Tips&TricksSpoiling your sandwich. Common deli meat storage mistakes and how to fix them

Spoiling your sandwich. Common deli meat storage mistakes and how to fix them

Thanks to this method, my cold cuts are always fresh.
Thanks to this method, my cold cuts are always fresh.
Images source: © Freepik
6:03 AM EST, January 2, 2024

Most of us don't realize that we're making continuing mistakes, especially where the storage of deli meats is concerned. These mistakes often result in the meats ending up in the trash rather than on a sandwich. If you enjoy deli meats, it's important to remember a few fundamental rules to keep them delicious and fresh for longer.

How should you not store deli meats?

Deli meats are typically purchased in a plastic wrap, which is practical. This form of packaging allows you to select your desired ham type quickly and confidently. However, most of us tend not to remove the deli meat from its original packaging before storing it in the refrigerator, only opening it when we feel like having some.

Such a practice, though typical, is a huge mistake. Keeping deli meat in its original packaging allows it to absorb fridge moisture, which can fast-track spoilage even before you have a chance to eat it. It is also not advisable to shift the deli meat into aluminum foil as soon as you get home, as such a method also promotes rapid meat spoilage. Due to insufficient air access, a characteristic slime appears on the meat wrapped in foil, signaling it has started rotting.

How should you store deli meats?

Deli meats must be stored in the refrigerator, as lower temperatures slow the spoilage process. The ideal storage temperature should be between 35.6 and 42.8 degrees Fahrenheit. Choosing the correct container is also essential - neither aluminum foil nor plastic wrap is perfect. Glass containers are becoming popular as they are aesthetically pleasing and convenient. However, these containers are only suitable for dried or smoked meats that don't require much air exposure.

Upon purchasing, it is best to wrap the deli meat in paper or packaging made from it. Paper rapidly absorbs excess moisture. This way, the meat stays fresh longer, extending your enjoyment.

Besides refrigeration and packaging, the form in which we buy deli meats also influences its freshness. Sliced meats are convenient but quickly lose freshness because of their larger surface area. A better option would be to buy a chunk of ham and cut it yourself home. Not only will this extend the shelf life of the meat, but it also offers a fresher taste with each slice.

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