You’ve purchased a few cans of beef broth, used one, and put the rest away in the pantry. A few months pass. You want to open another can; however, you can’t help but wonder, “Is my broth still safe for consumption?” Well, don’t toss it out just yet; you will find out soon enough. Just keep reading!
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Does Beef Broth Go bad?
Beef broth does, in fact, go bad! The product’s spoilage is mostly caused by the environment in which it is stored, with some surroundings making it degrade faster. Homemade beef broth, in particular, is notorious for going bad quickly, and that’s because, unlike commercially-prepared broth, homemade beef broth doesn’t contain preservatives.
However, there are a few tried-and-true methods for preserving the flavor richness of your beef broth and ensuring that it lasts as long as possible. The easiest and most common is putting the broth in the fridge or freezer. It helps with not only extending its life but also preserving its flavor.
How Long Does Beef Broth Last?
The shelf life of beef broth varies widely depending on the type and how it is preserved, ranging from a few days to several years.
Store-bought broth is usually stamped with a “best before” or “best by” date. Check this date to guide your consumption. However, the date is only an estimate of how long the product retains freshness, with proper storage.
And since canned beef broth usually has some preservatives added, it generally lasts a longer time. Cans of store-bought broth may stay good even after the specified date, as long as they’re properly stored and the packaging is not damaged.
After opening, the remaining product will last for an average of 5 to 7 days (this may vary from brand to brand). If you freeze the broth, it will keep indefinitely, although it should be used within 4 to 6 months when it is still in excellent quality.
As previously indicated, homemade beef broth has a shorter lifespan in the refrigerator, lasting only 2 to 3 days. Once frozen, it should be consumed within 2 to 3 months.
Here is a table that sums up the estimated shelf life of beef broth in its various forms and storage surroundings.
Type of Beef
|Unopened, canned beef broth||3 to 5 years||N/A||N/A|
|Opened, canned beef broth||Not recommended||5 to 7 days||4 to 6 months|
|Homemade beef broth||Not recommended||2 to 3 days||2 to 3 months|
4 Tips to Tell if Beef Broth Has Gone Bad
Beef broth is nutrient-dense, making it an ideal setting for microbial growth. Here are some easy tips to help you find out whether it has gone bad:
1. Leaking or Damaged Can
Although canned beef broth is fairly resilient, you should not use it if the can is defective. If the unopened can in the pantry appears to be slightly broken or rusted, throw it out right away. In any case, the product is most certainly spoiled.
2. A Bloated Package
When bacterial colonies contaminate canned beef broth, they release fumes, and since the package is sealed, the gas cannot escape, resulting in bloating. It’s a sign that you should get rid of the product.
3. Changes In Color
If you’re not sure whether the leftover broth is still good, pour the liquid into a bowl before putting it into your pan. When beef broth is fresh, it usually has a brown to deep brown color. If you see a color change, such as darkening or blue patches, toss it out. The color shift is an indication that the quality of the broth has been tampered with.
Green or greenish-brown beef broth is often unfit to eat and a sign of putrefaction. Beef broth with a glossy curd on top frequently goes bad, indicating that bacteria have broken down the fat in the beef.
4. Foul Smell
The scent of good beef broth is frequently pleasant and beefy. If the product has a sour odor, it’s a surefire clue that something is a miss. Don’t try to fix or taste it because it’s no longer edible.
3 Tips to Store Beef Broth
The way foods are preserved has a big impact on their shelf life, and beef broth is no different. Here are a few pointers to keep in mind when storing your beef broth.
1. Keep It in a Cool, Dry Place
Low humidity and airtightness provide the ideal conditions for bacteria to flourish and contaminate food. Regardless of where you store the beef broth, make sure it stays cool and dry.
As long as it is not exposed to direct sunshine or severe heat, a pantry or cabinet will work perfectly.
If you want to store beef broth for just a few hours, store-bought broth can be kept in a cool, dry kitchen cabinet without being refrigerated.
2. Seal Tightly
After you’ve opened the package, store the leftover liquid in the fridge, well-sealed. Pour the broth into a mason jar or an airtight container to seal it. It will be somewhat protected against bacterial invasion as well as other environmental factors.
If you don’t have a suitable container on hand, a plastic wrap and rubber band will do. This will also keep the aromas from other meals in the fridge out of your beef broth. Just make sure the product is properly sealed.
3. Refrigerate or Freeze It
A dry kitchen cabinet will retain your beef broth for a few hours, but it is not the best option if you are looking to store the broth for an extended period of time. Consider utilizing a refrigerator or freezer in this situation.
Use silicone baking mold to store your beef broth in the freezer. Silicone molds are food-safe and freezer-safe, and the frozen broth cubes can be removed effortlessly.
Plus, if stuffing stuff carelessly into cupboards and drawers is your idea of kitchen organization, these squishy silicone molds can be smashed into whatever nook or cranny you have available. The only drawback? Because the mold is not hard, it is necessary to set it in a baking tray before filling it with broth and freezing it.
The cubes take around 6 hours to freeze and can last up to a year in the freezer. For best results, place them in an airtight container and return them to the freezer after they’re solid. Because the broth blocks are completely frozen, they will not cling together, making it easy to remove single pieces when needed.
For more information on how to store beef broth, watch this video:
The Risk of Consuming Expired Beef Broth
If beef broth is not stored properly or if it is heated to a high enough temperature before consumption, it may contain bacterial contamination, which could make you sick.
Food poisoning is by far the most common occurrence. Because beef broth is created from extremely perishable beef, it could contain E.coli or Salmonella, which can cause food poisoning, often characterized by:
- Abdominal cramps
- Diarrhea and
Once beef broth has been exposed to temperatures between 40 and 140 degrees F for more than two hours, it is highly likely that it has come into touch with harmful germs and should not be consumed.
Can You Freeze Beef Broth?
Absolutely, yes. In reality, freezing beef broth is a simple and popular technique to keep it fresh for a long time, especially if you have produced it in large amounts to last you a few days. It is particularly useful with homemade beef broth to avoid waste.
Because unopened canned broth lasts longer and freezing it doesn’t make sense, we’ll concentrate on preserving broth leftovers.
If you just need a little amount of broth at a time, freezing it in small airtight containers or ice cube trays is a good option. If you’re searching for something in the middle, a muffin tin will suffice (freeze the tins using the ice cube tray method). Better still, using silicone baking molds would come in handy.
Make sure to allow for thorough cooling before freezing the beef broth, as abrupt temperature fluctuations can alter its texture.
Also, it is crucial to remember to provide enough room in the container or jar so the volume of the broth can vary without breaking the container.
Chill the soup until it hardens on top if you wish to remove the fat. This is an easy way to get rid of the excess fat. After, the broth can be frozen in a container of your choice.
Here are more insights on how to freeze beef broth:
Beef broth, whether purchased or produced at home, will go bad at some point. To extend its life, use suitable storage methods such as refrigerating or freezing it. If any signs of deterioration or damage to the box are visible, there’s no reason to endanger your health, discard the product.