One of the key ingredients to make pizza is pepperoni. In fact, pepperoni pizza is so famous that it is one of the go-to options for most people. It is simple, yet the flavors and the yum factor are reasonably stronger than the other recipes.
Nevertheless, you might be a bit new to the food item. When you are in the market looking for these, you will generally find them in the sticks. And one of the questions that might arise in your mind when you are getting them or after getting them is, “does pepperoni need to be cooked?”.
Well, you have just stumbled upon the perfect source for the answer. We are going to briefly describe the things that you need to know about pepperoni and whether you need to cook it or not.
Can I Eat Raw Pepperoni?
Pepperoni is one of the processed meat that contains lactic acid. And the lactic acid is obtained from the natural fermentation process that it goes through for the curing process. Through that process, the meat dries up, cures, and kills all of the bacterias that might be in it.
After the process, you will be left with a meat that is dried and a properly cured version of the original one. And as it has lactic acid that it contains, it should be able to prevent the regrowth of the bacterias that it had killed during the fermentation process.
In other words, the bacterias that are killed during the process will not regrow throughout the meat’s shelf life. And as there will be no bacterias and other living things on it, there will be no need for you to cook it if you want to consume it.
Aside from lactic acid, most of the manufacturers are also going to use Ascorbic Acid, which is basically a form of vitamin C. This ingredient works in the same way as lactic acid. However, it has the ability to prevent oxidation from occurring. And there will be no need to ferment the meat for processing it.
That being said, the meat can be eaten raw without having to worry about a thing because it will not have any sort of bacterias in it.
Things to Consider Before Eating Uncooked Pepperoni
Even though it is safe to consume pepperoni without cooking it, you will have to consider a couple of things before you decide to eat it raw. And they are as stated below:
- The Freshness of the meat
Firstly, you need to consider whether the meat is fresh or not. Though these do not have bacterias on them when you are getting them from the store, if they are not kept in an adequate storage condition, the freshness will degrade substantially. And when the freshness degrades, some bacterias might start growing on the meat.
That is why before you decide to eat these raw, you have to consider whether they are kept in safe and ideal storage or not. It will indicate how fresh the meat is and whether it is safe for you to consume it raw or not.
- Check the Best-by or Eat-by Date
Generally, the manufacturers are going to slap an estimated date on the packaging. This date will indicate how long the meat inside will stay unharmed by bacterias and other small living things. If you happen to have one stick that has passed that date, it would be best for you not to consume it, even cooked.
- Check the Dryness of the Meat
Usually, some portion of the meat can become exceptionally dry. That occurs when it is not kept in an ideal storage condition. However, extremely dry meat is not really a sign of it going too bad or anything. The meat that is under that dry region should be completely fine.
So if you happen to find that the pepperoni stick you got has a dried exterior, we would recommend you cut it off and use the remaining portion as fast as you can. Also, it would be possible for you to eat the remaining portion uncooked as well.
How to Check Whether Pepperoni Has Gone Bad or Not?
One of the things that you have to keep in mind before using the pepperoni for the dishes is whether it has gone bad or not. Usually, these are stored by keeping the sticks as it is or slicing them up and keeping them inside a storage container.
That being said, the sign that you need to look for the sticks is the smell. The smell will give away whether the meat has gone bad or not. When it goes bad, it will output a putrid smell, which is not really ideal for the meats that are fresh. And this putrid smell will be similar to the one that regular meat products when they go bad.
So if you happen to get a sniff of the putridness when you are eating the pepperoni, it would be best for you not to consume it. Aside from the smell, the texture can give away whether it has gone bad or not. You will find that it will have some sort of stickiness to it.
In some cases, the meat is going to be slimy as well. And if the texture is like this, it is a clear indication the meat has gone bad, and you should not consume it. Instead, you should discard the meat as fast as possible to prevent cross-contamination from occurring in your fridge and kitchen.
On the other hand, for the slices, the smell factor stays the same. Even though you might get a less strong putrid smell, the texture of it will also indicate whether it has gone bad or not. You are going to find it has a sticky exterior. That will give away that the meat has gone bad and you should no consume it.
To conclude our take on whether does pepperoni need to be cooked or not, we would recapitulate that you can definitely eat it raw. However, you need to make sure that it is fresh and is stored in an ideal storage condition before consuming it.