Guanciale is an Italian cured meat that is made from pork jowl or cheek. It has a strong flavor and is often used in dishes like carbonara and amatriciana.
Guanciale needs to be refrigerated after opening and slicing it, but before that refrigeration is not compulsory. It will last for about two weeks in the refrigerator. It is traditionally stored at room temperature in a cool, dry place.
However, it can also be frozen for up to six months. Guanciale is not typically eaten raw and does not need to be refrigerated before cooking.
When and Why Does Guanciale Need Refrigeration?
Guanciale needs to be refrigerated after opening because it is cured meat. Cured meats are meat that has been treated with salt and other spices to preserve it.
Guanciale does not need to be refrigerated before cooking because it is cooked at a high temperature, which kills any bacteria that may be present.
Guanciale is cured meat and it does not need refrigeration till a certain time. But once it has been opened and cut into slices, the inner portions are then exposed to air without the protective layer of salt and spices.
When these meats are not refrigerated after cutting, the bacteria in the meat can grow and contaminate the salt and spices then cause food poisoning.
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Refrigeration of Guanciale
Guanciale should be refrigerated in a sealed container. It is best to store it in the refrigerator’s meat drawer. This will keep it away from other food items and prevent cross-contamination.
Guanciale should be stored in the refrigerator in a sealed container. It is best to wrap it in cling film or in a vacuum-sealed bag in the refrigerator for maximum shelf life. It can also be frozen for a minimum of six months.
The taste of guanciale will keep changing the longer it is kept in the refrigerator. If refrigerated, make sure to thaw it completely before cooking.
However, guanciale should be refrigerated after cooking to prevent the growth of bacteria but it is just fine to keep it at cool room temperature if it is properly cured. Some say, cured guanciale can be stored at room temperature for months.
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Does the Traditional Method of Preserving Guanciale Involve Refrigeration?
The traditional way to preserve guanciale is to rub the outer with either only salt or with both salt and spices as a preservative. The aim of this is to inhibit bacteria growth and limit moisture loss.
The next step is aging, the meat is dried for the aging process. The Italians hang the guanciale in a cool, dry place with good ventilation for two months. In this traditional method, does refrigeration come into play?
Guanciale does not have to be refrigerated as part of the traditional preserving process.
However, if you are uncomfortable with not refrigerating it, you can certainly do so without any negative impacts on the flavor or texture of the guanciale. Just be sure to keep it in a tightly sealed container
In terms of storage, guanciale does best when hung or placed in a cool environment where there is good ventilation.
This will limit the amount of moisture that the guanciale absorbs, keeping it in better condition for a longer period of time. If you are not able to hang it or don’t have a cool, dry place to store it, placing it in the refrigerator is your next best option.
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Some say that guanciale does not require refrigeration if it is well-cured and will last for about two weeks at room temperature. Others recommend refrigerating the guanciale as a precautionary measure.
The general consensus seems to be that, while it is not absolutely necessary, refrigerating guanciale will extend its shelf life. And it is a must to refrigerate when guanciale has been cut and there are leftovers.
Guanciale is a great way to add flavor to your dishes, so don’t let the refrigerator scare you away from using it.