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How Long Will Bacon Last Once You Open It?

slices of cooked bacon
slices of cooked bacon - Lauripatterson/Getty Images

Unless you're feeding several people, even a 12-slice package of bacon probably can't be consumed in one go. You might think that an open package of bacon will have a long shelf life in the fridge -- it's a preserved meat, after all. We all have different standards for what qualifies as a long shelf life, but bacon definitely has some wiggle room. According to FoodSafety.gov, cured bacon can last up to a week in the fridge. If your bacon is the uncured type, though, that timeframe goes down to as little as four days.

You may wonder what the difference is between cured and uncured bacon. Curing is a preservation process that typically uses smoke, salt, and sugar to make foods last longer. Technically, all bacon is cured, but when you see a package of bacon labeled "uncured," it's because it eschews typical curing ingredients -- mainly, nitrates and nitrites like sodium nitrate -- in favor of more "natural" alternatives. An FDA mandate that states that any bacon prepared this way must be labeled "uncured."

Read more: 7 Bacon Brands You Should Buy And 7 You Might Want To Skip

Temperature Matters

cooked bacon in a skillet
cooked bacon in a skillet - Drong/Getty Images

Regarding the shelf life of opened bacon in the fridge, the USDA reiterates that it's about a week -- but this timeframe only applies if your fridge's temperature is below 40 degrees Fahrenheit (or 4 degrees Celsius). To preserve foods properly, all fridges should be at this temperature or colder. Obviously, improper storage conditions can seriously affect the longevity of food items. (Check out our handy guide for how long meat and other foods last in the fridge, and how to tell when your food is spoiled.)

If you don't have too much bacon left over, and you know you can eat it in time, the fridge will do you right. However, refrigeration is not the only option for storing opened bacon, nor is it the way to make it last as long as possible. When stored in a freezer at a proper temperature (that is, below zero degrees Fahrenheit or -18 degrees Celsius), cured or uncured bacon will last up to a month, per FoodSafety.gov. Just be sure to follow FDA-recommended thawing procedures to ensure it's safe for consumption when it's time to eat it. This makes it possible for any of us to indulge in some crispy deliciousness, even a good while after we originally opened the bacon.

Read the original article on Daily Meal.