Summer sausage is a generic term used in American society to define any uncooked sausage that can remain unrefrigerated for long before opening. Generally, summer sausages are made of pork meat.
However, they may contain other types of meat, such as venison or beef. Summer sausages are considered excellent as the fermentation treatment lowers their pH, thus slowing bacterial growth and increasing shelf life.
Does Summer Sausage Need To Be Refrigerated?
A summer sausage doesn’t need refrigeration as long as it remains sealed. That’s because they have already undergone curing and fermentation processes, thus removing all potentially harmful bacteria. However, it should be noted that, after unsealing, summer sausage can only remain unrefrigerated for a few hours. Therefore, refrigeration is necessary. That’s because unsealing the container exposes the links to bacteria in the air.
How Long Can Summer Sausages Remain Unrefrigerated?
Summer sausages may last for several weeks unrefrigerated. However, for them to stay suitable long enough, several things should be considered.
Although some may seem insignificant, I would advise you to take all of them seriously. Otherwise, your summer sausage could get spoilt.
- Vacuum sealed: The summer sausage packaging should be tightly sealed to ensure no air or moisture gets inside. That is because bacteria and other germs in the air could lead to spoilage.
- Mild temperatures: For a summer sausage to remain unrefrigerated for a long time, the surrounding temperatures should be under 75℉. Otherwise, hotter temperatures will be a good breeding ground for bacteria. In slightly hotter temperatures, say up to 90℉, a summer sausage may only last for about a day.
- Proper hygiene: This is an important factor, especially if you prepare the summer sausage yourself. A clean environment ensures the that there is no bacteria, thus increasing its chances of remaining suitable.
When Would Most People Prefer Summer Sausages?
Although summer sausages are suitable for any moment, there are times when they are preferable to other types of sausages. Some of the most common reasons why people choose summer sausages over other links include;
- Travels: If you are traveling or touring remote areas where you might camp for a few days, summer sausages may be an excellent choice. That’s because you don’t need a refrigerator to preserve the sausages for a few days.
- Fast cooking: Most non-summer sausages are kept in a freezer. When it comes to preparing them, it takes time because they will need to get defrosted before being cooked. That is not the case with summer sausages, as they do not require refrigeration.
- Lack of a fridge: If you do not have a refrigerator, you do not have to worry about buying summer sausages. They can remain good for a long time without going bad.
How Long Can Summer Sausages Stay Suitable After Refrigeration?
Summer sausages may last a few weeks if unrefrigerated. However, if refrigerated and sealed, this time could be increased for up to six months. If opened and refrigerated, it could only last for about a week.
It’s important to note that a week for opened summer sausages in a refrigerator is better than opened and unrefrigerated summer sausages, which could only last for a day. For non-summer sausages, the time they will last unrefrigerated and when unsealed is only usually a few hours.
What Are Characteristics of Summer Sausages?
Other than knowing that summer sausages can last for several months unrefrigerated, there are several other characteristics of such a sausage. Most of these characteristics are encountered during their preparation. Some of the most notable features are;
- Fermentation: It is one technique that ensures bacteria are eliminated from a sausage, thus prolonging shelf life.
- Contains curing ingredients: Summer sausage making requires curing and salting. Curing significantly decreases water and moisture in the meat, thus making the conditions difficult for bacteria to multiply.
- Smoked: The smoking process in food processing is vital in killing certain types of bacteria and slowing the growth rate of others. It is also seen as necessary in preventing fats from rotting, hence avoiding the formation of molds.
How Can I Make A Summer Sausage?
Preparing a summer sausage is slightly different from how non-summer sausages are prepared. While you can choose to buy an already prepared summer sausage, you may as well decide to prepare one yourself.
Homemade summer sausages are easy to make if you know which ingredients to use and the procedure to follow. Here is a simple recipe that I use and could be of much help to you too.
- A pound of grounded beef
- A pound of grounded pork
- 2 tbs of curing salt
- A tbs of mustard seeds
- ¾ cup of water
- A tbs of liquid smoke flavoring
- ½ tbs of garlic powder
- Mix the grounded beef and pork with the water until they are well-blended.
- Add the liquid smoke flavoring, garlic powder, curing salt, and mustard seeds and mix thoroughly.
- Preheat your oven to about 350℉.
- Get foil paper and perforate holes. Place the mixture on top, then put it on the roasting rack.
- Bake for two hours, and then let it cool down. Wrap it with foil paper and refrigerate it until it gets cold.
- Create the now baked mixture into rolls.
How Can I Tell My Summer Sausage Has Gone Bad?
There are several ways one can tell that a summer sausage has spoilt. While some are very easy to notice, others may take time. Here are some ways you can tell your summer sausage is no longer good.
- Lousy odor: If the sausage produces an awful smell, it is already going bad.
- Color change: If your summer sausage changes from pinkish to white, it could probably be going bad.
- Terrible taste: If you feel a sour, rotten taste, it’s time to discard the sausage.
- Molds appearance: If the summer sausage begins to show grey or black spots, or the possible formation of molds, it’s time to throw it away.
- Slippery: If the sausage has become greasy, it’s probably because of the bacteria forming on its surface.
Frequently Asked Questions to Does Summer Sausage Need To Be Refrigerated?
Must I Refrigerate Summer Sausages?
If you want them to stay for about six months, then refrigeration is unnecessary. Summer sausages can remain suitable to eat for about three months.
How Can I Tell My Summer Sausages Are Spoilt?
Spoilt summer sausages will have a foul odor, slippery texture, molds, and horrible taste. If these signs appear, it’s time to discard the summer sausages.
What Do I Do If Summer Sausages Are Spoilt?
The best option is to throw them away. That’s because eating spoilt sausages may cause food poisoning.
Conclusion to Does Summer Sausage Need To Be Refrigerated?
Unopened summer sausages do not need refrigeration and last for several weeks unrefrigerated. Refrigerating an unopened package will extend the shelf life to up to 6 months.
Once opened though, they need to be kept in the fridge to slow down spoilage. Opened packages of summer sausage will last about a week in the fridge.