Did you recently host a party where you brought too much antipasto or deli meats?
Maybe you want to try out the curing process for yourself?
Today I want to talk about salami meat, the way to store it, and the ideal shelf life.
This is so we can minimize food costs, the waste and understand more about this delicious food.
How Long Is Salami Expected To Last?
I have broken it down into the types and also whether or not it has been cut (exposed to oxygen) as these factors will affect how long it lasts.
Oxygen Exposure To Salami
Before we get into it, we need to ask ourselves the main culprit behind a bad salami.
We want to think of the protective layer of the casing on the sausage as a controlled environment.
If you cut it and expose it to oxygen, the environment is now contaminated with whatever microbes are in the air which will lead to a spoiled salami.
No one wants that!
Exposure to oxygen should be the main focus if wanting to preserve your preserved meat so use an airtight container and proper food storage to mitigate this.
How Long Can Salami Be At Room Temperature?
Fresh & Dry Salami
The USDA has deemed that a whole fresh or dried cured salami that is not exposed to oxygen can last for around 6 weeks.
Cut salami at room temperature is advised to be left no more than 2 hours when exposed to oxygen.
Shorter periods of exposure are okay as long as it is airtight when not being used.
How Long Can Salami Be Stored In The Fridge?
Fresh & Dry Salami
The same as room temperature, whole fresh or dried salami can last in the fridge for up to 6 weeks or more.
According to the USDA, if you store cut salami in an airtight container or plastic wrap in the fridge it can last for around 3 weeks.
Note: Please always have a look at the manufacturer’s use-by date.
What Is Salami?
Salami originated in Italy but today is part of most European diets and with each nation and type of salami comes an infinite number of ingredients of flavor.
Salami originated as a peasant food because it can be stored for long periods without harmful bacteria invading.
The most common type of meat used in salami is pork meat but it can also be made with beef or poultry.
Fun Fact: One of the most popular and basic types of pork salami is the Italian Salami.
These are dry salami and consist of pancetta, prosciutto, and finocchiona.
The Curing Process
Curing is a food preservation technique used for thousands of years. A mixture of salt is added to ground meat or food products which draws out the moisture within the cells.
The salt will also kill any bad bacteria by producing nitrates, stopping them from multiplying and stopping decomposing. This makes it safe to eat at room temperature and creates an environment for fermentation.
The average curing process for minced meat takes around 24 hours.
The Fermenting Process
Fermenting is another ancient technique used to preserve and change our food (not just make your favorite alcoholic drink).
In this preservation process for salami, lactic acid bacteria are introduced to the cured meat. This is similar to introducing yeast when making bread.
The starter culture and harmless bacteria will outperform other nasty or unwanted microbes and create lactic acid within the meat.
Lactic acid is another preservative and makes the meat softer to enjoy.
Fermenting salami in a controlled environment usually takes around 4-8 weeks. It can however take way longer when you factor in volume, type, region, etc.
The Different Types Of Salami
Have you wondered about all the different types of salami?
We could grow old together talking about them so I’m just going to keep it simple and let you research a little further if you get hungry!
Italian salami: Sopressata, Pepperoni, and Cacciatore.
Spanish salami: Chorizo, Secallona, and Fuet.
Polish salami: Salceson and Kabanosy which my personal favorite!
Romanian salami: Salam de Sibiu.
Many, many more…
Cut salami has usually been prepared for you on a deli meats counter, charcuterie board, or prepackaged in an antipasto.
An uncut salami in its original packaging is usually also a vacuum-sealed salami. This may be covered in white mold or grey color and can be fresh or dried.
Cured & Dried Salami
The basic type of salami with a salt mixture introduced and more of dry sausage. This is the most popular with the longest shelf life.
The term fresh or uncured salami can be a little misleading as there still needs to be some type of curing or fermentation to make it a salami but this being said, fresh salami is typically cooked.
Fresh salami typically has a smaller amount of time in the curing process and has a soft texture compared to if it had a longer curing process.
How To Tell If Your Salami Has Gone Bad
So are the usual indicators in spoiled food, specifically salami?
The Color Of The Salami
Salami is usually pink or red in the middle with a whitish mold around the outside.
If the salami meat is in any way grey or dark then discard it and a black fuzz mold will induce food poisoning.
The Texture Of The Salami
The salami should be firm and the meat oily.
If it has the slimy surface of the meat is very dry or crumbly then it should be discarded.
The Smell Of The Salami
The smell should have earthy, nutty, and mushroom tones.
If you smell ammonia or a strong egg-like smell then disregard it.
Author: Charlie Reeves
Hi, I’m Charlie, I am head taste tester at Simply Meat Smoking! I love it grilling, smoking, and getting out in the yard with the kids! The family also love to test all my recipes (especially my EXTRA CRISPY pulled pork, smoky pork loin, and ANY SEAFOOD I grill)
You will usually find me playing with the kids, perfecting my brisket bark, or sipping beers with boys around the fire. Can’t wait to share all my delicious smoking and grilling adventures with you!
You can read more on our About Us page.
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