Pork is a popular meat that is used in many dishes around the world. If you have cooked pork left over, you may be wondering how long it will last in the fridge. The answer depends on several factors, including how the pork was cooked, how it was stored, and the temperature of your fridge.
In this article, we will discuss how long does cooked pork last in the fridge, the best practices for storing cooked pork, signs of spoilage, and tips for maximizing its shelf life to ensure both safety and quality.
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Factors that Affect the Shelf Life of Cooked Pork
How the Pork Was Cooked
The way the pork was cooked can affect how long it will last in the fridge. If the pork was cooked until it reached an internal temperature of 145°F (63°C), it will last longer than if it was only cooked until it reached 120°F (49°C). The higher temperature kills more bacteria, which can help prolong the shelf life of the pork.
How the Pork Was Stored
The way you store the pork after it has been cooked can also affect how long it will last in the fridge. If the pork was stored in an airtight container, it will last longer than if it was left uncovered. This is because the airtight container helps to prevent bacteria from growing on the surface of the pork.
The Temperature of Your Fridge
The temperature of your fridge is also a factor that can affect how long cooked pork will last. The FDA recommends keeping your fridge at or below 40°F (4°C) to help prevent the growth of bacteria. If your fridge is warmer than this, the pork may spoil more quickly.
How Long Does Cooked Pork Last In The Fridge?
If the cooked pork was stored properly, it can last up to four days in the fridge. However, this is not a hard and fast rule, as the shelf life can vary depending on the factors mentioned above.
For example, if the pork was only cooked to 120°F (49°C) and was not stored in an airtight container, it may only last two or three days in the fridge.
It’s important to note that if you have any doubts about the safety of the pork, it’s best to err on the side of caution and throw it out. Eating spoiled pork can cause food poisoning, which can be serious or even life-threatening in some cases.
Tips for Storing Cooked Pork
If you want to prolong the shelf life of your cooked pork, there are several tips you can follow:
- Store the pork in an airtight container
- Label the container with the date the pork was cooked and stored
- Store the pork on the top shelf of your fridge, where it is coldest
- Use the pork within three to four days of cooking
- Freeze any leftover pork that you won’t use within three to four days
By following these tips, you can help ensure that your cooked pork lasts as long as possible in the fridge.
Signs of Spoilage in Cooked Pork
Signs of spoilage in cooked pork, or any other type of cooked meat, can help you determine whether it is safe to consume. Some common signs of spoilage include:
- Change in color: Cooked pork that has spoiled may develop a dull, grayish-brown color, which differs from its usual pinkish-brown hue.
- Foul odor: Spoiled meat often emits a strong, unpleasant smell. If your cooked pork has a sour, rancid, or ammonia-like odor, it is likely spoiled and should not be consumed.
- Slimy or sticky texture: Cooked pork that has spoiled may become slimy or sticky to the touch. If the surface feels slick or tacky, it’s a sign that the meat has gone bad.
- Mold or discoloration: If you notice mold, green or black spots, or any other unusual discoloration on the surface of the cooked pork, it is a clear indication of spoilage.
- Off taste: If you’ve checked for the other signs and are still unsure, you can taste a small piece of the cooked pork. If it has an off or unpleasant taste, discard it immediately.
Remember that consuming spoiled meat can lead to foodborne illnesses, so it’s essential to err on the side of caution and discard any cooked pork that shows signs of spoilage.
The shelf life of cooked pork in the fridge can vary depending on several factors, including how it was cooked, how it was stored, and the temperature of your fridge. If the pork was stored properly, it can last up to four days in the fridge. However, it’s important to always use your judgement and throw out any pork that you are unsure about. By following these tips for storing cooked pork, you can help prolong its shelf life and reduce the risk of food poisoning.