You will likely have at least a few cans of Spam in your pantry. The question is, what happens when you open them? How do leftovers get used up? Do you let them sit in the fridge until you are ready to make Spam musubi? Or do you keep it in the cupboard and hope it lasts until the end? Not if you want to save money and minimize waste!
Here are the short answers on how to store Spam after opening.
- Keep your Spam in the fridge: This is the most common way to store Spam after opening. Simply pop your Spam into the refrigerator, and it will stay fresh for three to five days.
- Freeze your Spam: If you want it to last even longer, try freezing it. Once frozen, Spam retains its best quality for up to six months. Simply thaw it in the fridge overnight before using.
- Dehydrate and freeze: Dehydrating Spam is a great way to extend its shelf life. Rehydrate it in warm water before using it. Dehydrated Spam will last for years when stored properly.
- Vacuum seal and freeze: If you have a vacuum sealer, you can vacuum seal your Spam. The resulting seal will keep it fresh for two years or more.
How to store Spam after opening?
“Best if used by” dates are usually printed at the bottom of the packaging. This date refers to the expected peak quality of the product. After this date, the product may not taste as good but is still safe to eat. It keeps for a long time if you store it right. Most of us likely keep a few cans of Spam in our pantry. The question is, how long do they last once opened?
The following are instructions for storing Spam after opening so that you can extend its shelf life.
1 Refrigerate Spam after opening:
Spam in the fridge lasts about 3 to 5 days after opening. Keep each slice from drying out by wrapping each in a cling wrap or aluminum foil.
Once that is done, you can use an airtight container to keep the Spam fresh, preventing humidity from accumulating and spoiling it quickly. If you don’t wrap or store the Spam properly, the flavor will soon get lost in the dry atmosphere of the fridge.
Here’s the step-by-step guide on how to do it:
Take out the amount of Spam you want to use from the can. This way, you won’t have to worry about covering and uncovering the can whenever you want a Spam slice.
Cut it into thin slices, if desired. Doing this will make it easier to grab a piece when you’re ready to cook. Likewise, a simple cling wrap will suffice if you plan on freezing them. However, this would be your next step.
Wrap each piece in cling wrap or aluminum foil. By doing this, the Spam will stay moist and prevent drying out.
Put the wrapped spam slices into an airtight container and store them in the fridge. For the best taste and texture, eat within 3 to 5 days.
2 Store in the freezer:
Store Spam in the freezer for up to six months if you wish to keep it fresher longer. The shelf life, in this case, refers to the best quality only. There will still be no risk of contamination after that. However, the quality will have declined. To avoid freezer burn, wrap it tightly in foil or plastic wrap.
You can read my detailed post here on how to freeze Spam the right way.
Here’s the step-by-step guide on how to do it:
Open the can and take out the amount of Spam you need. The goal here is to prevent the Spam from being exposed to air, which can cause it to dry out.
When storing Spam, I generally flash freeze it. To prepare them, I slice them thinly and lay them on a baking sheet layered with parchment paper. Ensure that the Spam slices do not touch each other so they will not stick together.
Place the baking sheet in the freezer for about 2 hours or until the Spam is frozen solid. Once the food is frozen, wrap each slice with foil or plastic film to prevent freezer burn.
Afterward, you can transfer the spam slices into a freezer-safe bag or an airtight container for storage. If you’re using freezer bags, remove as much air as possible before sealing.
And that’s it! You can now store your Spam in the freezer for up six months to enjoy the best quality. But remember, keeping the food at a low temperature can extend its shelf life. It’s essential to label your bags with the date of storage so you know when to eat them.
3 Vacuum sealed and freeze it
Another option for long-term storage is to vacuum-seal the Spam. This will maintain its freshness for twelve months. Additionally, this will prevent freezer burn and preserve the taste of the meat.
Vacuum sealing keeps air and moisture away from food, making it perfect for long-term storage. Using this method, you can also portion the meat into individual servings to take as much as you need whenever possible.
Here’s the step-by-step guide on how to do it:
Cut the Spam into thin slices. Divide them into servings if desired.
Position your vacuum sealer so that the opening is facing up.
Place the slices of Spam into the food saver bags.
Insert the end of the bag into the vacuum sealer.
Seal the bag according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
Label and date the bags. For optimal freshness for one year, store the bags in the freezer.
Spam can be a great addition to your food storage, but you need to store it properly. Using one of these methods, you can extend Spam’s shelf life and ensure it stays fresh.
4 Dehydrate and freeze it:
When you open the Spam, you’re racing against time before the meat spoils. If you plan on storing the Spam for a more extended period, you need to take measures to prevent it from going bad.
Dehydrating the meat is one way to do it, and it can last for a longer time when stored properly. By removing the water content, you can keep Spam fresh for up to six months at its peak quality. When meat is contaminated with mold, bacteria, and yeast, it is vulnerable to spoilage. Dehydrating meat can prevent these spoilers from growing.
This process will make the meat last longer and taste better when rehydrated. It also intensifies the flavor of the meat—the perfect snack for hikers, campers, and road trips.
What are the benefits of dehydrating Spam?
- Aside from removing water content that could spoil the meat, dehydrating also intensifies the flavor of the Spam. People who enjoy strong flavors will love it.
- When re-hydrating, the meat will also have a more intense flavor. You can temper tastes by adding water if they are too strong.
- The dehydrating process can also help preserve Spam for a long time. When stored properly, it can last up to six months without losing its quality.
- As well as reducing its volume, it occupies less space. It is ideally suited to those on the go or with limited storage space.
The process is also simple and doesn’t require any special equipment. All you need is a dehydrator and some patience while waiting for the meat to dry out.
Here’s the step-by-step on how to do it:
Slice the Spam into slices about ¼-inch thick (like beef jerky) or cut it into bite-sized cubes. Slice the meat with a meat slicer if you have one to ensure even thickness. Alternatively, a sharp knife will suffice.
Place the slices on a dehydrator tray and set the temperature to 145 degrees Fahrenheit. As a result, the meat will be preserved, and bacteria won’t grow.
Dry for 6 to 8 hours, or until the meat is dry and leathery. It’s okay if there is still some moisture in the center of the slices. Why is that? Keeping the muscle fibers moist in the middle of the slice keeps them from becoming too tough. This moisture is essential if you plan to cook the Spam after dehydrating it.
Wipe off as much oil as possible with a paper towel as they get oily due to the high-fat content. Portion your hydrated Spam and vacuum seal using food saver bags. Once the slices are dry, let the meat cool completely before storage.
Label and date the bags or containers, then store them in the freezer. When ready to use, rehydrate the Spam by soaking it in water. If you store it in the fridge, it will last up to 2 weeks. If it is kept in the freezer, it can last up to 5 years.
How to rehydrate Spam?
Rehydrating Spam is super simple. All you need is a bowl and water. Allow the Spam to soak in warm water for about two hours or until it is completely rehydrated.
Upon rehydration, you can cook it the same as other meat. You can fry, bake, or grill it. You can also use other liquids like milk, broth, or even pineapple juice to add more flavor, but this is optional.
Here’s the step-by-step guide on how to do it:
Soak the Spam in warm water for at least 2 hours or up to the point of being rehydrated. The meat will only re-absorb as much water as it needs, so don’t worry about overdoing it.
With a paper towel, pat the Spam dry after it has been rehydrated. If you’re not going to use it right away, wrap it tightly in plastic wrap and store it in the fridge for up to 2 days.
Drain the water and place the Spam in a pan. Over low heat, stir in your favorite sauce or seasoning until heated through.
How to use rehydrated Spam in recipes?
Rehydrated Spam can be used in a number of recipes or as part of a meal.
In soups or stews:
You can add a boost of protein and flavor to soups or stews with rehydrated Spam. Simply add the desired amount of Spam to the soup or stew during the last few minutes of cooking. Spam absorbs the flavor of the soup or stew during this time.
As a replacement for ground beef:
Rehydrated Spam can also replace ground beef in recipes such as tacos, burritos, or shepherd’s pie. The rehydrated Spam should be cooked until browned before adding it to the recipe.
In stir-fries or rice dishes:
Rehydrated Spam can be added to stir-fries or rice dishes instead of chicken, beef, or pork.
Simply cook the Spam in a bit of oil until browned and add it to the dish during the last few minutes of cooking. The Spam will soak up the flavors from the dish while cooking.
As a pizza topping:
Try adding rehydrated Spam to your next pizza along with pineapple, onions, and jalapeños for a Hawaiian-style pizza. Or with your other favorite toppings and bake as usual.
In omelets or scrambled eggs:
You can add rehydrated Spam to omelets or scrambled eggs for a protein-packed breakfast. Cook the Spam until slightly browned, and add it to the eggs during the last few minutes of cooking.
As a protein-packed snack:
Spam can be rehydrated and eaten as a snack. Add some spices or herbs for flavor, if desired.
When rehydrated, Spam can also be eaten as is. Just slice it and enjoy it as you would any other deli meat. Spam is also good served with crackers or bread, as part of a sandwich, or as an appetizer. Simply slice the Spam thinly and serve with your favorite dipping sauce.
Can you refrigerate dehydrated Spam for storage?
Yes, you can refrigerate dehydrated Spam for storage. Bacteria need moisture to grow, so by dehydrating the Spam, you are essentially killing any bacteria that may be present.
However, since Spam is oily even after dehydrating, it’s best to store it in the fridge or freezer in an airtight container. This will help to prevent Spam from going rancid if not stored properly.
To refrigerate dehydrated Spam, place it in an airtight container and store it in the fridge for up to 2 weeks. It could last for up to 5 years when stored properly. If you plan to keep it longer, it’s best to freeze it.
Dehydrated Spam can be a great way to have Spam on hand for recipes or quick snacks.
Does Spam need refrigeration after opening?
Technically, no. But opening canned products introduce bacteria that can cause spoilage. However, it is always best to err on the side of caution and refrigerate Spam after opening.
Additionally, while the canning process does kill bacteria, it does not remove all bacteria from the product. Because of this, bacteria can still grow on open canned goods stored at room temperature. The reason you should always refrigerate canned foods after they have been opened, including Spam.
If you intend to refrigerate Spam, wrap it tightly with plastic or store it in a tightly sealed container. This way, the Spam will stay fresher for longer.
How long does Spam last in the fridge?
Among Spam’s advantages is that it has a long shelf life and can be stored at room temperature unopened. Just make sure it’s stored somewhere cool and dry.
Spam is resistant to spoilage because it contains sodium nitrite. However, once opened, it should be refrigerated and used within 3-5 days for the best flavor and texture.
How long before Spam expires?
How long is Spam good for? Spam does go bad, and all of these questions are valid. However, Spam has a much longer shelf life than most other foods. In the same way as all food, it will deteriorate eventually and become unfit for consumption.
It will lose flavor and quality over time despite never truly going bad. Since there is no expiration date, it is best to consume Spam within 3-5 years of the production date. After that, it will still be safe to eat, but the flavor and texture will not be as good. Spam has a very long shelf life, thanks to the high sodium content. Keep in mind, though, that it must be refrigerated and used within three to five days once opened.
Can you eat expired Spam?
Yes, you can eat expired Spam, provided the seal is intact, and no bulging or puncture is present. Spam’s flavor and texture have deteriorated if it is older than five years. In any case, as long as it has been stored properly, Spam will be safe to eat even after the expiration date. This is according to the foodsafety.gov website.
That means it’s probably okay to eat Spam a few weeks or even a couple of months after the expiration date. However, the longer it sits, the more the quality will decline, so it’s best to eat it sooner rather than later.
How can you tell if Spam is bad?
The ease of using Spam is that it comes in a can, and if the can is unopened, you can be sure that the Spam is still good. However, if you have already opened the can, you might be wondering how you can tell if it has gone bad. Unless, of course, the can is bulging or dented, in which case, you should throw it away.
#1. Discoloration of the Spam.
The first thing you should do is check the color of the Spam. If it has turned a different color than when you first opened it, you should discard it.
#2. Slimy or mushy texture.
An indication that Spam has gone spoiled is if it has developed a slimy or mushy texture. You should throw the Spam away if it feels tacky or sticky to touch.
#3. Funky smell.
Another way to tell if Spam has gone bad is by smelling it. Spam that smells sour or rancid is spoiled. Throw it away. The best course of action is to get rid of rotten meat since nobody wants to eat it.
#4. Expiration date.
Check the expiration date. Spam that is older than five years will have diminished flavor and texture. As a safety measure, it’s best to toss it.
#5. Bulging or dented.
Inspect the can for bulges, dented, or punctures. The Spam that contains this indicator has gone bad. Specifically, if the can is damaged or not sealed properly, bacteria can get inside and spoil the Spam.