Does Summer Sausage Go Bad? Here’s What You Need to Know

Summer sausages are famous for their taste and long lifespan. But does summer sausage go bad? How to tell if this food is still edible?

We will discuss this food’s lifespan and storing tips. You can learn some indicators to check for its quality. Let’s read to discover! 

Does Summer Sausage Go Bad?

The answer is yes. Summer sausage lasts a long time, yet it will spoil in the end. The lifespan of this food depends on its storage condition and type.

Storage condition

Your food can remain good for months when unopened and stored in the refrigerator. Its average duration is as follows:

Refrigerated1 month > 6 months 
Unrefrigerated 1 – 4 days 3 – 6 months
  • Opened vs. Unopened

When opened, your food contacts air, moisture, and bacteria in the air. Hence, its shelf life will reduce significantly. 

Prepared summer sausages don’t last long since moisture accumulates and cuts down their longevity. They can only stay at room temperature for several hours. 

It would be best to keep your food unopened in a cool, well-ventilated area. Then, it can remain edible for months.  

  • Refrigerated vs. Unrefrigerated

Although many summer sausages do not need refrigeration, storing them at an insufficient temperature can accelerate the degradation of the meat.

These products can resist heat and moisture. However, refrigerating can help extend its longevity.

This idea is especially true if you have opened the package or sliced the meat. 

If the meat you buy has a label saying “Needs refrigeration,” it’s not genuine summer sausage. Then, refrigeration is a must for it. 

After all, the ideal storage conditions for these products are:

  • Unopened 
  • Refrigerated
  • Away from moisture and heat 

If you follow these guidelines, the meat retains its quality for up to six months.

Type of summer sausage

The life span of the meat varies depending on the type.

For example, you have to eat dethawed summer sausage straight away, while semi-dry products can last for one to two months when refrigerated. 

Each product has a specific preservation technique. If your food doesn’t contain Lacto fermentation, it may spoil faster. Meanwhile, some manufacturers add preservatives to their products to last permanently in the refrigerator.

How To Tell If Summer Sausages Have Gone Bad?

Cooked food shows more signs of spoiling than uncooked one because the moisture content exposes it to more bacteria. In general, you can check the color and smell to determine if your food is still edible. 


Discoloration triggered by a lack of nitrates and nitrites when the sausages spoil is one of the most noticeable signs.

These compounds are preservatives that help the meat last longer. However, without their barrier, the flesh degrades much faster than usual.

It’s also crucial to examine the texture. Bacteria have begun to develop on the surface of spoiled meat, making it somewhat slippery and sticky. 


Another sign of bad summer sausages is a terrible odor. It’s worth noting that as the flesh ages, this symptom can worsen.

Why Can Summer Sausage Last For So Long?

Although the food may spoil over time, especially when stored improperly, it has a long lifespan thanks to the three preservation methods

Salt curing

One of the most popular techniques is to cure the meat with salt.

The chemicals used in this method keep meat red and prevent Clostridium botulinum, the germ that induces botulism food poisoning.  

Unfortunately, nitrites and nitrates produce carcinogenic nitrosamines at extreme temps.

As a result, some people cure their food with sodium erythorbate. Meanwhile, some use alkaline phosphates to the meat’s water retention capacity. 


Fermentation is a traditional preservation method. It entails treating the meat with a harmless bacteria that can generate acid as it expands.

This method reduces the pH level of the meat to inhibit the growth of many dangerous bacteria and hence improves the meat’s shelf life.

This technique makes your food have a similar tangy taste to citric acid. It works as a solution to maintain microorganisms for the subsequent fermentation stage.


Drying decreases moisture, limiting microbial growth. Dry sausages can stay at room temperature for the longest time.

Smoking is also an excellent drying idea. Aside from preventing microbial growth, this method can add a deep flavor to the meat. 

Can You Eat Summer Sausage Past The Expiration Date?

Yes, you can, as long as the package is still in good condition and you store the meat correctly. 

There is a “Best By” date on the package. However, this date doesn’t imply safety; instead, it indicates how long the product can keep its best texture and flavor.

It’s necessary to check for any spoiling signs before eating, such as smell and color. If you spot any problems, throw the meat away. 

Can You Freeze Summer Sausages?

Yes, you can freeze the meat as long as it hasn’t been past the expiration date or begun to spoil. Freezing is an effective storing method, helping your food last permanently. 

However, many people still prefer refrigerating as freezing may affect the sausage’s texture.

Some brands even recommend not freezing their products. If you still want to, consume frozen food within one year.


Opened summer sausages can last for one to four days at room temperature.

You’d better leave them unopened and store them in the refrigerator to maximize their lifespan. Your food can remain their quality for up to six months. 

Hopefully, you will find this article helpful. For any further information, please feel free to ask.

Thank you for visiting Health’s Kitchen!

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