How Long Does Dehydrated Bacon Last? The Complete Guide

Crispy, smoky bacon is a staple breakfast food for many But fresh bacon has a relatively short shelf life. This leaves bacon lovers wondering – how long does dehydrated bacon really last?

Dehydrating bacon is a great way to preserve it long-term Removing the moisture inhibits bacteria growth, extending the shelf life significantly compared to fresh bacon.

This guide will look at everything you need to know about dehydrated bacon storage times proper storage methods shelf life in the pantry vs freezer, signs of spoilage, and more. Let’s dive in!

How Does Dehydrating Preserve Bacon?

Dehydrating works by removing the available moisture that bacteria needs to grow. Without sufficient moisture, bacteria becomes dormant and spoilage grinds to a halt.

For bacon specifically, dehydrating provides these preservative benefits:

  • Inhibits bacterial growth and rancidity
  • Creates a shelf-stable product that doesn’t require refrigeration
  • Intensifies flavor as moisture content is reduced
  • Extends shelf life to 1-2 years when stored properly

The low temperatures used in dehydrators don’t fully “cook” bacon. Proper cooking before dehydrating is still essential to kill potentially harmful bacteria.

Dehydrated Bacon Storage Time in the Pantry

When stored in an airtight container in the pantry, dehydrated bacon will last for:

  • 1 year – Commercially packaged dehydrated bacon
  • 6-12 months – Home dehydrated bacon

Pantry storage at room temperature is suitable for properly dehydrated bacon. The low moisture content prevents spoilage.

For maximum shelf life, store dehydrated bacon in a cool, dark place around 60-70°F. Avoid warm areas near appliances, as higher temperatures accelerate deterioration.

Dehydrated Bacon Storage Time in the Freezer

For even longer shelf life, the freezer is ideal for storing dehydrated meats like bacon.

In an airtight container in the freezer at 0°F, dehydrated bacon can last:

  • 1-2 years – Commercially packaged dehydrated bacon
  • 18-24 months – Home dehydrated bacon

The extremely cold and stable temperature in the freezer significantly slows down any potential moisture absorption or freezer burn.

Proper Storage of Dehydrated Bacon

To get the maximum shelf life from dehydrated bacon, follow these storage tips:

  • Use an airtight container or sealing bag to lock out moisture and oxygen.

  • For extra protection, place sealed container/bag into a secondary sealed container.

  • Make sure bacon is fully dried with very low moisture content before storage.

  • Store in a consistently cool, dry place around 60-75°F if storing in the pantry.

  • Rotate stock and use older bacon first based on dehydration dates.

  • Inspect periodically for any moisture, sliminess, mold, or off odors.

  • For freezer storage, use freezer-safe packaging and minimize air exposure.

How to Tell If Dehydrated Bacon Has Spoiled

Watch for these signs that your dehydrated bacon has gone bad and should be discarded:

  • Odd, sour or unpleasant smell
  • Increased moisture, sliminess, or stickiness
  • Discoloration – often darkening, graying, or greenish tint
  • Presence of mold – may appear fuzzy or powdery
  • Rancid taste and unappetizing odor when tasted

If dehydrated bacon absorbs moisture or is exposed to air, dangerous bacteria like Salmonella can reactivate and grow, making it unsafe. Always rely on your senses when evaluating for spoilage.

Does Refreezing Affect Dehydrated Bacon Quality?

Refreezing dehydrated bacon is not recommended. Each freeze-thaw cycle allows the entry of more air into the packaging. This leads to oxidative damage, texture changes, and decreased quality.

For best quality, use up fully thawed dehydrated bacon within a few days. To extend the usable timeframe, keep thawed bacon refrigerated until ready to consume.

Can You Eat Dehydrated Bacon After It Expires?

It’s not recommended to eat dehydrated meats past the expiration or best before date on the package. However, the dates are more about quality than safety. If properly stored, dehydrated bacon may still be safe to eat from a microbial standpoint, but the taste, texture, and nutrition will have diminished over time.

As always, inspect the bacon closely and rely on your senses. Discard anything that looks or smells unpleasant to err on the side of caution. Don’t take risks with old food.

The Takeaway on Dehydrated Bacon Storage

When properly dehydrated and stored, bacon can be preserved for 1-2 years either in the pantry or freezer before quality loss occurs. Always use airtight, moisture-proof packaging. Check frequently for any signs of spoilage.

The shelf life of dehydrated bacon also depends on the fat content – lean bacon lasts longer than fatty bacon. Follow the recommended storage times for best quality and food safety.

With the right storage conditions, you can enjoy tasty dehydrated bacon for months without having to worry about waste or safety issues. Just be diligent with proper storage practices.

Frequently Asked Questions About Dehydrated Bacon Storage

Here are some common questions on maximizing the shelf life of dehydrated bacon:

How long does commercially packaged dehydrated bacon last?

Commercially dehydrated bacon in airtight packaging will typically last about 1 year in the pantry and 1-2 years in the freezer before quality loss occurs. Always check packaging for best before dates.

Does dehydrated bacon need to be refrigerated after opening?

No, if it is properly dehydrated it can be stored at room temperature in the pantry after opening. Ensure it goes into an airtight container as exposure to air will cause it to lose quality and spoil faster.

What happens if dehydrated bacon gets moist during storage?

If dehydrated bacon absorbs moisture during storage, it can quickly spoil just like fresh bacon. Discard any bacon that seems damp or slimy. Keep packages securely sealed in moisture-proof packaging.

Can you vacuum seal dehydrated bacon for longer storage?

Yes, vacuum sealing is an excellent storage method for dehydrated bacon. Vacuum sealing removes air and protects against moisture, allowing for extended shelf life. Bacon stored this way can last 18-24 months in the freezer.

How long does homemade dehydrated bacon last compared to commercial?

Home dehydrated bacon has a slightly shorter shelf life compared to commercial products, lasting about 6-12 months in the pantry vs. 1 year for commercial. This is because commercial producers often use added preservatives.

What temperature should dehydrated bacon be stored at?

For pantry storage, dehydrated bacon should be kept in a cool, dry place around 60-70°F. Temperatures closer to freezing are better for extended shelf life. The freezer at 0°F is best for maximum preservation time.

Can dehydrated bacon be stored in the fridge?

While not required, the fridge can help extend the shelf life of dehydrated bacon stored in the pantry by maintaining cooler, more stable temperatures. Fridge storage can add a few extra months before quality deterioration occurs.

How long does cooked dehydrated bacon last compared to raw?

Cooked dehydrated bacon has a longer shelf life compared to raw dehydrated bacon due to lower moisture content and reduced bacterial load after cooking. Expect cooked dehydrated bacon to last about 50% longer than raw.

By properly dehydrating and storing your bacon, you can enjoy this tasty snack for months without worrying about safety or waste. Follow these tips to maximize shelf life while retaining flavor and texture.

Dehydrating bacon for longer storage. Bacon Jerky! Easy!

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