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Ike Jutkowitz
(Ike) - M

Locale: Central Michigan
How stable is shelf stable bacon on 10/20/2011 09:19:27 MDT Print View

All of the shelf stable bacon and bacon bits I can find at my supermarket advise "refrigerate after opening". How long can this stuff sit out after the bag or jar is opened?

Joe Clement
(skinewmexico) - MLife

Locale: Southwest
How stable is shelf stable bacon on 10/20/2011 09:26:47 MDT Print View

Test it, and let us know. Have some antibiotics on hand though.

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: How stable is shelf stable bacon on 10/20/2011 09:39:38 MDT Print View

I've never had a problem with it over a few days.

I will carry a 3-oz package of bacon pieces, open it, use half with one meal, then save the other half for another meal after a day or two.

--B.G.--

Doug Parker
(BuffaloSkipper) - F

Locale: Gulf Coast
Seasonal considerations on 10/20/2011 10:32:47 MDT Print View

Some folks overlook the temperature. If you are out in 40° weather, it will keep longer than if you are hiking in the 70s. And of course, avoid it being in the direct sun. Many of the bacon bit packaging options are heavy zipper lock bags. Get all the air out and seal the package and it will be much less likely to spoil, especially if it is only open for a minute while you take out the portion you need.

My 2¢.

Sarah Kirkconnell
(sarbar) - F

Locale: In the shadow of Mt. Rainier
Re: How stable is shelf stable bacon on 10/20/2011 10:58:06 MDT Print View

There are two types - the bag stuff and the jar stuff. The jar stuff is considerably more shelf stable once opened. The bags I buy in the smallest amount (no matter HOW tempting the big bags at Costco are!). I aim for using half at dinner and half at breakfast. In summer you really want to be careful with it, winter you could slide days on it.

Overall though it has a good shelf life due to all the preservatives galore in it.

As for bacon bits, those things have a half nuclear life to say the least.......

Eric Lundquist
(cobberman) - F - M

Locale: Dry side of the Eastern Sierra's
Re: Re: How stable is shelf stable bacon on 10/20/2011 11:16:41 MDT Print View

It might depend on the brand/style of bacon bits/pieces you purchase. My first bag was smaller and seemed to be little pieces with more fat on them. The second bag was a fine shred of bacon with very little fat. I would imagine the one with less fat will last longer in the field.

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Re: Re: How stable is shelf stable bacon on 10/20/2011 11:25:20 MDT Print View

Yes, there are different bacon products. Some are bits, and some are pieces. Don't ask me which is which. Some appear to be devoid of visible fat, but the invisible fat is still there. Try Hormel.

--B.G.--

Ike Jutkowitz
(Ike) - M

Locale: Central Michigan
Bacon on 10/20/2011 11:53:49 MDT Print View

Thanks guys. My supermarket has the Hormel stuff and a few that are similar. Thinks are cooling down here pretty quickly in MI, but I'll try and use it in the first couple of days. (along with some fresh cheese).

James Landro
(justaddfuel) - F

Locale: MN
Re: Bacon on 10/20/2011 13:15:38 MDT Print View

I have had it for a week in the boundary waters in mid summer. Not super hot, but still.
The brand we had was from costco and was a large re-sealable bag. Delicious.

Tohru Ohnuki
(erdferkel) - F

Locale: S. California
Re: How stable is shelf stable bacon on 10/20/2011 13:44:04 MDT Print View

I've done 3-4 days in the desert with those. Bacon bits and dehydrated potatoes is a great meal. As long as the bacon bits are dry they won't spoil, similar to jerky. You can probably make your own by frying up some bacon until it's crispy and then crumbling it.

I remember reading somewhere that in order for stuff to grow there needs to be a minimum moisture content, thus the reason twinkies are shelf stable...

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Re: How stable is shelf stable bacon on 10/20/2011 15:00:24 MDT Print View

> there needs to be a minimum moisture content, thus the reason twinkies are shelf stable...

Yeah, but we are talking about food here. Twinkies (and Cheezles) aren't.

Cheers

Sarah Kirkconnell
(sarbar) - F

Locale: In the shadow of Mt. Rainier
Re: How stable is shelf stable bacon on 10/20/2011 16:19:40 MDT Print View

Not sure if I'd consider shelf stable bacon real food though :-P It is a mastery of chemicals that it even exists.

And like Twinkies is tasty beyond belief. So are Cheetos. Not good for you, but tasty.

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Re: How stable is shelf stable bacon on 10/20/2011 16:46:26 MDT Print View

The only good thing about Cheetos is that with a handful you will get your minimum daily requirement of yellow dye #2.

--B.G.--

Tom Clark
(TomClark) - MLife

Locale: East Coast
Re: How stable is shelf stable bacon on 10/20/2011 17:10:24 MDT Print View

I work in the food industry and am responsible for maintaining the quality of our food products during their shelf life.

Two big factors in keeping bacon bits and beef jerky fresh is low moisture (limits microbial growth) and low oxygen (reduces rancidity).

Moist slices of beef would get moldy because there are always mold spores floating around. Although some beef jerky is more moist than others, it is still lower moisture (or water activity) than the steak you would eat at home. Water activity is a measure of how tightly water is bound by food...or salt. Some jerky might have added salt or something else to maintain a low water activity while keeping the jerky at a higher moisture level, which feels softer when chewed.

The package is either flushed with nitrogen or vacuum packed. The plastic package that these come in have individual layers for moisture and oxygen barrier. There are often oxygen scavengers (i.e., the little perforated foil sachets that have ground Fe to consume any oxygen that leaks/permeates into the package).


Here is added information...
http://www.meathaccp.wisc.edu/validation/assets/CL%20Jerky%20Staph%20&%20LM.pdf

I understand the comments about real food, but if we are talking about a weekend or week of backpacking, I say eat what tastes good and doesn't spoiled. I don't encourage people to eat poorly every day. Also, if you smoke or drink to excess, I wouldn't throw stones, but this is an open forum so I just want to provide some food for thought!

Tom

Tom Clark
(TomClark) - MLife

Locale: East Coast
Re: Re: How stable is shelf stable bacon on 10/20/2011 17:17:55 MDT Print View

Ike,
To your original question...I don't know. I would say that if you don't see mold growing on it and it doesn't taste rancid (e.g., cardboardy, painty, nasty) then it's OK. If it gets wet/moist, then it's not going to stay very long, otherwise I would expect it to get rancid or dry out first...neither one is dangerous.

But as the others said...let us know how it works.
Tom

Tohru Ohnuki
(erdferkel) - F

Locale: S. California
Re: Re: Re: How stable is shelf stable bacon on 10/20/2011 20:13:55 MDT Print View

"...if you don't see mold growing on it and it doesn't taste rancid (e.g., cardboardy, painty, nasty) then it's OK."

Once, in my former career in radio, there was a poster of Elvis in the air studio with a powered donut stuck where the mouth was. It had been there for a few years, the grease from the donut had worked its way into the paper making a dark circle bigger than a foot across. Right before we moved and left that facility forever, one of the morning show jocks dared another to eat the donut, which he did to much disgust, but no ill effect.

Eric Blumensaadt
(Danepacker) - MLife

Locale: Mojave Desert
Turkey bacon - microwaved on 10/23/2011 21:21:59 MDT Print View

I've taken microwaved turkey bacon on my last several backpacking trips to crumble and mix with scrambled eggs or just eat separately or for sandwiches. It keeps in a snack size Ziploc for over a week with no problem.

I've found Oscar Meyer turkey bacon tastes best.