There is a timeline for how long deli meat can last. However, this also depends on the quality of storage. On the whole, unopened deli meat lasts a lot longer than opened lunch meat. Equally, there are several types of deli meats and they sometimes have different shelf lives.
More on the shelf life of deli meats and a few other related subjects will be discussed in this Meat Abolition health post. Keep reading to be better informed on the best ways to store your deli best for longevity.
Factors that Determine How Long Your Deli Meat Will Remain Good
Your deli meat cuts are very helpful because you can quickly use them for a wide range of foods. You do not want your deli meat to go bad. Understanding how long they can remain intact will help. Here are a few factors that determine how long your salami, pepperoni, ham, beef, turkey, pork deli meat, and other deli meat options would last:
Packaged or Sliced
Some people like or buy sliced deli cuts rather than processed ones. Freshly sliced deli meats do not stay as long as packaged ones. They can stay intact for at least 3 days, but no longer than 5 days in the fridge (refrigerator). The timeline is extended if it is packaged. It can stay intact for about 2 weeks in this state.
Opened or Unopened
The shelf life of deli meats is greatly reduced when the package is unwrapped. So, you shouldn’t be stiff-neck about its expiry date if you have opened it. If you have, it could go bad anytime after 5 days in the fridge. Deli meat can last 2 weeks in the fridge if it is not unwrapped.
Deli meat is best stored at low temperatures. Make sure to store it in a cold environment to keep its quality intact for as long as it can remain intact. Speaking of a cold environment, you either store it in a refrigerator or freezer.
Freezing your deli meat does extend its shelf life more than keeping it in the refrigerator. Your lunch meat can stay good for up to 2 months if you freeze it at a temperature of zero degrees Fahrenheit or lower. Also, freezer wraps would need to be put to good use to make sure the lunch meat lasts this long. This is especially when you need to refreeze your meat.
On the contrary, deli meat can stay intact 2 weeks in the refrigerator if it is not opened. The time is reduced to 3 to 5 days if you have opened it.
Point of Purchase
A deli meat product may not have been properly handled and stored before purchase. This would affect shelf life when it is finally purchased.
So, make sure to get your deli meat from a trusted source any time the need arises. This is especially with freshly sliced cuts.
Tips on How to Detect Spoiled Deli Meat
Some of the signs suggesting that your deli meat is bad and that you should not eat it include:
- Discoloration – Check especially the edges as they give in to discoloration first
- Weird Smell – This could be a sour, stale, or smelly odor
- Moisture on the surface – The surface is wet and somewhat slippery
These are three possible signs suggesting your deli meat has gone bad. Such food is not safe to eat and you should dispose of it.