Freezer Space and "Uncured" Food

Posted on Mar 25, 2020 by Jack McCann
Tags: article newsletter handbook

This may be shocking to hear at first, but: The packaged brats, bacon, sausages and deli meats in the store are up to 60 days old when you buy them. They are safe at refrigerator temperatures due to being stored in a vacuum package (without oxygen) and the nitrates that are in the food.

Yes, typically up to 60 days so long as that seal isn't broken.

So if you are running tight on freezer space with your TC Farm delivery or are stocking up for spring grilling season or any other reason right now, plan on putting some of your "uncured" products in the coldest part of your fridge. I might not plan on waiting two months, maybe shoot for 30-45 days for the best quality.

Remember once that seal is broken, you need to treat it just like any other leftover.

Just make sure the package is still fully sealed and it is labeled as "uncured" AND contains celery powder on the ingredient list.

With some very few exceptions, every inspected smoked or pre-cooked product like this has SOME nitrates, just not synthetic ones. We (and they) are required to use naturally occurring nitrates in celery powder for most items to meet Minnesota / USDA's requirements related to food safety.

Some of our "uncured" items do NOT have celery powder and these will not last as long in the fridge.

These will NOT last in your fridge for 45 days. I would keep them frozen and just thaw a few days ahead of time like any other pre-cooked food.

Examples of this which do NOT have any celery nitrates include:

  • Herb Bacon
  • Jamaican brats
  • Bockwurst
  • Bratwurst (traditional WI style)
  • Rosemary
  • Pork/Beef/Chicken deli items that have sea salt as the only ingredient

While these items can remain unopened in your fridge for a couple of weeks, it is best to keep these items in your freezer until you plan to use them within the next 5 days.

You may notice that some of our packages of uncured items say "Keep Frozen" on them. I called the family that makes our sausages to ask about why some say this. She said that it really should just say "keep frozen or refrigerated". We hope that can be updated in the future.

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