How long does deli turkey last in the fridge (+3 storage tips)

In this brief guide, we are going to answer the question “how long does deli turkey last in the fridge” with an in-depth analysis of the shelf life of a deli turkey in different conditions. Moreover, we are going to discuss the ways to properly freeze the turkey and the different ways to tell if your turkey has gone bad.

So without much ado, let’s dive in and figure out more about it.

How long does deli turkey last in the fridge?

An opened box of deli turkey lasts for about 3-5 days if stored at approximately 40°F or below in the fridge according to the standards set by the USDA.

The unopened box of deli turkey or any other lunch meats lasts for about 2 weeks in the fridge when stored appropriately.  It is basically the cool temperature of the refrigerator that decreases the rate of bacterial growth on the food when stored appropriately.

When it comes to the deli turkey you should always consider the best by date written on the package. 

What is the optimum temperature to store deli turkey?

You should always store your turkey at 40°F or below. Bacterial growth takes place at a faster pace between the temperature of 40°F and 140°F, therefore it is always advised to store your turkey at a lower temperature.

How long does deli turkey last at room temperature?

Deli turkey lasts for about 2 hours when kept at room temperature. You should discard the deli turkey that has been left in open for more than 2 hours as bacterial growth takes place at a faster pace between the temperature of 40°F and 140°F, therefore there are greater chances of the deli turkey being already contaminated with bacteria when left out for more than 2 hours.

How long does deli turkey last in the freezer?

Deli turkey if kept wrapped in an aluminum foil in an air-tight container or heavy-duty freezer containers can last for about 1-2 months in the freezer. Thus properly storing the deli turkey in the freezer will increase its shelf life considerably owing to the cool temperature of the freezer that halts the bacterial growth on the turkey.

How to prepare the deli turkey for freezing?

  1. In case of the prepackaged deli turkey that has not been opened yet, you can directly freeze it in the freezer. It will be better to wrap the box in aluminum foil or some plastic covering to save your turkey from the freezer burns.
  2. If you have opened the box of the deli turkey and now have to store the slices of it then it is recommended to store them in a plastic freezer bag by laying a layer of wax paper between each turkey slice so that you can take out the exact number of slices that you need to cook without much labor. We recommend you to do that vacuum sealing in case you are using the plastic freezer bags for storing the slices of turkey.
  3. If you have large pieces of turkey and you want to store them in the freezer it is recommended to do the vacuum sealing in a plastic bag and afterward store it in heavy-duty freezer containers to not only prolong the shelf life of turkey but also prevent the freezer burn.

How to defrost deli turkey?

The recommended way to thaw the frozen deli turkey is to leave it in the refrigerator overnight and let it thaw there. 

Conversely, you can thaw the frozen deli turkey in a bowl of cold water but you should reheat and use it immediately after thawing. Moreover, if you are thawing and reheating the deli turkey in the oven or microwave it is recommended to use it immediately. 

How to tell if the turkey has gone bad?

You can tell whether or not your turkey has gone bad by considering its appearance, texture, and smell.

Appearance

If you can see some off-coloration or if you can spot molds or dark spots on the surface of the turkey then it is the indication that your turkey has gone bad.

Texture

If you can feel something slimy or gooey while touching the turkey then it means that your turkey has gone bad. 

Smell

If you can smell something acidic, sour, or some ammonia smell then it means that your turkey has gone bad and you should discard it. 

Conclusion

In this brief guide, we answered the question “how long does deli turkey last in the fridge” with an in-depth analysis of the shelf life of a deli turkey in different conditions. Moreover, we discussed the ways to properly freeze the turkey and the different ways to tell if your turkey has gone bad.

Citations

https://www.stilltasty.com/fooditems/index/18571

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Mahnoor Asghar is a Clinical Nutritionist with a bachelor's degree in Nutrition and Dietetics. She is compassionate and dedicated to playing her part in the well-being of the masses. She wants to play a fruitful role in creating nutrition and health-related awareness among the general public. Additionally, she has a keen eye for detail and loves to create content related to food, nutrition, health, and wellness.

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