Rich and meaty, sometimes smoky and spicy, salami is a popular pizza topping, sandwich filling, and addition to pasta or a cheeseboard.
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 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 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 You 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 you can freeze it to extend its shelf life for months to come. This works for many deli meats and cold cuts, too.
As the freezing process causes water to be drawn out, it may dry the salami slightly. This is why it is important to make sure you follow the below precautions when packaging your salami to go into the freezer.
How To Freeze Salami
Once opened, harmful bacteria can start to develop on 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 losing its appealing taste.
This is how to freeze 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-sealed packet can be left in its packaging. Optionally, you can also remove the salami from its packaging and wrap it yourself using foil or plastic wrap. Either way, tightly wrap the salami in heavy-duty foil 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 air before sealing it fully.
Step 3: 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.
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.
Step 2: Prepare Wax Paper
Using parchment paper or wax paper, cut pieces to size on which you can lay the individually sliced salami. 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 paper over so that the top and bottom are covered.
Alternatively, you could also use cling film or 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 lock 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.
Step 5: Remove Air
Place each bag flat and press out all the air before sealing it.
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 Frozen Salami
To avoid the growth of harmful bacteria which can cause food-borne illnesses, 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.
Leftover salami might have you scratching your head as to what to do with it. Not ready for another pizza or salami sandwich? Don’t worry. Think of it as bacon. That means you can add it to pretty much anything. Toss some crisped-up salami 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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