Chicken broth is also referred to as bouillon. It is the liquid in which chicken has been boiled. Chicken broth is either eaten on its own, or it is used to flavor soups, sauces, gravies and other dishes.
Chicken broth is either store-bought or homemade, but it must be stored in the right way to prevent early expiration. Here a few tips on the storage and expiration of chicken broth.
Does Chicken Broth Go Bad?
Yes, chicken broth will eventually go bad. When bought from the store, it does have a long shelf life if left unopened. However, once the chicken broth has been opened, it goes off pretty quickly.
Homemade chicken broth lasts about as long as the store-bought kind once it’s been opened. Although there is evidence to suggest that homemade chicken broth will last a bit longer if the fat is kept in it.
How Long Does Chicken Broth Last?
According to the United States Department of Agriculture website, chicken broth lasts for the following length of time:
|Chicken Broth||3 – 4 days|
2 – 3 months
6 Tips to Tell if Chicken Broth Has Gone Bad
Expired chicken broth can spoil your entire recipe; if you have had it for a while, you will need to make sure it hasn’t gone off before pouring it into your ingredients.
Spoilt chicken broth won’t taste right, the color and appearance will be off, and it will smell. Apart from keeping chicken broth past the expiration date, it can also go bad if it isn’t stored properly.
Here are six tips to tell whether chicken broth has gone bad:
- The Smell: Whether hot or cold, chicken broth has a delicious appetizing smell. However, when it has expired, the broth will smell unpleasant and sour. There is no coming back from stinky chicken broth, don’t even think about tasting it or trying to revive it by boiling it, pour the broth down the sink.
- Check the Container: A swollen, or bulging container is a sure sign that your broth has reached its sell by date. When food starts to spoil, the yeast and bacteria will release gas and cause the container to expand. It is also important to mention that if you buy a can of chicken broth and realize that it is open or swollen, there is a high chance that it has been contaminated with a toxic chemical substance called botulinum. Before throwing the can away, you will need to detoxify it by letting it sit in boiling water for 30 minutes.
- How Was it Stored? Whether homemade or canned, chicken broth must be put in the fridge within two hours, and the temperature of the fridge must be set at 40 degrees F or below. If the broth has been exposed to temperatures between 40 to 140 degrees F for over two hours, there is a high chance that it has been made contact with bad bacteria and it may cause food poisoning if eaten.
- Expiration Date: Once the canned chicken broth has been opened, it will last 3 – 4 days in the fridge. This is the same for homemade chicken broth. If you know the broth has been in the fridge longer than 3 – 4 days, it is advised that you don’t use it.
- How Does it Taste? If you suspect your chicken broth is expired, don’t do a taste test. However, if you accidentally eat the broth not realizing that it could be spoilt and it tastes sour, try not to swallow it and throw the rest away.
- How Does it Look? Chicken broth should have a clear yellow color to it. Additionally, there should be no signs of mold floating on the top. If you bought your chicken broth from the store, it shouldn’t have any sediments in it, and it should be clear and not cloudy.
3 Tips to Store Chicken Broth
To keep chicken broth fresh, it must be stored in the right way. Leaving chicken stock out on the work surface, or exposing it to high temperatures after it has been opened can cause it to expire quickly.
Here are three tips on how to store chicken broth:
- Keep the Fat on it: When making homemade chicken broth, the smell and rich flavor come from a thick layer of fat that sits on top of the broth. Most people drain this fat and throw it away. But if you want to preserve your broth, keep at least half of it. Depending on the type of chicken you have, once you strain the chicken broth into a jar, the fat will rise to the top. Place a lid on the jar and put it in the fridge, the fat will become solid and seal the liquid underneath it preventing any air from getting to the broth and thereby preserving it. When you go to use the broth, just scoop the fat off the top and store it in another jar. If you make chicken broth often, you will soon have a good amount of fat you can use to roast vegetables or fry potatoes.
- Freeze it: As mentioned, you can store chicken broth in the freezer for up to 3 months. Follow the instructions above to freeze chicken broth.
- Pantry: Unopened store-bought chicken broth can be stored in the pantry until the expiration date. Just make sure you use it before that date.
Can you freeze Chicken Broth?
If you end up with a pot full of chicken broth after cooking, you can preserve it by freezing it in small portions so that any time you are cooking, you only take out what you need.
Here are some tips on how to freeze chicken broth:
- Ice Cube Trays/Muffin Tins: Chicken broth is liquid, and it expands when frozen. Make sure you leave some space by not filling the ice cube trays or muffin tins to the top. Three-quarters of the way will do. Freeze them overnight, the following day, remove the trays from the freezer and leave them to sit out at room temperature for a few minutes. Keep an eye on it, and when you notice that the sides have started melting, pop the discs and cubes out into a Ziploc freezer bag. Stick a label on with the date so that you don’t keep the chicken broth past the recommended three months.
- Large Portions: You can also freeze the chicken broth in large portions if you know that’s how much you will need for your next dish. It is important to mention that you will need to use strong Ziploc bags for this to ensure there is no leakage. Again, fill the bags three-quarters of the way, lay them down flat onto a cookie sheet, and freeze. Once they are frozen, you can stand the bags upright.
- Cooking From Frozen: You can either add the frozen chicken broth straight to the ingredients while they are cooking, or you can thaw it. To thaw chicken broth, put the bags or the cubes into a bowl and let it sit in the fridge overnight.
The Risk of Consuming Expired Chicken Broth
Even though chicken broth is a liquid, it is still made from chicken which increases your chances of food poisoning from bacteria such as E Coli and salmonella.
If your chicken broth shows any signs of spoilage, it is advised that you get rid of it immediately to avoid contamination. If you do happen to consume spoiled chicken broth, you may experience the following symptoms:
- Dizziness: You will feel lightheaded and find it difficult to stand for long periods of time.
- Headache: You will experience pain in the head area, this is often the result of dehydration.
- Nausea: You will feel like throwing up.
- Loss of appetite: Once the body has been poisoned, it protects itself by causing you to lose your appetite.
- Vomiting: You will throw up to purge yourself of the toxins you have ingested.
- Diarrhea: You will use the toilet several times per day, this is also a form of purging to cleanse the body of toxins.
- Fatigue: You will feel tired despite the fact that your body has been in rest mode for the entire day. Additionally, you will still feel tired after spending a long time asleep
None of these symptoms are pleasant but they are not life-threatening. You should recover from mild food poisoning within three days.
However, if the symptoms persist after taking over the counter medication and having plenty of bed rest, you will need to book an appointment with your doctor.
Chicken broth is a delicious addition to any recipe, you can also sip it as is, and if you want to avoid wasting your broth, or you want to keep it for longer than the recommended expiry date, you will need to store it in the right way.
By following the advice set out in this article, you can keep your chicken broth for up to three months without the risk of food poisoning.