How Long Does Johnsonville Sausage Last in the Fridge? A Comprehensive Guide

Johnsonville sausages are a beloved fridge staple in many households Their bold flavors and convenient fully-cooked links make whipping up quick family meals a breeze But with the chaos of everyday life, it’s easy to forget just how long that pack of spicy Italian sausage has been sitting in the fridge.

Understanding proper storage is key to keeping your Johnsonville links fresh and avoiding waste. In this comprehensive guide we’ll dive into all the nitty-gritty details about fridge life so you can keep enjoying these sausages safely.

Overview of Johnsonville Sausage Types

Johnsonville offers a wide array of sausage varieties including

  • Breakfast sausage links and patties
  • Fully cooked sausage links in flavors like Original Bratwurst and Spicy Italian
  • Fresh sausages for grilling like Bratwurst and Italian Sausage
  • Ground sausage in different flavors and spice levels
  • Smoked rope sausages and snack sticks

The shelf life can vary slightly depending on the specific type of sausage. For the purposes of this article, we’ll focus on their most popular fully cooked breakfast and Italian sausage links.

How Long Does Unopened Johnsonville Sausage Last in the Fridge?

An unopened package of Johnsonville sausage links will typically last 1-2 weeks past the sell-by date when properly stored in the fridge.

Always check the sell-by or use-by date printed on the label to determine freshness. These fully cooked sausages can be safely consumed for 7-14 days after that date as long as they’ve been continuously refrigerated.

When stored in their original packaging, Johnsonville links are sealed from air, light, and moisture – all enemies of freshness. As long as the packaging remains intact, the sausage inside will last for the standard 1-2 weeks.

However, once opened, the clock starts ticking faster on fridge life…

How Long Does Opened Johnsonville Sausage Last in the Fridge?

After opening a Johnsonville sausage package, the leftovers will only last 3-5 days in the fridge.

Exposure to air starts the countdown to spoilage. Bacteria accumulate faster on the exposed sausage surfaces. To maximize freshness of opened links:

  • Reseal the original package as airtight as possible, or…
  • Transfer sausage to an airtight container or zip-top bag, removing excess air.
  • Ensure the temperature of your fridge is 40°F or below.

With proper refrigeration, the leftover sausage stays safe to eat for 3-5 days.

How to Store Johnsonville Sausage in the Fridge

Follow these tips for maximizing fridge life:

  • Leave sausage sealed in original packaging until ready to use.
  • Once opened, transfer leftovers to an airtight container or bag.
  • Make sure sausage is not exposed to air while storing.
  • Store sausage on a shelf rather than in a crisper drawer.
  • Don’t overcrowd fridge shelves to allow for cold air circulation.
  • Ensure fridge temperature is set to 40°F or below.
  • Use opened sausage within 3-5 days.

Proper fridge storage keeps Johnsonville sausage fresh and delays spoilage.

Can You Freeze Johnsonville Sausage?

Freezing is a great way to significantly extend the shelf life of Johnsonville sausage. Fully cooked links can be frozen in their original packaging for up to 1-2 months.

For even longer freezer life, up to 4 months, wrap sausages tightly in freezer-safe wrap or place in freezer bags. Squeeze out excess air and seal to prevent freezer burn.

Frozen sausage maintains its quality and flavor remarkably well. It can go straight from freezer to skillet with no need to thaw first in most cases.

How To Thaw Frozen Johnsonville Sausage

To safely thaw frozen Johnsonville sausage:

  • In the refrigerator: This gradual thawing method prevents bacterial growth. Thaw overnight in the fridge for use the next day.

  • In cold water: For faster thawing, submerge sausage in a bowl of cold water, changing water every 30 minutes until thawed. Cook immediately.

  • In the microwave: Use the defrost setting and microwave in short intervals to thaw, flipping sausage halfway. Cook sausage immediately after microwaving.

  • During cooking: Sausage can also be cooked directly from frozen. Just increase cooking time to ensure it reaches an internal temperature of 160°F.

Once thawed, sausage should be eaten within 3-4 days. Refreezing thawed sausage is not recommended.

How To Tell If Johnsonville Sausage Has Gone Bad

Trust your senses to determine freshness of Johnsonville sausage:

  • Smell – Sausage should smell mildly meaty. An off, sour, or ammonia-like odor indicates spoilage.

  • Texture – Sausage should feel firm to touch. A sticky, slimy texture is a red flag for spoilage.

  • Color – Raw sausage is pinkish in color. Grey, green, or moldy spots signify it should be discarded.

  • Expiration date – Toss if sausage is significantly past the sell-by or use-by date, even if other signs seem normal. Don’t risk it.

When in doubt, remember the old adage – When in doubt, throw it out! Don’t chance eating spoiled sausage.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I eat Johnsonville sausage after the use-by date?

It’s generally safe to eat Johnsonville links within 1 week past the date on the package as long as they’ve been continuously refrigerated below 40°F. However, the longer past the date, the higher the risk of spoilage, so inspect sausage closely and discard at any signs of spoilage.

How can I tell if frozen Johnsonville sausage is still good?

Check for ice crystals inside the packaging. Their presence means the sausage never thawed and refroze. Look for signs of freezer burn or frost on the meat surface. Avoid sausage that looks dried out or has discolored patches.

Can I refreeze thawed Johnsonville sausage?

It is unsafe to refreeze raw sausage after it thaws. Refreezing may allow bacterial growth. For best quality and food safety, cook thawed sausage immediately and either eat or refrigerate for up to 4 days.

What happens if I leave Johnsonville sausage in the fridge too long?

Sausage left too long in the fridge poses a food safety risk. Bacteria multiply rapidly on perishable cooked meats over time, increasing your risk of food poisoning when consumed. Always adhere to recommended fridge storage times.

How can I make Johnsonville sausage last longer?

Freezing sausage is the best way to prolong shelf life. Proper refrigeration and storage techniques also help sausage stay fresher longer. Use freezer-safe wrap, limit air exposure, monitor fridge temperature, and follow use-by dates to maximize freshness.

The Bottom Line

When stored properly in the fridge, unopened Johnsonville sausage links stay fresh 1-2 weeks past the date on the package. Once opened, eat within 3-5 days. For maximum shelf life, freeze sausage. Always rely on refrigeration and freezing to prevent spoilage.

Following these fridge and freezer storage guidelines will keep your Johnsonville sausages tasting great when it’s time to sizzle up a quick sausage meal or snack!

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