Rich and meaty, sometimes smoky and spicy, salami is a popular pizza topping, sandwich filling, and addition to pasta or a cheese board.
Due to added preservatives, curing, drying, and smoking, salami can last a couple of months if unopened and unsliced. By keeping the unopened salami tightly wrapped in the refrigerator it will be protected from moisture, the growth of harmful bacteria, and mold.
Once salami is opened and sliced its lifespan is shortened significantly. This is when salami becomes prone to drying out, absorbing odors from surrounding foods, as well as, giving off odors that result in other items taking on a salami flavor.
The great news is that this can be avoided by freezing, allowing you to keep salami around for longer without having it spoil. Below is a basic guide for optimal freezer storage of salami to ensure a well-preserved flavor and texture for months to come.
Types of Salami
Salami can be dry, hard cured, or uncured. This processed deli meat is a mixture of raw ground meat, seasonings, and salt stuffed into a sausage casing. It is then left to ferment and air-dry until cured. Some varieties are also smoked.
Three of the most well-known different types of salami include genoa, hard salami, and soppressata.
Genoa is red wine- and garlic-flavored salami. This salami is traditionally made with pork but has evolved to sometimes include veal or beef. It has a soft texture and brightly acidic flavor due to the red wine.
As its name states, hard salami has a firm, dry texture and is mild in flavor. It is made from either pork or a pork and beef blend. Hard salami is smoked after being cured giving it a unique and delicious flavor.
Soppressata is a traditional all-pork Italian salami with a firm but chewy texture. It has a slightly coarse grind and can be purchased in general stores with a flavoring of black pepper or native Italian Calabrian chile peppers.
Can Salami Be Frozen?
Yes, you can freeze salami. Dried salami is best kept in the fridge for optimal preservation of its texture. However, if you are not going to consume already opened and sliced salami within five to seven days, freezing salami works well to extend its shelf life for months to come. This works for many deli meats, cured meats, luncheon meat, and cold cuts, too.
Since the freezing process causes excess moisture to be drawn out, it may dry the salami slightly. This is why it is important to make sure you follow the below precautions and package salami well to go into the freezer.
How To Freeze Salami
Once opened, harmful bacteria can start to develop on dry or hard salami. It is, therefore, best to freeze salami if you are not going to eat it within 5 days. Once it has been in the fridge for over 7 days, it is no longer safe to eat or freeze and should be discarded.
To preserve its flavor and texture, salami needs to be kept in air-tight packaging. When exposed to moisture and air, the delicate meat product will spoil faster, becoming unsafe to eat, and will lose its appealing taste.
This is how to go about freezing salami for optimal preservation.
How To Freeze Unopened, Unsliced Salami
Step 1: Foil Wrap
Unopened salami that has been purchased in an airtight or vacuum seal packet can be left in its original packaging and wrapped in another layer of heavy duty aluminum foil. Optionally, you can also remove it from the packaging. Tightly wrap salami logs or slices yourself using foil or plastic wrap ensuring that no gaps are left open which will let air in.
Step 2: Freezer Bag
Place the foil-wrapped salami in a resealable freezer bag and press out all the excess air before sealing it fully.
Step 3: Label
Label the freezer bags with the contents and most importantly the date, so that you can keep track of how long it has been in the freezer.
Step 7: Freeze
Place your salami in the freezer.
How To Freeze Opened Salami
Step 1: Slice and Portion
Slice the salami into portions sizes you would usually use for your sandwiches, pizza, or other lunch meat dishes. Follow this tip when freezing lunch meat.
Step 2: Prepare Wax Paper
Using butcher or wax paper, cut pieces to size on which you can lay the individual slices. If, for example, you use 4 pieces in your sandwich, cut a piece of paper on which you can arrange four slices separately and fold the butcher paper over so that the top and bottom are covered.
Alternatively, you could also use plastic wrap or aluminum foil.
Step 3: Wrap
Arrange the slices of salami in a single layer on the cut sheet of parchment paper.
Step 4: Bag It
Lay each sheet of covered salami slices into a zip top freezer bag. It is best to use a separate bag for each sheet, alternatively stack one or two sheets on top of each other, ensuring that the top and bottom layers of the salami are covered so that they will not stick to each other when you need to remove them from the freezer. If you don’t have freezer bags, double wrap it in cling wrap and foil.
Step 5: Remove Air
Place each plastic bag flat and press out as much air as possible before sealing it to prevent freezer burn. For extra protection you can also place it in an airtight container.
Step 6: Label
Label the freezer bag with the contents and most importantly the date so that you can keep track of how long it has been in the freezer.
Step 7: Freeze
Place your salami in the freezer.
Note: It is preferable to freeze the packets in a single layer. This way, they will freeze faster which will result in a well-preserved texture once thawed.
How To Thaw Salami
To avoid the growth of harmful bacterial growth which can cause food-borne illnesses, frozen salami should be placed directly from the freezer into the refrigerator to thaw. Sliced pieces will defrost fairly quickly whereas a full sausage of salami may need to be left to thaw overnight.
Making sure you keep your salami tightly wrapped in the fridge or freezer is important to ensure it stays safe for consumption. This rich and flavourful meaty delicacy is not something you want to see go to waste by leaving it at room temperature.
Leftover salami might have you scratching your head as to what to do with it. Not ready for another pizza, grilled cheese, or pepperoni salami sandwich? Don’t worry. Think of it as bacon. That means you can add it to pretty much anything. Toss a few slices of crisped-up salami meat into a salad, combine it into sautéed spinach, fill an omelet, layer it in pasta, or add it to soup for some delicious rich and smoky flavor.
Salami will provide you with a taste sensation no matter where you incorporate it.
Up Next: Can You Freeze Smoked Salmon?
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