bacon into your freezer for another day and thaw it out when needed. Just thaw it out on the day or the night before. We will talk about the best ways to freeze and refreeze your bacon to ensure that you get the best out of this tasty meat.
Is It Safe?
The general consensus when it comes to refreezing bacon is – yes it is safe, as long as you follow the correct procedure. None of us wishes to suffer from food poisoning, and if you are one of the lucky ones who has yet to be struck down with it, let’s not start today.
If you have thawed out your frozen bacon on the kitchen side for a couple of hours, it is advised to cook it all there and then. When it comes to food safety, if raw meat has been left outside of a fridge or freezer, harmful bacteria will form and multiply rapidly, in fact, bacteria can double every 20 minutes in the right conditions! That will be a lot of bacteria after 2 hours, so cooking it thoroughly will ensure that all harmful bacteria are destroyed. There are moments when it is time to throw your bacon out, where cooking or freezing it will not save it. So throw it away in the trash when that time has come and don’t make yourself ill by cooking gone-off meat.
If you have defrosted your bacon in the fridge, the bacon is still very much safe to stick back in the freezer once you have used what you needed. Bacteria growth is suspended in lower degrees that you will find in your fridge and your bacon will be safe.
Freezing Raw Bacon
When it comes to initially freezing your bacon, on the day you buy it is the best time to do so. It is still fresh and in its peak condition, which will ensure it will last longer if frozen as soon as possible after purchase. Freezing bacon inside its original packaging is a great way to ensure it is as fresh as possible, you just will have to defrost the whole package when it comes to wanting to use it. After you have defrosted, repackage the bacon and throw away the original packaging. Another simple and useful way of packaging your raw bacon is to separate it into smaller portions, whatever you feel is best for you and your needs. Then all you have to do is take that portion out to defrost when needed, and away you go!
If you’re unsure of just how much you want in your portions, you can flash-freeze the bacon on a baking/cookie sheet separate from one another. Once they have frozen, you can chuck them all into one container and take out only what you need without the hassle of them sticking together. This is also a great way of storing your frozen bacon if you don’t want to bother with lots of bags in your freezer. Either way, these are very handy ways of freezing your raw bacon.
If you have already cooked your bacon, it can still be refrozen. You can either store it all together or separately as we discussed previously, it is up to you. Just take it out and defrost when you need it and you are good to go. If you have already included your bacon in a recipe, that you have either decided to batch cook or have some unexpected leftovers of, you can freeze the dish with no issues. When it comes to defrosting a meal that contains meat, just make sure that the dish is piping hot throughout before eating.
So we’ve established that refreezing bacon is safe in the right conditions. Here we will discuss the best ways of doing so.
You’ve finally decided to use the bacon that you have safely stored inside your freezer, but perhaps don’t need all that you have removed. As long as you have defrosted your bacon in the fridge and not out on the side, you can stick it straight back in the freezer. Microwaving your frozen bacon for 30 seconds or so is a super quick way of defrosting. Especially if you’re in a hurry. When repackaging your bacon, store it well to avoid freezer burn. Freezer burn is when bacon has been exposed to air. Freezer bags are great to avoid this, make sure you squeeze out any air before sticking back in the freezer. Freezer burn isn’t necessarily going to be harmful, it just changes the taste and texture of the meat.
Refreezing bacon may mean that the meat will go through some minor changes with its taste and texture. Still, unless you are a bacon connoisseur, you may not even notice. Especially if you keep the number of times you refreeze it to a minimum.
The reason the taste is affected is that when you every time freeze meat, it is absorbing some extra moisture. This in turn will damage the structure of the cells inside the muscle fibers. It may taste saltier than normal, which it technically isn’t, this flavor change is just due to this cellular breakdown.
Water absorption will also affect the texture, due to the ice crystals that form within the bacon. Every time you refreeze bacon, these ice crystals will increase in number, damaging the cell structure and therefore, drying the meat out. Yes, crispy bacon can be dry, but this sort of drying out of the bacon with ice damage will only leave it like you’re chewing dried-out leather. Not so tasty or enjoyable! So just be careful with the number of times you are refreezing, to avoid this problem.
If you have happened to have defrosted your bacon on the counter, rather than the fridge, you can still refreeze it at this stage. All you need to do is to cook the bacon and let it cool before storing it back in the freezer, so that all the bad bacteria has been destroyed during the cooking stage.
It is also recommended, that if you plan to refreeze your bacon, don’t leave it out of the freezer for more than 7 days. At this point, the bacon will have degraded in quality too much for it to be considered safe to eat.
Refreezing cooked and uncooked bacon has the exact same procedure when it comes to storing it. Try and avoid that freezer burn and aim to defrost it in the fridge so you can safely refreeze it at a later stage.
Shelf life of frozen bacon
Bacon that has been frozen straight away after purchase and in its original packaging, can last up to 9 months. Which is a very considerable shelf life! If it has already been opened before freezing, this shelf life will decrease to 6 months, and if it is cooked, only 1-2 months. If you have bulk-bought that bacon, just make sure you can use it within a recommended timeline, regardless of how you store it.
So refreezing bacon is definitely an option. Just remember to follow these simple rules –
- Make sure you follow the correct procedure when it comes to freezing the first time and refreezing thereafter. Defrost in the fridge and not on the side to ensure bacteria growth is stunted and therefore won’t have the chance to ruin your meat. If you don’t, follow the 2-hour rule and cook the meat thoroughly.
- Store correctly in airtight freezer bags when in the freezer to help against freezer burn.
- Avoid refreezing too often so you don’t ruin the flavor or texture.
- Never leave the bacon out of the freezer for over 7 days. Refreeze it as soon as possible to help extend its shelf life.
- Always follow the recommended guidelines for shelf-life whilst storing bacon, no longer than 9 months max if stored in its original packaging. Always check with your supplier.
And happy cooking and refreezing!