Chorizo is one of those lesser-known meats. Most people either haven’t tried it or simply don’t know much about it. If you DO know about chorizo, then you know just how delightful and versatile it is.
No matter how you make or buy your chorizo, you need options. Just like with any other kind of meat, chorizo only stays fresh for so long so it is important to understand the ins and outs of preserving your chorizo and how you should do so.
The question is can you freeze chorizo? What is the best way to store different types of chorizo? Any chorizo that is not cured can be frozen very easily through a simple process and will last for up to 12 months in the freezer.
We’ve put together a guide to walk you through everything you need to know about how to freeze chorizo and how different varieties of chorizo could be affected by the process. We will share with you everything you should know before you try to freeze or preserve yours.
Keep reading to learn how to freeze various types of chorizo and more.
A Guide to Freezing Chorizo
Chorizo is a form of meat and should be treated like other meats in regards to storage and freezing. There are some differences in chorizo to say your everyday sausage that we will get into as we walk through this guide to freezing your chorizo.
If you’re not very familiar with chorizo, we want to inform you. If you are familiar already then maybe you can learn something new here. To ensure you fully understand how the freezing process could be affected, we want to be sure you truly understand the product.
Chorizo is a meat popular from Portugal and Mexico areas. It is pork sausage that has been processed through a specific process. Chorizo is often put into intestine casings with blends of other pork sausage meat.
There are 2 basic forms of chorizo that you should know about.
- The first closely resembles pepperoni. In European cultures, it is common to ferment, cure, and smoke chorizo sausage to produce spicy, flavorful meat that is comparable to salami or pepperoni in texture and use.
- The other is the most common form of chorizo which is a ground sausage mixture. This sausage is made from chopped pork meat that includes pork fat and is mixed with deep and flavorful spices that give it flavor and spice in ground sausage form.
Chorizo typically has a deep red coloring rather than the light pink that you would see from most raw sausage products. This is due to the seasoning that is blended into it throughout processing.
Chorizo, both fresh and cured, has a spicy flavor that is not overly spicy but just produces a little bit savory flavor that makes chorizo delicious and tasty for any use you might dream up.
Common Uses for Chorizo
Chorizo is a versatile meat product that can be used for any number of things. Uses can vary based on whether you want to use ground or cured chorizo but both can be quite useful in their own means.
Here are some common uses for chorizo for you to consider:
- Meatballs/meatloaf products
- Make into various soups
- Slice cured chorizo and make pizza
- Mix finely chopped ground chorizo into eggs
- Mix with potatoes or hash browns to spice it up
- Add to omelets
- Top your nachos
- Stuffed peppers, stuffed mushrooms, stuffed potato skins
- Add to chili
These are just a few ideas for using chorizo but there is a multitude of options for putting chorizo to use. The most common way to use chorizo is to use fresh ground chorizo as it is more versatile but you can also use cured chorizo for a lot of things as well.
The primary difference you should remember about cured or fresh chorizo is that cured chorizo has already been cooked in some manner and does not necessarily have to be cooked to be used.
Fresh chorizo is raw meat still and must be cooked before you can proceed to eat it. It’s very important to remember that you cannot simply just grab a spoon and chow down – and to be honest, that probably wouldn’t taste very good anyway.
Spanish chorizo is the chorizo we have been referring to as cured chorizo in this article. The pork mixture is fermented, cured, and smoked. The flavor becomes a smoky chili and garlic-style flavor that is irresistible.
It can be flavored in many different ways but most Spanish chorizo will be seasoned as described above. It can also be sliced in many different ways. You might find it in long and slim packaging or in short and round packaging.
It can be semi-soft or hard and dry depending on the curing process and no single process is necessarily better than another. The cured chorizo does not require refrigeration and most of the time is sold near other cured meat options like jerky and beef sticks.
Storing Spanish (Cured) Chorizo
Storing your cured chorizo is not overly challenging, in fact, it’s rather simple. Since it is cured, you really don’t need to store it in the freezer but you can do so if you feel it is necessary. Cured meats preserve very well without extensive measures.
The highest recommended storage for cured chorizo is to simply use the fridge because it can ultimately store indefinitely that way if it is unopened. If you have opened the chorizo, you can still store it in the fridge for about 6 months without any worry of it going bad.
Technically speaking, you can freeze your dried chorizo but because it has a super low moisture content it’s not really considered a good idea. It’s also primarily unnecessary since cured chorizo will last so long in the fridge.
However, we’re not here to boss you around, we simply are here to provide you with the facts. If you decide you want to go ahead and freeze your cured chorizo, don’t let us stop you!
Storing Spanish Chorizo in the Fridge
- Seal tightly in airtight packaging – we recommend using a plastic storage bag that seals.
- Wrap cured chorizo in either a light tea towel or thick paper towels.
- Date and label the packaging.
- Store in the fridge for up to 6 months.
Storing Spanish Chorizo in the Freezer
- Seal tightly or vacuum seal into plastic freezer-safe storage bags.
- Wrap loosely with paper towels to preserve moisture content.
- Place into a larger freezer bag or an airtight container.
- Date and label the packaging.
- Place in the freezer for up to 12 months.
As you can see, the process does not vary all that much between the fridge and the freezer, which is due to the way that Spanish chorizo has been cured. It stores well on its own because of the curing process.
Keep in mind that the curing process has eliminated most of the moisture content of the meat and therefore your biggest challenge is to keep it from getting dried out beyond use while it is stored. This is where the wrapping step comes into play.
Don’t skip the wrapping step on either method as this will go a long way to ensure that your chorizo does not get dry, hard, or unusable while you store it for long-term in your fridge or freezer.
Again, we want to point out that the freezer is not recommended as it tends to dry things out more and the fridge preserves your cured chorizo for up to 6 months already. But the option remains and these are the recommended processes for success.
Mexican Chorizo (Ground)
Mexican chorizo is the more common form of chorizo and it can be served in a number of manners. It’s the versatile option that lets you do just about anything you want to with it that would involve meat.
You can replace your ground meats or use it as an additive to spice up your meat dishes. It mixes really well with breakfast foods but can also be mixed with many other things and it is simply savory and delicious.
Ground chorizo is known as Mexican chorizo and is the most popular way to use chorizo in the kitchen. This is ground pork that has been seasoned with garlic and savory spices. The primary spice is chilies.
You could compare this meat to Italian sausage but the spices and flavor are a bit different and it has a deep red color. Chorizo also is typically sold in casings and must be squeezed out of or removed from the casings for cooking purposes.
When you remove Mexican chorizo from the casing, it will closely resemble ground beef in texture. It can be ground in many different thicknesses so the size of the grind could vary based on how it was processed.
Ground chorizo is raw meat. It must be stored in either the fridge or the freezer, just like other forms of raw meat.
It also needs to be cooked in some manner prior to eating or serving. If you look for it in the store, you will most likely find it near bratwursts and breakfast sausages.
Storing Mexican (Ground) Chorizo
Storing your ground chorizo is quite simple. It cannot be stored at room temperature but with that knowledge, you would store it the same way that you would store any other raw meat, in the fridge or the freezer.
Additionally, for informational purposes, we want to let you know that you can store cooked chorizo in the fridge or freezer as well.
Because of the seasoning and grounding process chorizo has gone through, it may preserve longer than everyday meat in the fridge or even the freezer but you should still keep in mind that it is raw and should be treated as raw meat.
If your Mexican chorizo has never been opened, you can store it indefinitely in the freezer. Logically speaking, we don’t think that will be the case. The best quality is to use it within 12 months or so from placing it in the freezer.
Now let’s discuss the different storage steps.
Storing Mexican Chorizo in the Fridge
- Seal in a storage bag or container that will be mostly airtight.
- Date and label if you are concerned you won’t remember how long it has been there.
- Store in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.
We feel it is important to point out that the fridge storage time will vary depending on whether or not you have cut into the sausage or removed it from the casing. If your chorizo is still in original packaging and casing, it will last 2 weeks in the fridge.
However, if the chorizo has been sliced into or the casing has been opened in any way, this reduces the time it will maintain in the fridge to about 1 week or 7 days.
Storing Mexican Chorizo in the Freezer
- Seal into an airtight container or freezer bag. Or vacuum seal the ground meat for effective sealing purposes.
- Date and label the storage method of choice.
- Store in the freezer up to 12 months.
These processes are quite simple and easy to follow but you will want to be sure you are familiar with your storage dates and time frames to ensure you know when you are running out of time on storage.
Chorizo Storage Overview
We’ve shared a lot of information here so we wanted to provide a quick summary for you to keep it simple in reference terms.
There are 2 primary types of chorizo – Mexican (ground) and Spanish (dried and cured). Spanish is cooked and stores best in the fridge, wrapped in a tea towel or paper towel. It is not recommended to put in the freezer but you can do so if you prefer.
Mexican is raw meat that is ground and stored in casings. It must be cooked before serving or eating and should be stored in either the fridge or the freezer depending on how long you plan to store it before use.
We hope that you find this guide to be a valuable resource in understanding the primary types of chorizo and how you can best store or freeze them. There is a lot of information as to what works best and what is not recommended amongst the different types of chorizo.
We invite you to take a look at our question and answer section to see if you might find any of the information therein to be further accommodating to your needs.
How Can You Tell if Your Chorizo Has Gone Bad?
Whether you are working with Mexican or Spanish chorizo, you can usually check to see if it has gone bad by checking the smell and look of the meat.
Open your packing and smell for off or rancid odors. If it doesn’t smell fresh or something smells off, you should discard it. Additionally, look for any oddities in coloring or texture as another sign of freshness and discard if anything doesn’t appear to be right.
Is the Casing on Fresh Chorizo Edible?
The casing is edible and could be left on or removed depending on what you are doing with the meat. If you plan to fry or use the chorizo like a sausage link, leave the casing intact but if you want to use it like ground meat remove the chorizo prior to cooking.
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