Those of us who love cheese love the versatility, taste, and creaminess that it provides. There are many kinds of cheeses that we can enjoy, with one of the best being cottage cheese.
Cottage cheese is a cheese that we can use in various ways. From using it on a sandwich to adding it into a salad or using it in baking, it is an excellent addition to any kitchen. The only thing that you might be concerned about is whether cottage cheese goes bad.
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Does Cottage Cheese Go Bad?
Cottage cheese goes bad, and it becomes very unpleasant to consume once it has become spoiled. Since cottage cheese is a dairy product, it doesn’t have an extended shelf life because dairy products are very sensitive to bacterial contamination.
Once your cottage cheese shows signs of contamination, it is best not to consume any of it. Although there is a best by date on the container that your cottage cheese comes in, a few factors can affect the freshness of your cottage cheese.
Some of these factors you can control, such as how you store your cottage cheese, and some you have no control over, for example, how long your cottage cheese was on the shelf at the store.
Knowing how long cottage cheese typically lasts and how to spot cottage cheese that has become spoiled will help you avoid disappointing situations when you are looking forward to using your cottage cheese.
How Long Does Cottage Cheese Last?
Like most food products, the quality of cottage cheese starts to decline the minute you open the container. If your cottage cheese is unopened, it can last well and even succeed past the best by date printed on the container if you store it correctly.
However, when you open your cottage cheese, your window for enjoying it while still fresh is much shorter. Unopened cottage cheese can last for up to 10 days past the best by date on the packaging if you store your cottage cheese in the fridge and keep it in the freezer for up to three months.
Unfortunately, your pantry isn’t an ideal place to keep your cottage cheese since it will spoil very quickly. Opened cottage cheese can last between seven and ten days in your fridge and up to eight weeks in the freezer.
How Long Does Cottage Cheese Last?
|Unopened, stored in the fridge||10 days past best by date|
|Opened, stored in the fridge||7 days|
|Unopened, stored in the freezer||3 months|
|Opened, stored in the freezer||8 weeks|
4 Tips to Tell if Cottage Cheese has Gone Bad
Cottage cheese has countless benefits that make it an excellent ingredient to have in your home. However, since it is cheese, it doesn’t last for an extended amount of time.
It is excellent to know how to tell if your cottage cheese has gone bad because it will help prevent you from adding it to dishes and spoiling their taste. Since cottage cheese gets contaminated by bacteria, some signs show that cottage cheese has gone bad. Here are four tips to tell if your cottage cheese has gone bad:
Look at your cottage cheese
Cottage cheese should have a white color, and if you buy smooth cottage cheese, it should appear smooth. If you purchased a chunky-style cottage cheese, it should not appear overly chunky since that will indicate that it has gone bad.
Therefore, your cottage cheese should look the same as when you bought it. Any changes in appearance will be a sign that your cottage cheese has gone past its best. If your cottage cheese shows any signs of organic growth or mold, you should not eat it.
Cottage cheese can also lose moisture as it gets spoiled, so if your cottage cheese seems to be very watery, it is better not to eat it. Lastly, if your cottage cheese has changed color, it is best not to eat it.
Smell your cottage cheese
Cottage cheese has a very light, slightly cheesy aroma. If you find that your cottage cheese has an overly pungent sour smell, it is best not to eat it. An unpleasant smell is an indicator that your cottage cheese isn’t going to taste nice.
The texture of the cottage cheese
As mentioned before, your cottage cheese should not change in its texture. Chunky cottage cheese can become even more chunky as time passes, indicating that it isn’t fresh anymore. Likewise, smooth cottage cheese that has become grainy should not be consumed as it isn’t fresh anymore. If you find that your cottage cheese has become dried out or hard to remove from the container, it has gone past its best.
Taste your cottage cheese
Cottage cheese has a light and creamy taste. If you take a bite of your cottage cheese and you find that it is overly sour or even unpleasant, you should not eat any more of it. Likewise, if you taste that it has become grainy when you eat it, it is best not to eat it.
2 Tips to Store Cottage Cheese
Storing your cottage cheese correctly can significantly increase the shelf life of your cottage cheese. The essential elements to consider when it comes to cottage cheese are temperature and moisture control.
Since cottage cheese is very susceptible to bacterial contamination, it is not advised to store your cottage cheese in your pantry. The warmer temperatures will remarkably shorten your cottage cheese’s shelf life.
The other element that contributes to shortening your cottage cheese’s shelf life is allowing moisture to penetrate the cheese. If you don’t use an airtight container to keep your cottage cheese sealed and safe, it will be effortless for bacteria to contaminate your cottage cheese. Here are two ways that you can extend your cottage cheese’s shelf life:
Storing your cottage cheese in the fridge
Keeping your cottage cheese in the fridge is a good way to keep your cottage cheese fresh. The cool temperatures of the refrigerator will keep your cottage cheese from drying out and slow down the contamination process.
Make sure to close the container that the cottage cheese is in properly. If the container has become damaged, transfer your cottage cheese to an airtight container and place it back in the fridge.
Storing your cottage cheese in the freezer
If you aren’t planning on using your cottage cheese right away, you can freeze it. By freezing your cottage cheese, you minimize the risk of bacterial contamination.
Be sure to use an airtight container when storing your cottage cheese in the freezer. If you enjoy buying your cottage cheese in bulk form, it is recommended that you put it in smaller tubs so that you can remove small amounts for thawing and use at a time instead of having to remove the entire amount.
The Risk of Consuming Expired Cottage Cheese
Cottage cheese is a dairy product, and when dairy products become spoiled, they can make you sick. This is because harmful bacteria can contaminate your cottage cheese and produce toxins.
If you consume these toxins, you can get food poisoning because the harmful organisms will infect your digestive tract’s lining, and your body will have an adverse reaction making you feel very ill.
It is not uncommon for people who have eaten spoiled cottage cheese to feel bloated and experience discomfort, including abdominal cramping, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.
It would be best if you remained hydrated as the symptoms continued. It is recommended that you drink clear liquids like water, sports drinks, or herbal teas.
Avoid drinking rich beverages such as milk while you are suffering from food poisoning. Also, stay away from caffeinated beverages like coffee and sodas until your symptoms have improved. Fortunately, these symptoms will pass within 48 hours. However, if you still experience discomfort after two days, it is best to see a doctor.
Can You Freeze Cottage Cheese?
Yes, you can freeze cottage cheese. In fact, cottage cheese can stay fresh for much longer when it is frozen. It is recommended that you consume your cottage cheese within four days if you have thawed it.
It is best not to refreeze cottage cheese that has been frozen and thawed since refreezing will dramatically decrease the quality of the cottage cheese.
Therefore, if you have a large cottage cheese container, you can put it in a small container that you can remove when you feel like having some cottage cheese.
By doing this, you make it possible to remove smaller amounts without having to thaw the entire batch. By freezing your cottage cheese, you significantly lessen the chances of bacterial contamination, thereby increasing the shelf life of your cottage cheese.
Dairy products are lovely additions to meals, baking, and snacks. Cottage cheese is a versatile dairy product that all ages can enjoy. However, it is best to know how to store your cottage cheese and how to tell if it is still fresh. This way, you can always enjoy your cottage cheese without having to worry about whether your cottage cheese has gone bad.