Whether hot or cold, broth can come in handy in many ways to add some extra flavor. And as a kitchen savvy, you’re probably wondering how long you can keep the broth in the pantry or the refrigerator.
The store-bought broth has an indefinite shelf life and will remain safe to eat past its expiration. Homemade broth is similar to an opened can and will keep for a few days in the fridge.
However, if you need it more than that, freezing is the ultimate solution. Keep on reading to learn more about shelf life, storage, freezing, and spoilage of broth.
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How Long Does Broth Last?
Ready-made broth typically has a 12 to 24 months shelf life and keeps well for another six months past its expiration date. Once opened, you can keep it refrigerated for about 3 to 4 days.
Similarly, you should keep homemade broth for about 3 to 4 days. But if you wish to keep it longer than that, freezing is the ultimate solution.
- Unopened Broth
Unopened broth can last up to two years and keeps for an additional half a year past the best-by date. Besides, the cans and boxes are sealed and protected from external conditions. So, as long as you store them correctly, they should last indefinitely.
- In The Fridge
According to USDA, opened broth should be kept refrigerated and consumed within 3 to 4 days. However, this may vary depending on the brand, as some recommend a storage period of up to a week.
Letting the broth sit in the fridge for an additional day won’t cause much harm, but more than that seems unwise. Again, if you don’t feel like using your leftovers within the recommended period, you should consider freezing.
How Long Is Homemade Broth Good For?
Like opened cans and boxes, homemade broth is good for 3 to 4 days in the refrigerator. However, if you wish to keep it longer, freezing is the best option.
This is the recommended storage period for virtually any leftover that calls for refrigeration. So, letting your homemade broth sit in the fridge for more than four days will only create problems for you. Also, if you start smelling a foul smell, please dispose of it as it’s no longer safe for consumption.
How Do I Store Broth?
How you store your broth will depend on the method of preparation. You should keep the unopened, store-bought broth in a cool, dry place. Once opened, the leftovers should be transferred in an airtight container and refrigerated for about 3-4 days.
As for the homemade broth, you should allow enough time to cool completely before putting it in the fridge. Alternatively, you can choose to freeze your broth until you’re ready to use it. Just make sure to use a freezer-safe, airtight container for complete effectiveness.
To enhance the thawing process, freeze the broth in ice cube trays and transfer the cubes to a freezer-safe bag or container. You can incorporate a few cubes of your frozen broth into grains while it’s cooking for some additional flavor.
While broth is generally safe in the freezer, it will lose quality over time, or even worse, start to develop some weird flavors. A good rule of thumb is to freeze the broth for six months for the best quality. And when it’s time to defrost, let the container sit in the fridge overnight, or simply transfer the frozen broth to a pot and heat directly on the stovetop.
Can I Freeze Broth?
Yes, you can freeze both homemade and store-bought broth, and the process is pretty simple. Here’s how you go about freezing your broth indefinitely:
- The first step is to choose the suitable packaging for your broth. If you’re planning to use that broth to make soup, a container is a good bet. But if you always just need a few tablespoons of broth for a sauce or to add some additional flavor, an ice tray can be a better option.
- The next step is to transfer the broth into the containers or ice cube trays.
- If you’re using an ice tray, let it sit in the freezer until the broth is completely frozen. Then transfer the frozen broth cubes into a freezer bag or an airtight container.
- Toss everything in the freezer and freeze for up to 3 months for the best flavor. Sure, the broth should keep well a lot longer in the freezer.
Again, let the broth defrost in the fridge overnight if you plan to use it the next day. But if you’re short on time, simply heat the frozen block on the cooktop on low heat. Just make sure not to leave it unattended and keep stirring so that it doesn’t burn.
How Long Is Broth Good After Expiration?
The store-bought broth should be good for an extra six months past its expiration. However, it’s worth noting that the six months are just a safe estimate, as some sellers recommend longer than that.
Also, how long your broth is good after the printed date will depend on the storage method. If stored under the right conditions, it should be safe to eat for a few years past its expiration. Of course, many sellers will recommend using their products before the printed date for the best quality.
If you have an unopened canned or boxed broth that’s six months past the best-by date, and you feel it’s safe to eat, then go ahead and utilize it for soups or sauces. But if you’re not comfortable using the broth past its date, then it’s perfectly fine to dispose of it.
How Do I Tell If Broth Has Gone Bad?
Your senses are a perfect tester when it comes to determining whether or not the broth has gone bad. Usually, an expired broth will give off a foul smell, develop some weird taste, and lose its color. Besides keeping it past its date, the broth can also go bad if you don’t store it correctly.
That said, below are the signs to check out for when you suspect the broth has spoiled:
- The Smell—Broth has a tasty smell, regardless of its temperature. However, when it has spoiled, the broth will give off a foul odor. Don’t even think of reviving the broth; instead, you should dispose of it.
- Check the Container—A bulging can is another sign that your broth has expired. When food goes rancid, the yeast and bacteria emit a gas that causes the container to bulge. So, if you buy a can of broth and notice that it’s swollen, the chances are that it has been contaminated with botulism. In that case, you need to dispose of it as it’s unfit for consumption. But before you do that, make sure to detoxify it by placing the can in hot water for about half an hour.
- How Was it Stored—You must refrigerate the homemade broth within two hours and at a constant temperature of 40°F or below. Exposing the broth to temperatures higher than that may lead to food poisoning.
- Expiration Date—An opened, canned broth will keep in the fridge for about 3 to 4 days. Similarly, the homemade broth shouldn’t be refrigerated for more than four days. It’s, however, recommended to stick to the 3 to 4 days rule of thumb for efficiency.
- How Does it Taste—If you are skeptical about the state of your broth, do not taste it. However, if you accidentally consume the expired broth and feel the sour taste, try not to eat it up and dispose of the rest of it.
- How Does it Look—Whether homemade or store-bought, the broth is bright yellow and shows no sign of molding on the top. Besides, it shouldn’t have any sediments in it.
What are the Risks of Consuming Bad Broth?
Now that you already know the signs of spoiled broth, it’s time you learn the risks of eating an expired broth. Here are the symptoms you’re likely to experience if you accidentally consume an expired one:
- Dizziness—You will feel lightheaded, especially when you stand up for long periods.
- Headache: This often occurs when dehydrated, but it could be food poisoning if the pain becomes severe.
- Nausea—You’ll feel like throwing up a couple of times.
- Loss of appetite: You’ll experience a loss in appetite once you consume an expired broth.
- Vomiting—More often, you’ll throw up to get rid of the ingested toxins.
- Diarrhea—You’ll find yourself using the toilet quite often after consuming spoiled broth. This is also a way of removing toxins from the body.
- Fatigue—Despite resting the whole day, you’ll still feel tired. This will continue even after spending a long time sleeping.
1. How Long Does A Broth Last In The Fridge?
A broth will last for about 3 to 4 days in the fridge. If the broth is homemade, let it cool first before tossing it in the refrigerator. Putting hot foods or liquids directly in the fridge can lead to spoilage or even food poisoning.
2. Is Chicken Broth Ok After 14 Days?
Yes, chicken broth that has been refrigerated continuously and thawed in the fridge is safe to eat after 14 days. However, if you use the microwave or cold water to defrost your chicken broth, you should use it immediately.
3. How Long Does Beef Broth Last Once Opened?
Like chicken broth, the beef broth will keep for about 4 to 5 days in the fridge. However, if you wish to keep it longer, make sure to refrigerate in airtight containers for the best results. It’s also worth noting that beef broth that has been cooled continuously will keep for an extra four days.