There’s nothing like a good package of salami to fill in the blanks of a perfect charcuterie tray.
Whether you’re looking for a last-minute sandwich or you want a cheese board that really impresses the masses, salami is a deli meat you’ve got to consider. It’s versatile, it’s delicious, and it lasts for quite some time in the refrigerator.
If you have some salami in your refrigerator and you aren’t sure how long it’s been in there, you might be asking yourself, “can you freeze salami slices?”
The short answer is that yes, you can – however, there are a few things you’ll want to keep in mind first.
What Exactly is Salami?
Salami is a deli staple made out of cured sausage that’s fermented and air-dried. Usually, it will be made out of pork. It can be stored at room temperature for quite some time, which is why it is such a popular choice for people who are on a budget.
This meat has a marbled appearance and can also be made out of beef, which is common in halal and kosher dishes. You can also make salami out of turkey and venison. Other ingredients in this meat include garlic, salt, minced fat, spices like white pepper, vinegar, wine, and herbs.
Usually, the salami maker will ferment the meat mixture when it’s still raw, letting it ferment for about one day before stuffing it inside an edible or inedible cellulose casing. Here, it will be hung up for curing.
There are several types of salami. Although the shelf life and storage instructions for each may vary, they are more or less the same.
Popular types of salami include:
- Winter salami
Can Salami Be Frozen?
Similar to freezing lunch meats, salami can easily be frozen. You will want to take a few precautions in order to do so.
When wrapped well and securely to prevent dryness or moisture build-up, salami can be stashed in the freezer for long term storage. It will usually last for about six months when stored this way.
How To Wrap Salami for Freezing
To freeze your salami, start by double-wrapping it. Lay it flat in the original packaging and then put it in a separate freezer-seal bag. Press out the air. Although it’s not absolutely necessary, a vacuum sealer can work wonders at helping to keep your food fresh in the freezer.
Freezing salami works well in extending the longevity of your meat. It may change the texture ever so slightly, but it won’t change the taste or safety. Just keep in mind that you won’t want to refreeze salami, as this can really impact the texture in a negative way.
To avoid having to refreeze any of the salami, separate it by a few slices apiece into several freezer bags. That way, you won’t have to freeze the entire package all at once but you can instead have small amounts ready to go whenever you need them.
You can freeze both an entire log of salami or individual cold cuts. These instructions also apply to pepperoni, which is a type of salami made out of a combination of beef and pork and then dyed with paprika for the curing process.
What is the Shelf Life of Salami?
Salami lasts for six months in the freezer, but it also has an impressive shelf life in the refrigerator, especially when compared to other deli meats shelf life. Here, it will last as long as six weeks.
Just make sure you dispose of any salami that looks discolored or smells off. This is especially important if your salami has been opened, as it will allow bacteria to settle in. If the salami has been opened and sitting in the refrigerator ever since, you’ll want to limit it to a week within the refrigerator before tossing it.
Pepperoni can also be stored in the refrigerator for a couple of weeks. If the salami is strong-smelling and you don’t want it to stink up your refrigerator, you can put it on the counter at room temperature. Cover it loosely and don’t keep it out for more than five days (less if the room is hot).
How to Store Salami
Salami can be stored on the counter for a few days if necessary – just make sure you keep it loosely covered. You can also stash it in the refrigerator for several weeks at a time, but you’ll need to make sure you package it correctly to prevent any unnecessary spoilage.
Salami needs to breathe and can easily become dried out. This is why many butchers and deli shops choose to hang their salami on drying racks.
Of course, you don’t need to have your own drying rack at home in order to be able to do this. All you need is a bit of wax or butcher paper. You can also use any kind of plastic bag. Vacuum sealing is the preferred method of choice for many people since it removes all traces of unwanted air.
Salami can sit out for a while but make sure it stays wrapped in wax paper or butcher paper. It’s important to note that you can only do this with dry salami, and even then, it can dry out quickly as it sweats.
You can keep salami in the freezer for up to six months. For optimal freshness, however, it’s recommended that you only stash it in the freezer for one to two months.
To defrost salami, the best way to do so is to leave it in the refrigerator overnight. This way, your salami will be less likely to develop dangerous microorganisms that can cause various foodborne illnesses.
You can also thaw salami in your microwave, but you’ll need to watch it closely. Microwaves cook food rapidly, so if you want to defrost in this fashion, you will need to be vigilant. Another option is to dip the package of salami in cool water. Just never refreeze previously thawed salami.
There are plenty of other deli meats you can freeze, too. Just about any kind of deli meat can be frozen, although some may be wet when you defrost them. The easiest meats to freeze include cured meats like bologna and salami. You can also freeze things like chicken, ham, and roasted turkeys, but since they have more water, they might be a bit soggy when you thaw them.
Sliced salami should be stored in wax paper. Simply tape it closed or place the wrapped salami inside a plastic bag. It can be stored in the refrigerator for three to five days if it’s soft, or up to two weeks if it’s hard salami.
It takes a long time for salami to go bad, and for the most part, it’s considered shelf-stable. However, this applies only to unopened salami. The longer it sits out unopened, the higher the likelihood is that it’s going to go bad. If it hasn’t been opened yet, it can last up to six weeks.
After that point, you’ll know your salami has gone bad if it changes color. Brown and gray colors are a sure sign that your salami is no longer safe to eat. You might also notice that it has developed mold, black fuzz, or an odd, lingering odor. All of these are signs to give the salami the old heave-ho.
See more: Genoa salami vs hard salami
*Photo by igorr1/depositphotos