Before doing the smell test, which is not very scientific, read this table of recommended time periods by agencies accredited by the Food Safety, Consumer and European Food Information Council. And remember: when in doubt and you “don’t know when you’re going to eat it”, freeze it.
- Bacon and pancetta: 7 days, especially if they are not cured, smoked or marinated
- Fresh sausages: 1 or 2 days, so hurry!
- Ground meat or ready-made hamburgers: same as sausages, they quickly lose their moisture
- Raw meat (beef, lamb or pork): 3 to 5 days. Big cuts last longer than smaller or thinner cuts like fillets, that might lose blood and turn grey.
- Leftovers: meat (red as well as white) is perfectly preserved for 3 to 4 days in the refrigerator after it has been cooked, and so you can take a breather. What is more important to consider is the time the food spends outside the fridge before you store it, because the bacteria use this period at room temperature to multiply. Thus, as soon as the food gets to room temperature, you need to store this in airtight containers (never use the same pot that you cooked the food in) and divide it into the smallest portions possible so that it can more quickly become cold.