Planning a pizza party seems fun. But having it get canceled at the very last moment can be pretty annoying, especially if you have already bought the ingredients. While you can easily store the pizza dough or the sauce for later, does the same rule apply to spicy pepperoni?
Pepperoni is one of the most preferred pizza toppings due to its delicious taste and texture. While the expiration can differ based on its type (sticks of slices) or whether it is opened or unopened, pepperoni will eventually lose its quality and taste.
We are sure you have several other questions lingering on your mind regarding its shelf life and preferred storage options. Read along to get your questions answered thoroughly so that you can plan ahead for your next pizza party!
Does pepperoni really go bad?
Yes, just like any edible, your favorite pizza topping, aka pepperoni, does go bad. But likely not sooner than most of the toppings. It carries a lot of exciting flavors and preservatives that make it last quite a bit longer.
Luckily there are various ways you can tell that your pepperoni has gone bad. Just a reminder, you just need to check the packaging date and even the expiry date before buying it.
So let’s first know what exactly a fine slice of pepperoni looks, tastes, and smells like.
What is a perfectly fine slice of pepperoni?
Yes, there are various ways we would know when it goes bad. But that situation could be avoided only when we know what a perfectly fine slice of pepperoni is.
Well, in terms of flavors, a good slice of pepperoni must have salt, spice, and some heat with a little spike of acidity. But, on the other hand, too much acidity can make pepperoni taste sour, and eventually, it goes bad sooner.
Paprika gives your pepperoni a slight orangish pink color, making it more deliciously beautiful. A perfect pepperoni is the ideal grind of cured pork and beef, making it soft compared to most sausages.
Most of the brands out there sell them in various flavors and styles, leaving us with a wide range of options to choose from. So whether you have bought a small size of pepperoni for your pizza or a larger one for your sandwiches, it just needs to be coated with perfect ingredients, should have a slight orangish pink color, and you are good to go.
So next is how will you know if it has gone bad or it’s just starting to age. Well, here’s what you should know!
5 Ways to tell your pepperoni has gone bad
Well, we always want our favorite food item to last ages so we can make the most out of it. But that’s not always possible. For example, pepperoni will go bad after a period of time, and you definitely should know when it’s time to discard it.
Change in appearance: When pepperoni starts to go bad, the first thing you will notice is a change in its appearance. Sometimes pepperoni starts to turn dark brownish or something. The discoloration is one of the easiest ways to tell if pepperoni is gone bad. It could have just started to age if it’s a sight change and not that dark. So you need to finish it as soon as possible to avoid wasting it.
Off Smell: Pepperoni starts to smell a bit off or rancid once it has gone bad. You should discard it immediately as it can not just spoil the flavors of your sandwich or pizza but also make you sick. It can usually happen due to the oil present in pepperoni that starts to spoil, so make sure you store it right.
Change in texture: Sticky, slimy sausages are a complete no-no. Trust me; you love your pepperoni pizza only because the pepperoni is not slimy or sticky, just perfectly crispy. This means if you have sticky or slimy pepperoni, it has probably gone bad. And you need to discard it immediately.
Molds: Although chefs do not believe in discarding moldy edibles, that’s only because they know how to throw the mold out. But we are no experts. Sometimes we don’t know if the molds are okay or not, so if you see any, we recommend discarding them.
Taste: Well, if none of these are the signs, you definitely should give it a try. That’s the only way to tell if the pepperoni you have had for a long is still good to consume. If it does not taste bitter or something, you can surely add it to your sandwiches or pizza and have fun.
So these were the five ways to tell if pepperoni has gone bad or is still safe to consume. Since most of its shelf life depends on how it’s stored, let us know a few tips to store your pepperoni so you can make the most out of it.
What happens if you eat expired pepperoni?
Consuming expired pepperoni can make you sick. If you notice any of the aforementioned signs of spoilage, it is best to toss it out.
The following are the most common repercussions of consuming expired pepperoni:
- Body ache
How to make your pepperoni last longer?
Storing your pepperoni right is the only way to make it last longer. And here are a few tips you should definitely know about pepperoni.
Whether you choose to buy refrigerated pepperoni sticks or chips or the ones that can be left out, storing either of them is quite the same.
You need to dry-cure them first. By this, we mean simply sprinkling some salt over the pepperoni and letting it dry at a specific moisture level. This helps the meat settle at a particular temperature and increases its shelf life.
Due to salt and moisture, there are the least chances of accumulating harmful bacteria that lead to spoilage even when stored at room temperature. However, it would be best to make sure that pepperoni is kept in a tightly sealed container, so it does not lose its smell and flavors to the environment.
Although it can stay quite longer at room temperature due to salt, we still recommend refrigerating it. This is to avoid temperature fluctuations, eventually keeping your pepperoni fresh for longer.
If you have sticks, you can also cut them into smaller pieces, wrap them into a plastic bag, transfer them to a freezer, and refrigerate them. So you won’t spoil the whole stick, just a few pieces.
Does freezing pepperoni increase its’ shelf life?
With the higher demand for frozen foods due to their longevity, it is obvious to have this question in mind. So when it comes to freezing pepperoni, things are just the same.
You can definitely freeze pepperoni, and it’s a great way to have an extended shelf life. Salt and air-dried procedures act as their natural preservative. So if you are unable to use it for the next few months or have got them a little extra, then you require freezing pepperoni is always a good choice.
It can easily stay fresh even after its best-by date for a month or so when frozen appropriately.
Here’s what you should do before freezing pepperoni :
If you have a stick, cut them into smaller slices. Divide slices into different batches, so you don’t end up using most of your freezer space just to store pepperoni. It becomes easy to store.
Transfer them into a sealed air-tight bag or a container. Ziplock bags are best for freezing edibles as they do not take up a lot of space and prevent moisture that can lead to spoilage.
Now make sure you write the date you are freezing it. Although freezing pepperoni increases its shelf life, checking on them is essential, so you do not go a long way from its expiry date. So write the date you packed it or bought it and mention its best-by date over it in a larger font.
Keep a check on its spoilage if you are near its expiry date or past it. Even if you notice the tiny changes, make sure you consume them sooner to avoid unnecessary wastage.
Note: Remember that freezing pepperoni will leave tiny cuts over them, and it does not lead to spoilage.
So since we have talked a lot about its storage, you definitely should know a bit more about its shelf life.
How long does pepperoni actually last?
So until now, pepperoni sticks and slices of pepperoni were similar things to us, as they showed similar signs of spoilage, and there was not big of a difference when it came to storing them. But when it comes to shelf life, things are a bit different.
Sliced pepperoni is said to have a longer shelf life compared to pepperoni sticks. But both of these come with a best-by date, so you need not worry a lot about it.
If you have bought unrefrigerated pepperoni sticks, simply put them in a refrigerator, even if you have opened them or not. This will increase its shelf life for almost two weeks or so, which is even past the best-by date.
Refrigerated pepperoni sticks have use-by or sell-by dates. But when you store them as mentioned above, they will likely last longer, for three to four weeks. Most of the brands suggest finishing up the leftover sticks within a week, as later on, they won’t taste fresh any longer.
With slices of pepperoni, you will notice the duration that is the best by date is quite long. Sliced pepperoni, once opened, will last 7 to 8 days and taste fresh even after its expiry date. But we do recommend consuming it sooner to make the most out of it.
There are certain risks associated with consuming spoiled pepperoni. It can lead to nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, body pain, and even fever.
Hence, why risk your health for a few slices of expired pepperoni? Head up to the supermarket and buy some fresh ones instead. Trust us; that is better than heading towards the doctor’s clinic.
Alternatives of Pepperoni if it Goes Bad
If the pepperoni slices in your refrigerator or kitchen pantry have gone bad, you can try incorporating the following substitutes in your recipes:
- Louisville Vegan Jerky Co (Best Vegan Alternative)
Is expired pepperoni safe to eat?
Expired pepperoni is safe to eat, as far as you do not notice any molds. While the taste and consistency might not be the same, an expired pepperoni stored in the refrigerator is safe to consume.
Why is my pepperoni grey?
The process of oxidation is to be blamed for grey pepperoni. Such pepperoni can be consumed without worrying about any health consequences.
What is the white stuff on pepperoni?
If you notice any white substance on pepperoni, don’t panic. It is nothing but natural and edible mold, generally found on the skin of cured meats and sausages.
Final Notes on Pepperoni
So since you have come a long way, this definitely shows your love for this pizza topping. It is an unprocessed form of meat, with sprinkled salt and sir dried procedure. This shows a higher amount of preservatives’ extended shelf life.
Please make sure you enjoy it before it lasts so you don’t waste it. No matter if you have bought sticks or slices, pepperoni does go bad. So, avoid getting more than you need.
Make sure you refrigerate it after opening it. Refer best by date, give it a try and consume it only if it tastes fine if it is far from the expiry date.
Happy snacking, fellas!!!
Gina P. Shudnow is the brain behind all our scientific research. She is a Registered Dietitian who has been in the field for over ten years. Her nutrition tips have helped several people overcome health issues in the past. She strives to make everybody healthier without compromising on their food diet.