How to store pork

As ‘use by’, ‘sell by’ and ‘best before’ dates continue to confuse us, here are the common questions we’re asked about how to store pork safely.

How should pork and pork products be stored? ​

Fresh pork and pork products like sausages and bacon should always be kept in the fridge, which should be at least 5°C and stored on the bottom shelf.

Always keep cooked and raw meats separate, in the fridge and during any food preparation.

How long should pork and pork products stay in the fridge for?

Refer to the use-by date of the meat. If you purchased meat from a butcher, and it doesn’t have a label on, keep in the fridge for up to 2 days.

Can I store pork leftovers and eat on a later date? ​

If you’ve cooked your pork dish and there are some leftovers, cool them at room temperature – ideally within two hours, cover and stick in the fridge.

Always ensure cooked food is stored separately to raw meats and fish.  Eat your leftovers within two days by reheating thoroughly and it’s piping hot in the middle. If you have a meat thermometer, check it reaches 70°C for up to 2 minutes.

Try some of our recipes for leftover pulled pork

Can I freeze fresh pork? ​

If you’re not ready to eat your pork yet, it’s perfectly safe to freeze fresh pork. Ensure the pork is in a sealed freezer bag, the seal of the bag will help avoid the cold air drying out the meat or making it tough through freezer burn.

Avoid having UFOs (Unidentified Frozen Objects!) in your freezer by clearing labelling foods and the date they were frozen. You can freeze meat during any point prior to its use-by date. Follow any instructions on the packaging about how long to keep in the freezer. If there are no instructions, we’d recommend eating within three to six months of freezing – in order to maintain the quality of the product.

Can I cook pork from frozen? ​

All meat should be defrosted before cooking, and pork is no different. If you’re intending to cook straight away, defrosting in the microwave is fine.

If not, defrost overnight in the fridge to ensure it is thoroughly defrosted. Remember, as the meat thaws there will be lots of liquid, so ensure you stand it in a bowl and store towards the bottom of the fridge.