I am making sausage with natural casing, but I have some unused casing left over. If I want to wait a few weeks to use the rest, what is the best way to store the casings and how long will they last?
I put them in the fridge, covered with kosher salt in a sealed plastic bag. They keep indefinitely that way.
Freeze them. Like caul fat they are very perishable (hey, they are an intestine). I can't see them remaining usable "indefinitely" using any method.
In my experience, the salt-packed ones stay good a very, very long time. I've kept them two years with no problem. They do need to be soaked before using. In the sources I consulted, freezing isn't recommended.
What is the shelf life of natural casings?
Packed in salt: 1 year or more
. . .
How do you keep unused casings?
Cover unused casings in brine solution or granulated salt and store in cooler at 40°F or less but do not freeze.
What is the best way to store natural casings?
Store in the cooler at 40°F or less in brine or well salted. NEVER freeze casings.
Our family company 'The Casing Boutique' has been processing and selling natural sausage casings in Australia & New Zealand for well over a decade now. Sausage casings should last for at least a year if they're kept well salted and refrigerated thorughout their life (hesitantly we could say they may last indefinately if they're really well kept). If you choose to store them outside of a fridge ensure they're not exposed to direct sunlight and the environment is cool. They should keep for at least 6 months in this case.
If they do start to smell a bit more than usual or change colour it's an indication they've reached their best before date.
I hope this helps. If you need more information please visit our website www.thecasingboutique.com.
Thanks for this information. I was wanting to keep my casings in super salty water fearing that they would become too dehydrated in pure dry salt but I will use the dry salt in a glass jar in the fridge until I make sausage again.
Freeze the remainder with awareness of your future needs.
Just defrost what you need immediately, keep the rest frozen knowing that what's in the freezer isn't going to improve in quality. This requires judicious portion control at the time of freezing. This is up to you. Only you know how much you typically use during each sausage making session.
That said, I would try to keep my sausage casing purchases to what I would be using in the next 3-4 months (fresh + frozen). To reiterate, the quality over time is not going to get any better.
Anyhow, good luck.
Thanks for that. I've was given 3 hanks of natural casings threaded on tubes which is very valuable to me. I just wanted to keep them as well as I can. I've got a chorizo project to do so which will use up one hank and will possibly freeze the rest. I've frozen them before with no obvious degradation to the product. When you are a single person you always have to compromise when figuring out how to preserve excess product or ingredients:)
I'm single myself, so I am very familiar with the need to find ways to meter out or preserve ingredients!