Storing

Refrigerator Storage

 

How long can I keep my fresh pork in the refrigerator? 

Sealed, pre-packed fresh pork cuts can be kept in the refrigerator 2 to 4 days; sealed ground pork will keep in the refrigerator for 1 to 2 days. If you do plan on keeping the raw, fresh pork longer than 2 to 3 days before cooking it, store it well-wrapped in the freezer. 
 

How long can I store ham or other smoked products in the refrigerator? 

Whole smoked ham and whole ham slices can be stored in the refrigerator for 3-4 days or the use by date on the label. Smoked sausages, hot dogs, bacon and other luncheon meats can be kept for up to 7 days. 
 

Freezer Storage

 

How do I properly wrap my fresh pork to keep it in the freezer? 

Follow these steps to help keep your pork fresh in the freezer
  • Use one of these freezer wrap materials: specially-coated freezer paper (place the waxed side against the meat); heavy-duty aluminum foil; heavy-duty polyethylene film; heavy-duty plastic bags.
  • Re-wrap pork in convenient portions: leave roasts whole, place chops in meal-size packages, shape ground pork into patties. Put a double layer of waxed paper between chops and patties.
  • Cover sharp bones with extra paper so the bones do not pierce the wrapping.
  • Wrap the meat tightly, pressing as much air out of the package as possible.
  • Label with the name of the pork cut and date.
  • Freeze at 0 degrees F or lower.

What length of time can I keep pork in the freezer?

Generally, fresh cuts of pork, like roasts, chops and tenderloin can be kept well-wrapped in the freezer up to 6 months. Well-wrapped ground pork can be kept for about 3 months in the freezer. 

What about freezing ham? 

The National Pork Board does not encourage freezing cooked ham, since it affects the quality and mouth-feel of the meat. However, leftover ham for use in soups or casseroles can be cut up into slices or cubes and stored in the freezer for 2 to 3 months. 
 

Can pork be refrozen if it has thawed? 

According to the USDA, once food is thawed in the refrigerator, it is safe to refreeze it without cooking, although there may be a loss of quality due to the moisture lost through defrosting. After cooking raw foods which were previously frozen, it is safe to freeze the cooked food.