Ground pork can work wonders in a host of tasty recipes like meatballs, bolognese, and fried rice. But if you recently purchased ground pork and didn’t use it straight away, you’re probably wondering how long it will last.
Ground pork, if stored properly in the fridge, will last about 2 days when raw or up to 4 days when cooked. It should be stored in an air-tight container directly after it was purchased or cooked. You can also store ground pork in the freezer for an extended period, but watch out for freezer burn.
So don’t let that ground pork go to taste! Let’s take a closer look at how long it will last in the fridge and freezer, and how to keep it fresh for as long as possible.
How Long Does Raw Ground Pork Last in the Fridge?
When it comes to putting raw ground pork in the fridge, you should keep in mind that it will only be good for up to two days. This is because the pork has already been exposed to the air through the grounding process and is more susceptible to bacteria growth.
Because of this, it’s recommended to use raw ground pork — either from the butcher’s counter or from your local market — within two days. As an alternative, you can freeze the ground pork to make it last much longer.
According to food experts, such as the USDA, it’s best to only purchase ground pork when you’re ready to cook it for your next meal. You should also keep in mind that when you do purchase it, the recommended shelf life of two days is dependent on it being stored properly.
How Long Does Cooked Pork Last in the Fridge?
Once you’ve cooked your ground pork, it should last up to four days in the fridge, which buys you a few more days than if it were raw. This, of course, depends on how you store it after you cook it.
The recommended guidelines for most foods also apply to ground pork as well, except that in this case, the shelf life isn’t as long. That’s mostly due to the type of meat it is and the processing it takes to ground the pork.
After you’ve cooked your ground pork, it’s advisable to let it cool down completely before storing it in the fridge. This will reduce the exposure to any bacteria that may begin to grow on warm food.
Once the ground pork is cooled down completely (but don’t wait too long!), you need to store it in an airtight container. Make sure that the container is completely sealed before you place it in the fridge for the best results.
Can You Freeze Ground Pork?
In some cases, if you have leftover ground pork, you may want it to last a bit longer than a few days. You can achieve that by storing it in the freezer.
It’s best to freeze the cooked pork after you’ve allowed it to cool completely. Store it in an airtight container (on Amazon) or wrap the ground pork in aluminum foil and then place it in a sealable plastic storage bag.
The biggest concern when freezing your ground pork, or any other food, is the exposure to extremely cold temperatures. If it’s not stored properly, you can expose the food to freezer burn, which ruins the food permanently.
When placed in the freezer, ground pork can technically be kept there for an extended period; however, experts recommend that it’s best used within three months. Since freezer burn is a concern with food that has been placed in the freezer, using it within this timeframe can reduce the risk.
How to Tell if Ground Pork Has Gone Bad
If you’re concerned about ground pork that’s been left in the fridge for longer than the recommended time, there are several ways to tell if it’s gone bad. These ways include how the ground pork looks, feels and smells once you’ve taken it out of the fridge.
Before you use ground pork that’s been left in the fridge for more than 2 days, you should test it to make sure that it is still good. Keep in mind that consuming pork that has gone past its expiration date can lead to food poisoning.
It’s important to keep in mind that in most cases, raw ground pork that’s fresh doesn’t have much of a smell at all. This is in contrast to ground pork that’s gone bad and typically has a foul or even acidic smell to it.
If you notice that your ground pork has any kind of odor once you remove it from the fridge to prepare it, you may want to toss it. In most cases, you’ll be able to tell right away that the ground pork isn’t good anymore.
Another rule of thumb when it comes to ground pork is to pay attention to what it looks like when you purchase it fresh. For the most part, fresh ground pork has a pinkish color, possibly with some white spots throughout.
Once the pork has gone bad, it typically loses its pinkish tone and will be more of a brownish or grayish color. Additionally, depending on how long it’s been in the fridge, you may notice spots that have mold growing on them.
As you’re trying to determine whether or not your ground pork has gone bad, pay attention to the texture. Pork that’s in good shape is typically moist but not sticky to the touch.
Once the pork has begun to deteriorate, it develops a slimy texture that indicates that bacteria have begun to grow. If your ground pork feels slimy or sticky to the touch, you should discard it immediately.
How to Use Leftover Ground Pork
Another question many people ask about ground pork is what to do when you have leftovers that you need to use within just a few days. For the most part, a quick search on the internet will result in many options that you can use for your leftover ground pork.
Here are some of the most popular ways to use leftover ground pork:
- Toss the cooked pork into your eggs for breakfast
- Use the pork as meat in a spaghetti dish
- Make Pork Fried Rice
That should give you an idea of how you can use your leftover ground pork before the shelf life is expired.