| | |

Can You Freeze Bologna?

*This post may contain affiliate links. Please see my disclosure to learn more.

It is all too easy to go a bit over the top at the deli store, coming home with far more bologna than you intended! In most households, these succulent slices of cured meat will be devoured within a day or two of purchase. 

But what if you’re not going to eat all that delicious bologna before it reaches its use-by date? You might start to wonder what would happen if you froze your bologna rather than throwing it away.

So, can you freeze bologna? Yes, you can freeze bologna, and bologna that has been frozen and thawed is perfectly safe to eat. It is essential to reduce exposure to moisture and air to ensure there are no changes to the texture or flavor of frozen bologna.

Freezing is a great way to store excess bologna, but it needs to be done correctly to preserve it in the best possible condition. If you think you might need to freeze your bologna, read on to find out the best way to do this!

What Is Bologna?

Bologna is a cold cut of meat that is normally sold in round slices, taken from a larger cured sausage.

These are very different from the types of sausage that you would cook on the barbeque, as they are made with the intention of storing them for very long periods of time.

A bologna sausage consists of a blend of finely ground meat, flavored with a delicate mix of spices, seasonings, and herbs. This is formed into a sausage, traditionally held in a casing made from animal intestines.

This sausage is then cooked and cured by smoking, to add flavor and also act as a preservative. The casing is often removed from bologna, and it is sold in thin slices rather than an entire sausage.

In appearance, bologna is quite a thick sausage, with a salmon pink color. It is firm to touch and should slice easily without crumbling or falling apart.

The name bologna actually comes from an Italian town of the same name, but the sausage made in this location is a world apart from the bologna we know and love.

If you visited Bologna, you would be served a sliced sausage called mortadella.

Mortadella sausage contains similar ingredients to bologna, but they are not so finely ground. You will see visible specks and lumps of the various ingredients in the sliced sausage, quite unlike the plain pink color of bologna.

So why doesn’t the sausage from Bologna look like the bologna we eat in the U.S? The reason for this comes down to how the ingredients are processed.

To make mortadella, the meat is finely ground up or minced.

Under U.S. food processing legislation, the meat and all other ingredients must be pureed into a batter when making bologna. It is this puree that gives our bologna the smooth texture we all know and love.

And in case you are wondering, bologna and baloney are the same things!

So that is how bologna is made. But, what is actually in bologna?

You won’t be surprised to hear that the basis of bologna is meat, but the actual meat content can vary widely between different bologna manufacturers.

It is normally based on a mix of pork and beef, sometimes with some chicken added in too.

Bologna has a reputation for being a low-quality lunch meat, as it is often made with offcuts and waste products from the meat industry.

As the meat is pureed, it is possible to include tougher parts of meat such as skeletal muscle. It is also very common to find organs such as kidneys or liver in bologna.

This might sound a bit off-putting, but it isn’t necessarily a bad thing that these ingredients are included in bologna. After all, we’ve been eating hot dogs for years, and they are made of the same sort of ingredients!

The flavor of bologna that we know and love comes from a unique set of herbs, seasonings, and spices.

These are very similar to the ones used to make mortadella, so if you ever get the chance to try the authentic Italian original version of bologna you will definitely recognize the taste.

Bologna normally contains a mix of coriander, celery seeds, nutmeg, black pepper, and myrtle berries.

All these ingredients work together to create a warm, slightly spicy flavor that works perfectly with the salty meat blend. Some recipes also include mustard, paprika, and beef stock, for a more intense and punchier flavor.

If you have never come across myrtle berries, these potent flavorings come from the Mediterranean and have a slightly astringent, citrusy flavor.

The most similar ingredients to myrtle berries would be rosemary or juniper berries. Myrtle berries add the characteristic slightly spicy flavor to bologna. 

Can You Freeze Bologna?

So, back to that spare bologna that you’ve got lurking in the fridge – can it be frozen to preserve it for longer?

The good news is that not only can bologna be frozen, but it freezes really well!

The low water content and dense texture of bologna mean that it changes very little when frozen, so this is a really useful way to preserve excess bologna slices.

However, there are some tips and tricks you need to know about to keep your bologna in the best possible condition when it is frozen.

Follow these steps and your bologna will be as good as new when defrosted, perfect for an impromptu deli night snack or quick baloney sandwich!

Does Freezing Change the Flavor Or Texture Of Bologna?

Some cooked meats do not freeze well at all, as the high water content can turn the meat mushy when it defrosts. Luckily bologna is a very dense sausage with little water, so it freezes really well!

(Some might say that the texture of bologna is already mushy anyway, but we’d prefer to call it smooth!)

The flavor of bologna also stands up well to freezing and will be exactly the same both before and after freezing.

The only time you may notice a difference in the flavor or texture of bologna after freezing is if it has been frozen for too long, or it has freezer burn. This may result in bologna that is dry and chewy, with a distinctive loss in flavor.

To prevent this from happening, it is essential that your bologna is prepared correctly for freezing, and that it is not frozen for longer than the recommended time.

How To Prepare Bologna For Freezing

Like most frozen foods, there are two real problems when it comes to freezing – air and moisture. Luckily, bologna has a very low water content, so we don’t need to worry about this aspect so much.

However, too much air will quickly cause your bologna to deteriorate, along with the dreaded freezer burn!

If you’ve got an unopened vacuum pack of bologna, this can be popped straight into the freezer just as it is. To minimize the risk of freezer burn, pop the pack of bologna inside another bag or wrap it in aluminum foil.

But what if you’ve opened the vacuum pack of bologna – can this be frozen?

If you can reseal the package without any air inside then it is perfectly OK to freeze your bologna in its original packaging. If this isn’t possible, then transfer the bologna into an airtight Ziploc bag.

This is also the best technique to use if you’ve got fresh bologna from the deli counter or butchery. This is normally sliced freshly when you buy it and will not be vacuum-packed.

Squishing all the air out of a Ziploc bag isn’t always the easiest thing to do, but we’ve got a great little tip for you!

Put your sliced bologna inside the bag, close the zipper until it is almost (but not quite) closed, and squeeze as much air out as possible. Pop a straw inside the gap in the zipper, and suck out as much air as possible.

The bag should shrink around the meat, keeping it safe from that damaging air!

Remove the straw and quickly close the gap in the zipper before any air can seep back into the bag. It’s also a wise idea to invest in a vacuum sealer if you plan on storing more stuff in the freezer in general (this one’s our favorite)!

If you’re freezing a stack of bologna, or like to use just one or two slices at a time, then it is a good idea to find a way to separate them before freezing.

This means you don’t need to defrost the whole lot at once, and can just take as much as you need out of the freezer.

Circles of wax paper placed between each slice of bologna will prevent them from sticking together in the freezer, making it easy to remove as many slices as you need.

Alternatively, you can wrap a few slices together in freezer-safe plastic wrap, then stack these bundles together for freezing.

How To Freeze Bologna

Once you’ve got your bologna safely packaged up, it is time to pop it into the freezer. Don’t forget to label the bag first, with the contents and the date.

Bologna is highly susceptible to freezer burn and needs careful handling to keep it at its best.

Firstly, chill the bologna in its packaging before taking it to the freezer. This will help prevent any sudden increases in temperature in the freezer, which can lead to freezer burn.

It is a good idea to pre-chill all types of food before popping them into the freezer.

When placing your food in the freezer, it might be tempting to stack everything closely together to keep it well frozen.

However, this can actually be counterproductive, as cool air is not able to circulate efficiently around the food. Store food on racks or shelves, with small gaps between them to keep them frozen at the correct temperature.

How Long Can Bologna Be Frozen For?

Provided you’ve stored your bologna correctly in the freezer, it can be stored for 2 months. During this time it will be as good as new when defrosted, meaning you can enjoy this tasty snack for longer!

This is good news if you’re a savvy shopper who likes to buy in bulk, as you can buy a couple of months’ supply of bologna at a time. Then all you need to do is split it into weekly portions and pop it into the freezer.

Things don’t always go to plan in real life, and it isn’t unusual for us to find something lurking at the bottom of the freezer that should have been eaten by now! So, what happens if bologna is frozen for more than 2 months?

The good news is that this bologna can still be used, even if it is freezer burnt or past its best. It can be sliced, chopped, shredded, or torn, and used to flavor casseroles and oven-baked dishes.

How To Defrost Bologna

The simplest way to defrost bologna is by removing it from the freezer and popping it into the refrigerator. It will take several hours to defrost, so it is a good idea to put it in the fridge the day before you need it.

But what if you’re in a hurry or have forgotten to get your bologna out of the freezer? Don’t panic, we’ve got a backup plan for you!

Bologna can be quickly defrosted by putting the airtight bag or container into a water bath. Put some cold water into a bowl or basin, add your bologna slices in their freezer bag, and weigh it down to keep it submerged.

Check the bologna after around 30 minutes. If it still feels frozen solid, change the water and repeat the process again.

When your bologna is soft and moldable it should be defrosted enough to add to a sandwich or cold meat platter. Alternatively, it can be stored in the fridge for up to four days.

Don’t be tempted to defrost your bologna in the microwave, as it takes a matter of seconds for these slices of meat to go from frozen to sizzling. So, unless you particularly want a slice of hot bologna, stick to the water bath method instead!

Related Questions

Now that we’ve gone over how you can freeze bologna safely for storage, let’s take a look at a few related questions on the subject!

How long can bologna be stored in the fridge?

If you’ve bought a vacuum pack of bologna from the fridge section of the store, it will be marked with a use-by date. This type of bologna is normally able to be kept in the refrigerator for longer than fresh bologna from the deli counter.

Once opened, it is advisable to consume the bologna within 7 days. The 7-day limit also applies to freshly sliced bologna. If you are unlikely to eat it within this time, it should be frozen.

How long can bologna be stored at room temperature?

Like many types of food, bologna will start to deteriorate quickly if left out at room temperature. This is because the bacteria responsible for spoiling food can multiply quickly at warm temperatures.

Bologna should not be left out at room temperature for more than 2 hours. If you live in a hot climate where temperatures are consistently high, this time is reduced to just 1 hour.

This means you need to take care when serving bologna at a buffet or in sandwiches, as it will quickly deteriorate to the point where it is no longer safe to eat!

Up Next: Do Jars Have To Be Fully Submerged When Canning?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *