Buying pork in bulk is much more affordable than buying it in smaller quantities. And the best practice to preserve them is refrigerating until needed to prevent bacterial infestation.
However, when you need it, you’ll want to thaw/defrost the pork to make it easier to cook.
Refrigerator thawing is the most popular of all thawing options. But how long should this thawed pork remain refrigerated?
Thawed pork can safely remain refrigerated for five days. Beyond this period, it’s likely to spoil, becoming a favorable breeding ground for bacteria. Thawed pork becomes rancid faster than meat you haven’t frozen before. So if you notice you won’t need it again after thawing, refreeze it or cook it, but don’t let it stay in the fridge anymore.
There’s still more to learn about thawing pork and its safe duration in a fridge or if you can refreeze it after thawing. So, stick around to find out.
How Long Can Raw Pork Stay in the Fridge After Thawing?
Raw pork can only stay for three days minimum and five days maximum in a fridge without becoming rancid.
Since this meat comes from pigs, it harbors a specific harmful bacteria that increases its spoilage span, making it susceptible to quick deterioration.
It is only safe to store pork for more than five days in the freezer. This method makes the raw pork less favorable for any harmful microorganism to live.
The freezer is at 32 degrees Fahrenheit, which is colder than a fridge, around 104 degrees Fahrenheit. Hence, a fridge doesn’t do much to slow down spoilage.
Most importantly, remember that this specific duration for storing meat and other food comes from health experts. So you must prioritize following their guidelines.
Notice that the average span ranges between three to five days, implying that the pork can still be safe or even unsafe within these days.
Hence, you must be cautious even on the third day. Inspect the pork to confirm it has no negative changes, no matter how little.
If you notice any changes, it would be best to discard them. Handle pork safely regardless of what type, and refrigerate them properly.
You can also learn more about handling & storing this meat to prevent contamination.
And the helpful tips mentioned will help you thaw and refrigerate better.
How Long Can Thawed Pork Chops Stay Refrigerated?
You should refrigerate thawed pork chops for only five days maximum.
Defrosting these pork chops should happen only when you want to use them soon because they can spoil once they exceed their specified duration.
You can learn how to detect spoiled thawed pork chops to know when to dispose of them instead of consumption.
Below are explanations of thawing by refrigerating and the other two acceptable thawing methods.
#1. Thawing by Refrigeration
Refrigerating thawed pork is the best method for meat you don’t wish to use immediately and is also easy.
However, it’s time-consuming, so you must plan when you want to use pork.
Thawing food in the fridge doesn’t require you to check on it every time, as it’s safe in the refrigerator for longer.
#2. Thawing in Cold Water
You can thaw sealed pork chops in cold water running from a faucet or in a bowl of cold water.
But be mindful of changing the water every half an hour after it loses ice; continue until the pork defrosts.
#3. Thawing in the Microwave
Thawing pork in the microwave is also a good option, but it might cause unevenly thawed pork chops.
Hence, it’s best only to defrost meat in the microwave if you’ll be cooking it.
While thawing can depend on your preferred style, it doesn’t mean all thawing methods are safe or acceptable.
You can find tips here on what to avoid when thawing frozen food to avoid risking your health.
Can You Refreeze Thawed Pork?
The best practice is to cook pork if you thaw it in cold water or the microwave.
And this is because following these thawing methods might permit the pork to move further into the danger zone between 140-284 degrees Fahrenheit.
Unfortunately, this temperature range is unsafe for refreezing, so you must cook them immediately.
On the other hand, it’s safe to refreeze pork you thawed in the fridge as long as it doesn’t exceed the specified three to five days limit.
However, the pork may lose some moisture, becoming drier than it originally was.
Aside from raw pork and pork chops, there are still other pork meat forms you can thaw. They include ground pork, cooked pork, and roasted pork.
But these types, especially cooked pork, require more caution as they can effortlessly become contaminated.
There’s a recommended period for thawing pork meats and freezing them to ensure they don’t lose their flavor and original fine texture.
And the table below shows how long you should thaw and freeze this meat in the fridge and freezer since they’re the safest methods.
|Pork Type||Fridge Storage Period (104 °F or below)||Freezer Storage Period (40° F)|
|Thawed pork meat||Three to five days||Four to six months|
|Thawed pork chops||Three to five days||Four to six months|
|Thawed cooked pork||Three to four days||Two to three months|
|Thawed ground Pork||One to two days||Three to four months|
|Thawed roasted pork||Three to five days||Four to six months|
#1. How Long Should Thawed Pork be Left Out?
You should only thaw meat out for two hours or less at a temperature of 90 degrees Fahrenheit. Doing otherwise leaves the pork vulnerable to bacteria.
#2. Can I Cook Frozen Pork Without Thawing?
Yes, you can. However, ensure to cook the meat evenly before eating, so take your time.
#3. Why isn’t Hot-Water Thawing Safe?
Hot water thawing works. But it makes it easy for bacteria to grow and starts cooking the outer layer of the pork before the inside even defrosts.
Thawing frozen pork before use is a conventional practice, but it’s not the only way, as you can cook the meat without thawing.
However, you must follow the proper thawing practices if you choose to defrost the pork before cooking.
And most importantly, follow the specified thawing span and avoid unrecommended practices that can make thawed pork unsafe for consumption.