There’s an easy way to store leftover pepperoni sausage so it lasts for months. Here’s how to freeze pepperoni correctly and safely.
What do you do with the leftover homemade or store-bought pepperoni so you can enjoy it later? Pepperoni is delicious, but it can go bad quickly if you don’t store it properly.
Freezing pepperoni is not as simple as freezing any other food. The trick is in the preparation before freezing pepperoni sausage.
Follow these steps to freeze pepperoni safely and effectively, ensuring your favorite snack will be there when you need it!
How Long Does Pepperoni Last?
Pepperoni, being meat, doesn’t have an indefinite shelf life. It goes bad after some time. So this means that you need to be wary about how long you have before you need to throw it out. Pepperoni is air-dried sausage. It is cured meat that has nitrates and salts. These ingredients keep pepperoni sausage preserved, and as such, you find there isn’t much need to keep it refrigerated before you open it.
The way that you store pepperoni sausage also determines its shelf life. You can keep pepperoni sausage at room temperature, such as in the pantry before you open it for about a month or six weeks. You can also keep pepperoni in the refrigerator indefinitely. This is why this is one of the more common and favored methods. This is before you open it. Pepperoni goes bad at different rates, also depending on whether it has been opened or not.
Once you have opened the sausage, then you will have less time to store it. After it has been opened, you have about three weeks to keep it edible, making sure to store it in the fridge. Check on the package and see what the expiration date is before you buy the sausage. You may also notice that the package has a label that advises you to keep the sausage refrigerated after it is opened. This isn’t just for decoration. Follow these instructions.
While these times and window periods may serve as a guideline, they are not a hard and fast rule. You may still be able to eat the pepperoni after the said window periods, but you should be prepared for a taste difference and texture.
Can You Freeze Pepperoni?
The long and short of this matter is yes, You can freeze pepperoni sausage. It is one of the best ways to keep fresh for a much more extended period than when kept at room temperature. For this method to be effective, You must keep it at a consistent temperature of 0˚C. You want to keep your opened pepperoni away from air. So if you have opened your pepperoni, make sure to keep it well away from air and to keep it in the fridge.
The downside with freezing pepperoni is that there’s a possibility that you may lose some taste and texture when you thaw it out if you keep it for too long. As such, some brands advise against it. It’s a matter of deciding which is the better devil, loss in quality, or a reduction in shelf life.
How to Freeze Pepperoni
Make Sure Your Pepperoni Is Safe to Freeze
While pepperoni may seem like it’s the same thing, brands and manufacturers differ. And sometimes the ingredients are not safe to freeze. It is essential to check the label to see if freezing is something that you can do safely.
One way to tell if you can or can’t freeze your pepperoni is to check the sell-by date. At times, you may not see one. Ask the person selling it. It may have been packaged at the store, and labeling wasn’t as thorough.
You may also want to physically check on the pepperoni and see if there are any signs of rot on the sausage. So this means before you buy the sausage, make sure it is still good. You may take a little extra time at the deli section, but it will be worth it and better than getting home with sausage that is on its last legs.
How to Prepare It
You must prepare your pepperoni correctly for freezing. Think ahead and be clear about what you will want to use the sausage for. So, for instance, if you are more likely to be using it as slices, then slice it up first before freezing it. If you will need chunkier pieces, then cut them up as such.
Apportion the pepperoni into sizes that you are likely to use at a time. This way, you avoid thawing out more than you need. Once pepperoni has been thawed out, you cannot refreeze it and still expect to have the same texture and taste. Also, prepare labels that you are going to put on the packets when you have packaged them. this will help you keep a tab on when you packed it and when it is set to expire.
What Container to Use
To effectively freeze pepperoni, you must keep it away from the air. An airtight container will do a splendid job of keeping the air out and locking in the freshness. Also, using parchment paper can help you keep air out. You can do this by individually wrapping the sausage before putting it in ziplock bags or airtight containers.
Make sure the container or bag that you use is freezer safe. You can ensure that there is no air in the packaging by using a kitchen vacuum sealer.
How Long Can You Freeze Pepperoni?
Pepperoni can be frozen for about three months, and you would still be guaranteed. This is only if it is stored the right way.
How to Defrost Pepperoni
Now that you know how to freeze pepperoni, it only follows that you think about the best way to defrost it. This way, you’re not left in the lurch. The good news is that it’s not complicated. Simply remove the pepperoni from the deep freeze, and allow it to thaw in the fridge overnight. Once it has fully defrosted, use it within 24 hours.
How to Tell if Pepperoni Has Gone Bad
While You can extend the shelf life of pepperoni, it will eventually go bad. Also, you need to know the various signs of when it is going bad. Often, pepperoni that is going bad will have a foul odor. It may also be a bit slimy, especially if it is sliced. Slime, along with odor, should be enough for you to throw it out.