Can You Cook Bacon Past the Use by Date if It's Frozen?

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You can cook and eat frozen bacon after the use-by date on the pack. But you should only cook the meat if it was frozen before the use-by date, and no longer than seven days after you bought it, advises to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. You should also avoid cooking bacon that has been sitting in the freezer drawer for months. Bacon doesn't freeze well, and so the meat could be unpleasant or even dangerous.

Bacon, Meet Freezer

  • Bacon's high fat and salt content make it unsuitable for long-term freezing. But, bacon will freeze safely for one month, according to Foodsafety.gov. After that, the bacon will turn rancid, and the salt content only serves to speed this process up. The National Center for Home Food Preservation suggests unopened bacon will last in the freezer for up to three months, but the quality will turn much worse after the first month.

Wrap it Right

  • Ideally, frozen bacon will still be in the original sealed pack and wrapped in another layer of foil. Unopened bacon tends to freeze in better condition and for longer than opened bacon. When freezing opened bacon, remove it from the store pack immediately and place in an airtight freezer bag. If your bacon has been open for some time in the refrigerator, it's best not to freeze it.

A Thaw Spot

  • If you're cooking frozen bacon, you'll need to defrost it first. The safest way to do so is to leave the bacon in the refrigerator overnight. Set the package in a saucer to catch any water. The bacon will then last for a further seven days. If you will eat the bacon immediately, microwave or cold water defrosting offer fast alternatives. Make sure you cook and eat the bacon as soon as it's defrosted, as both methods can speed up bacterial activity, and in the case of microwaves, partly cook the meat.

Time to Trash

  • Sometimes you come across a pack of bacon at the back of the freezer and have no idea how long it's been there. While it's safest to discard the meat, telltale signs will let you know if the bacon has gone bad. If it smells rancid, has turned gray or is slimy, throw it out. That bacon will taste nasty, and could make you sick.

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