Turkey bacon is considered a healthier alternative to pork bacon. As such, it differs slightly from pork bacon in terms of flavor and texture. So if your turkey bacon is slimy, does that mean it has gone bad? Let’s find out.
Turkey Bacon Slimy
When turkey bacon is slimy, it means it’s no longer fresh. The meat should feel soft and moist to the touch, not slimy or sticky. Sliminess indicates the presence of lactic acid bacteria, which turns up when the meat has gone bad. Other signs of spoilage are a strong, sour odor; a brown or gray color; and patches of green or blue mold.
What is Turkey Bacon?
Although the term bacon is typically reserved for pork products, food manufacturers can use a similar curing process to make turkey bacon.
Most pork bacon is taken from the lower belly of the pig, but it can be made from other parts of the animal as well. The cut doesn’t matter as much as the preparation—true bacon is cured and often smoked. That’s the mindset that led to the creation of turkey bacon.
Turkey bacon is cured, seasoned, and sliced so it resembles pork bacon. Although it’s usually sold fully cooked, it should be reheated until it crisps up.
As the name suggests, the product is made from turkey—chopped and reformulated breast or thigh meat, in most cases. Some manufacturers will include pork in the recipe as well, but if this is the case, it will be clearly stated on the list of ingredients.
Why Buy Turkey Bacon and Not Regular Bacon?
If you’re looking to cut down on calories and saturated fat, turkey bacon is a decent alternative to pork bacon. It’s a good source of protein, and also contains essential nutrients such as iron, zinc, selenium, and vitamins B6 and B12.
One slice of turkey bacon contains just 25 calories, versus 45 calories in the same amount of pork bacon. Similarly, the fat content of turkey bacon is about half that of its pork-based counterpart.
Some people don’t eat pork for religious or other personal reasons. For these individuals, turkey bacon provides a similar experience while allowing them to adhere to their dietary preferences.
Be aware, though, that turkey bacon isn’t the healthiest product you could select. The meat is still highly processed and high in sodium. While it contains less saturated fat than pork bacon, it’s not fat-free, either.
As with all processed meat products, we would recommend consuming turkey bacon in moderation. Use it to flavor dishes, instead of eating a plate of it in one sitting.
How Long Does Turkey Bacon Keep in the Fridge?
When you purchase a package of turkey bacon, the meat should keep in the fridge for 1 to 2 weeks. Due to the curing process, it has a longer shelf life than raw meat products. Once the package is opened, you should heat and consume the turkey bacon within a week.
It’s always preferable to cook meat off as soon as possible after bringing it home. With turkey bacon, you have a bit more leeway, but we would still suggest that you find a use for it within 7 days.
The sell-by date on the package may be able to provide you with a guideline. In general, the turkey bacon should keep for a week or so after this date.
Because these dates aren’t always reliable, though, it’s best if you know how to recognize spoiled turkey bacon when you see it.
Why Is My Turkey Bacon Slimy?
Pork bacon is slippery and a bit greasy to the touch, particularly when it’s made from pork belly. But when you open a package of turkey bacon and it’s coated in a film of slime, is this normal?
The short answer is no. Turkey bacon should not be slimy. We’ll discuss this in further detail in the following section, but if you notice a slimy texture, discard the turkey bacon at once.
How To Tell if Turkey Bacon is Bad
After you’ve checked the dates on the package, use your judgement to decide whether the turkey bacon is still good. The following tests should help you come to the right conclusion.
Depending on how long the turkey bacon has been around, you may be able to tell if it’s bad just by looking at it.
When it’s fresh, turkey bacon should be a natural-looking pink color, with some white streaks of fat running through it. The fat may also be pale yellow in color.
Turkey bacon that’s going bad, meanwhile, will often turn gray or brown. It’s not an instantaneous process, but if you see that the meat is beginning to darken up in patches, then the meat has outlasted its freshness.
Any green or blue spots indicate that the meat has begun to grow mold. If you notice these signs, discard the turkey bacon immediately.
When the product passes the appearance test but you’re still not sure whether it’s still good or not, give it a hearty sniff. Meat that’s gone bad has a distinctive odor, and it’s often so strong that you can pick up on it even from a distance.
Fresh turkey bacon might have a slightly smoky scent, depending on how it was processed. Otherwise, it shouldn’t smell like much of anything besides fresh meat.
On the other hand, if the turkey bacon is bad, it will take on a sour smell. It may even smell like rotten eggs or fish. These are clear indicators of spoilage, meaning it’s time to toss the meat in the trash.
The next time you open a package of turkey bacon, run your finger along the surface of the meat. It should feel soft, tender, and slightly moist.
Spoiled turkey bacon, meanwhile, has developed lactic acid bacteria. This causes slime to develop on the meat’s surface, among other issues.
Any turkey bacon that has a slimy or gooey texture needs to be tossed in the trash. Even if you still wanted to eat it after making such an unappetizing discovery, doing so could lead to stomach upset.
Possible Causes for Spoilage
If your turkey bacon spoiled in the fridge, what went wrong? There are a couple of possibilities.
As we discussed, turkey bacon won’t keep indefinitely. If it stuck around in the fridge for more than a week past its sell-by date, or for more than 2 weeks after you purchased it, that’s probably why it turned the corner.
Opening the package exposes the meat to the air, which hastens spoilage. Make sure to keep the package sealed until you’re ready to cook off the turkey bacon.
A too-high refrigerator temperature might also be to blame. Bacteria thrive at temperatures between 40 and 140 degrees Fahrenheit. Keep your fridge temp set below 40 degrees to ensure that your meat products remain fresh as long as possible.
Can You Freeze Turkey Bacon?
To preserve the life of your turkey bacon, freeze it in its original packaging, or seal it tightly in plastic wrap and zip-top freezer bags. When stored properly in the freezer, it should maintain its quality for about 6 months.
These guidelines apply whether the turkey bacon was heated or “raw” when you froze it. We would suggest thawing and enjoying it as soon as possible to prevent the meat from becoming too dry.
Remember that if the meat was already showing signs of spoilage, freezing it won’t reverse the process. Heating the slices until they’re crisp won’t do any good, either. Once the meat has gone bad, it’s too late to salvage it.
There are several ways to test turkey bacon for freshness. If the meat has a slimy texture, though, it’s a pretty clear indicator that it’s no longer at its best. As always, it’s better to be safe than sorry.