How Long Does Vacuum Sealed Salami Last? When Is It Unsafe To Eat?
Vacuum sealing is arguably one of the easiest and convenient methods to preserve food today. Vacuum sealed food typically lasts longer, under the right conditions. The technique can preserve many types of food but is largely used for fruit and meat.
Like most meat, salami can easily be safely preserved through vacuum sealing. These procedures put in place by the FDA and relevant licensing authorities highly regulate the industry.
They ensure that these products are healthy enough to consume in reasonable proportions. Let us explore the technicalities behind this preservation technique.
How long does vacuum sealed salami last?
Vacuum sealed salami can last up to six weeks if it is not refrigerated. This is only under the condition that it has not been opened. Refrigerating vacuum-sealed salami prolongs its life up to the period indicated by the processing company.
Difference Between Vacuum Sealed And Canned Salami
The canning and sealing process vary in various ways. Under the canning process, the salami must undergo sterilization.
This process denatures all the microorganisms in the food. Once the microorganisms are denatured, the food is placed in airtight containers.
Canning is more efficient, as it eliminates the need for refrigeration, and the food typically lasts longer.
Vacuum sealing involves eliminating all the air in the packaging container. Microorganisms are rendered ineffective for a while, hence temporarily eliminating the need for refrigeration.
Consuming canned food is less healthy. This is because the salami needs to be processed. It typically would contain high Bisphenol-A. This compound is largely associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular illness.
The Vacuum Sealing Process
Sourcing the right container
The container used in the vacuum sealing process should be sturdy enough to withstand the pressure. Film packaging is preferred due to its elastic nature.
Suctioning air from the packaging
A pump is typically used in this process. A nozzle is inserted into the bag, from which air is pumped out.
There are three methods primarily used to seal salami. The use of a heat sealant is the most common. The nozzle pump is removed, and the bag is shut.
The impulse system can also be used under this approach, given that the packaging is sturdy enough to remain sealed.
In some cases, an aluminum wire is normally used to reinforce the seal, making it more secure. The sealing process is the most important step. If the seal is broken, this preservation technique is rendered ineffective.
Cured Vs. Uncured Vacuum-Sealed Salami
Vacuum sealed salami falls into either the cured or uncured category. Cured salami is salami that has been preserved with artificial chemicals.
They tend to last long while unrefrigerated. Cured salami may contain Bisphenol A, which may have long-term health implications if consumed regularly.
Uncured salami, on the other hand, uses only natural preservatives. A popular way of preservation under this method is by using harmless bacteria.
This is the healthier option. The trade-off with using this method is that your salami will not last as long.
Note that not all cured salami is unhealthy. Cured salami should be consumed in regulated quantities.
Why Vacuum-Sealed Salami?
Aside from preservation, there are other reasons why it is necessary to seal salami. Some of them include:
Eliminating freezer burn
Freezer burn can cause patches of tastelessness on meat. It also makes the meat texture inconsistent. Vacuum sealing can help to circumvent this problem by eliminating the need to freeze your salami.
Unlike other methods of preserving salami, vacuum sealing does not interfere with the taste. By simply expelling air from the packaging, you can be sure that you will be getting fresh-tasting salami even a month after your purchase.
Compactly sealed salami takes up less space in your kitchen. It is a good solution if you happen to be pressed for space. It is an excellent substitute for canning.
Unlike other methods of preservation, vacuum sealing is quite healthy. The sealing process is straightforward, and there is no need to use added preservatives.
Most vacuum sealing packages are quite sturdy and fairly secure. It is, therefore, difficult for your salami to be exposed to contaminants from outside the packages.
Microorganisms from inside the package are also less likely to survive, given the lack of oxygen inside these packages.
From a manufacturer’s point of view, it is quite cost-effective to use vacuum sealing as opposed to other forms of preservation.
Short-Comings Of Using Vacuum Sealing As A Means Of Preservation
Generally, this is a reliable method of preserving salami. Just like with other forms of preservation, vacuum sealing has its own set of problems. These include:
Difficulty in opening the package:
Airtight seals are not easy to open, especially those packages reinforced using aluminum. You would usually require a sharp object to pierce through the seal.
Effectiveness once opened
The preservation properties of a vacuum-sealed bag are normally lost once the package has been opened and exposed to air.
This would, therefore, require refrigeration or an alternative means of preservation once the seal is broken.
Risk of leakages
The contents can be compromised once the packages develop cracks and tares. Proper handling is essential for this to be a viable and effective means of preservation.
The risk of leakages is, however, reduced greatly if proper packaging materials.
How To Tell If Vacuum-Sealed Salami Has Gone Bad
If left unrefrigerated beyond six weeks, vacuum-sealed salami is bound to go bad. It can also go bad if the seal is broken and not refrigerated. These are the signs that your salami has gone bad:
Like with all food, it is obvious to tell if salami has gone bad just by how it smells. Bad salami is characterized by a smell not so dissimilar to that of rotting eggs. The smell is usually pungent and unmissable.
Salami usually has an inconsistent red and white coloring. You will tell that the salami has gone bad when you see a green or brownish color on the surface. For particular types of salami, you will notice a yellow shade developing on the surface.
Moisture is an indicator that it may be time to get rid of the salami. Good salami should be dry, and the texture should be consistent. Moisture is usually a sign of harmful microorganism activity on the surface of the meat.
Note that salami might have good bacteria. This is usually white. The purpose of the bacteria is to prevent an invasive microorganism from growing on the surface of the meat. Note that the presence of moisture does not accompany the presence of the harmless bacteria.
You must avoid consuming salami if you notice a green tint on the surface, as it indicates mold growth.
How To Make Your Sealed Salami Last Longer
Though the average lifespan of sealed salami is around six weeks, it could last longer. Here are some useful tips that should come in handy.
Be sure to refrigerate your salami. This method will certainly extend its lifespan. If you do not intend to consume it any time soon, you might want to consider freezing.
Refrigeration is a requirement once the seal is broken. Failure to do this will certainly mean that your salami will go bad.
Avoid sliced salami
Even in the event of vacuum sealing, sliced salami will go bad much faster than unsliced salami. This is because the surface area of sliced salami creates conditions for harmful bacteria and other microorganisms to grow on the surface.
It would be better to slice your salami as opposed to purchasing sliced salami.
Opt for cured salami
Cured salami certainly lasts longer. You should, however, avoid Potassium Bromate, BHT, and Sodium Nitrate.
There are some safe artificial preservatives that the body can easily metabolize. These include preservatives approved by the FDA and USDA. It is worth noting that cured salami should be consumed in moderate quantities.
Aside from refrigeration and freezing, other storage conditions could positively ensure that your salami lasts long.
The salami should be stored in a cool, dry place. Other optimal conditions include storing your salami away from direct sunlight.
Avoid humid storage conditions. Heat could serve to increase the enzymic activity of harmful microorganisms, and this could lead to rotting.
Vacuum sealed salami can last for quite some time without going bad. Refrigeration only becomes a requirement once the seal has been broken.
Sealed meat is safer to eat as compared to canned salami. This is because it is less processed and has fewer preservatives.
Cured salami lasts longer than uncured salami; however, it also happens to be less healthy. Be sure to check for compliance with the FDA and the USDA guidelines before purchasing vacuum-sealed salami.