Beef broth is a no-secret ingredient to prepare a hearty stew or a bowl of hot comforting soup. It is rich in flavor and elevates the taste of your dish.
Do you often spend time making good quality homemade beef broth? Whether it is a homemade broth or store-bought one, when it has sat in the fridge for a while, you may start wondering: does beef broth go bad? How long should beef broth be kept in the fridge?
No worries. If the situation is familiar to you, this article addresses beef broth shelf life and the most frequently asked questions around it. If these are what you are looking from, then read along!
How to Store Beef Broth
Commercially-made beef broth (or bouillon) comes in a can or a carton box. In some countries, beef broth is also packaged in a glass jar.
When it comes to a store-bought beef broth, the storage is easy and no preparation is needed. An unopened can or box of beef broth is shelf-stable and can safely sit at room temperature. At this point, refrigeration is not necessary. Make sure to keep it in a dry, cool, environment, away from direct sunlight and heat. Your kitchen cabinet or cupboards are the ideal places for storage.
After opening, quickly put the remaining product into the fridge. For the canned broth, transfer the leftover into an airtight container or jar. Make sure it is tightly closed.
Many people prefer to make beef broth at home rather than buying commercial products. If you do so, it is important to know how to preserve them. There is no other place for homemade beef broth other than your fridge. Make sure it is cooled down before transferring it into an airtight container and let it sit in the fridge until the next use.
Can you freeze beef broth?
Yes. In fact, freezing beef broth is an easy and popular way to preserve beef broth, especially if you make a big batch that you don’t plan to finish within a week.
To freeze the beef broth, you can use ice cube trays. When it’s frozen, transfer frozen broth into a freezer-safe container or freezer bag. Ice cubes size makes it easier to take when you only need a small amount of broth for a recipe.
If you want a simpler way, you can quickly freeze the broth into a freezer-safe container. Make sure to safely thaw the broth in the fridge before using it.
How Long Does Beef Broth Last?
Store-bought beef broth is usually stamped with a “best before” or “best by” date. Check this date to guide your consumption. This date is a rough estimate from the producer to assure that the product remains in its prime quality, with proper storage.
Commercially-made beef broth is produced hygienically in an aseptic environment to extend the shelf life. These products may stay good even after passing the date, as long as they’re properly stored and the packaging is not damaged.
After opening, the remaining product will stay good for 3 – 5 days on average (can vary for different brands). If you decide to freeze the broth, it will stay good indefinitely, but for quality reasons, it should be used within 2 – 3 months.
Homemade beef broth tends to have a shorter shelf life of up to 2 – 3 days in the fridge. The frozen broth is best consumed within 2 – 3 months.
How to Tell if Beef Broth is Bad
Beef broth is rich in nutrients which also makes it a favorable environment for microbial growth that may cause food-borne illness.
If you happen to have an unopened can or package of beef broth in the pantry and the container is somewhat damaged, leaked, and rusting, quickly discard it. The product is likely spoiled anyway.
For a carton pack of beef broth, a bloated package is also a sign that the product has gone bad. The product is already contaminated by bacterial colonies that release gases. The gas can’t be released when the carton is sealed and thus causing bloating.
If you are not sure if the leftover broth is still good, pour the liquid into a bowl before putting it into your pan. This way you can inspect the broth before use.
If the broth develops foul smell, discoloration, or even mold growth, it is also time to discard the remaining product.
The printed date on the label is an estimated period when the quality of the product is guaranteed by the manufacturer. Therefore, consumers are advised to consume prior to this date.
As long as you don’t find any signs of spoilage in the package or product, the broth is likely to be safe for consumption, but you may expect a slight change in flavor or taste.
USDA suggests that soup or stews can be kept refrigerated for 3 – 4 days, while sauce and gravy can last for 1 – 2 days in the fridge. If you are not sure of finishing the leftovers within those times, consider freezing them for up to 2 – 3 months.
Beef broth is a perishable food and contains nutrients needed by the bacteria to grow. These microorganisms grow and multiply very quickly at room temperature.
As a rule of thumb, don’t leave perishable food, such as beef broth outside the fridge for more than 2 hours.
Beef broth is an ingredient that you can’t skip to prepare delicious stews, soup, and many other hearty dishes. Whether it is commercially-made or homemade, beef broth will go bad eventually.
Make sure to practice proper storage to allow the product to last longer. Unopened store-bought broth is safe to keep in the pantry. After opening, store it in the fridge and use within 5 days. Homemade beef broth is safe to keep for 3 – 4 days in the fridge. To prolong the shelf life, beef broth can be frozen for up to 3 months.
If any signs of spoilage are seen, or if the package is damaged, there’s no point to risk your health so quickly discard the product.
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