Maybe you have been saving a bottle of ghee for a special occasion. Or perhaps you want to start making your own ghee at home. Either way, you’re here because you probably want to know how long ghee stays good for or how to properly store it so it stays fresh longer. We’ve got all the answers you’re looking for. So, stay tuned!
Does Ghee Go Bad?
Yes, ghee does go bad. However, it has a relatively extensive shelf life and won’t spoil for a couple years if stored properly. Most ghee manufacturers will print a best-before date on the package to inform you how long the product will retain its original flavor, but most of the time, ghee will maintain its quality for several months after the specified date.
Ghee does not contain any milk solids and usually has very little water in it, and this enables it to last longer than other daily products like butter or cheese. Most brands recommend storing the product in a cool, dark area like the pantry, but if you would like yours to have an exceptionally longer life, keep it in the refrigerator.
How Long Does Ghee Last?
Stored at the right conditions, ghee can keep its original taste, flavor, and potency for about two to three months after the best-by date. As stated, ghee has a fairly long lifespan. Depending on the brand, an unopened jar can last anywhere between one and three years from the date of manufacturing.
After ghee has been opened, it should be used within three months (if stored in the pantry) or six months (if refrigerated) when its quality is at its best.
While ghee will be just fine in the pantry, refrigerating would be a better way to store the product long-term. It will slow rancidification, enabling the fat to stay at peak quality much longer after the best-by date. Refrigerated ghee usually lasts around four to seven months past this date.
Always check the date on the label to find out how long your ghee is estimated to be good for. The package will also probably offer guidelines on how to properly store the product. Follow those or the tips shared here to keep the fat in the best condition.
The following chart summarizes the lifespan of ghee when refrigerated or stored at room temperature.
|Type of Ghee||Lifespan|
|Unopened ghee||Best-by + 2 to 3 months||Best-by + 4 to 7 months|
|Opened ghee||3 months||6 months|
4 Tips to Tell if Ghee Has Gone Bad
While ghee can stay good for an extended period, it doesn’t last forever. Following good storage practices can give you a couple months of extra shelf life, but if you have kept the product for too long, make sure to inspect it for signs of spoilage before consumption. Such include:
1. Awful Smell
Give your ghee a quick sniff to check if it still has its original aroma. The scent of good ghee will be buttery and sweet. If it gives off a foul or odd odor, do not use it anymore. An abnormal smell is usually an indication that the product was not stored properly. It was either exposed to extreme heat or light or wasn’t sealed tightly and air sneaked in, causing it to go rancid.
2. Sour Taste
Scoop a little amount of ghee and taste it. While ghee will vary in taste based on the brand, if the product has not gone bad, it will taste like butter but with some kind of a roasted background note. If it has a sour taste, then it is already rancid and should be discarded.
Ghee will usually be yellowish or golden. If the color is different, say, if it turns white over time, there is a chance that the product has been constantly exposed to air, causing it to oxidize. You may still use your ghee but it will certainly not taste as it did when it was new.
Mold or any other growth on the surface signifies the presence of moisture. If you don’t close the lid properly, your ghee will absorb moisture from the air and create the perfect breeding ground for mold. Toss out that ghee.
4 Tips to Store Ghee
We can’t stress enough the importance of storing ghee properly, as proper storage is the only way to ensure the product stays in good condition for an extended period. Here are some tips to help you.
1. Place Ghee in a Cool, Dark Place
Storing your ghee in cool temperatures and away from sunlight keeps it from oxidizing or going rancid, enabling it to retain its quality and nourishing properties. We recommend storing the product in the pantry, but any kitchen cabinet that meets these requirements would be a good spot.
2. Keep it Tightly Sealed
Oxygen and moisture are some of the greatest ghee enemies. Air will cause the product to oxidize and moisture will impact its taste and create the ideal environment for mold to grow.
That said, always ensure your jar of ghee is tightly closed. Luckily, most ghee will come in resealable containers, so this will likely not be a problem. But if your jar cannot close properly, make sure to move the contents into one that can be tightly sealed before putting it in storage.
Ghee stored in the fridge will obviously last longer than one in the pantry. The only downside is that the product solidifies a little bit making it difficult to use on a whim.
If you want to store your ghee in the fridge, consider doing so in smaller portions. Simply get small jars and put the product in there. That way, when you want to use, you can just thaw the little jars instead of one big one.
Putting ghee at room temperature and then placing it back in the refrigerator over and over again alters the chemical composition of the product, causing it to degrade quickly.
4. Observe Hygiene
If you are storing ghee in a different container from the one it came in, make sure the container is clean and odorless. Also, ensure you are always scooping the fat with a clean, dry spoon. Do not use spoons that have been dipped in other food items, as they may track food crumbs into the jar and cause mold.
Watch this short video for more tips on how to store ghee properly:
The Risk of Consuming Expired Ghee
Because ghee doesn’t automatically go bad after the expiration date printed on the package, you can consume it for up to the period we discussed earlier without worrying about getting sick.
If the product smells or tastes funny, however, you should not ingest it, as chances are it has already gone rancid. Now, using rancid ghee will not magically make you ill, but the molecules that are introduced into the product during rancidity may result in digestive problems, ranging from short-term to long-lasting.
Rancid ghee is also less nutritious because the process destroys some of the good fats and mineral content.
Experts argue that ingesting rancid ghee once in a while will likely not have negative side effects, but regular consumption may contribute not only to digestive disorders but also to cardiovascular diseases and even some types of cancers.
Similarly, moldy ghee can cause vomiting, diarrhea, and other gastrointestinal symptoms if consumed in large volumes.
Can You Freeze Ghee?
Yes. If you have bought ghee in excess and you want it to last a little bit longer, freezing would be perfect. It works exceptionally great for homemade ghee as well. It’s an extremely easy process, as all you need is an airtight container and some space in the freezer.
The first thing you need to do is to pick the right container. If the product came in a glass jar that is not safe for freezing, make sure to transfer it to a plastic container or freezer bag. Also, ensure that the container can seal tightly.
If you use ghee frequently, consider separating your whole supply into small several portions. Depending on your consumption, make sure each portion is enough for, say, the next week, month, etc. You can label the containers if you like to help you remember when you froze them so the product does not overstay in the freezer.
Once you have everything all nicely packed and sealed, throw it into the freezer, and that’s it. When you want to use, thaw the ghee overnight in the refrigerator.
No matter your reason for having a jar of ghee in storage, you now know how long the product stays fresh for and how to keep it from going bad fast. Keep ghee in the refrigerator or freezer if you want it to keep its potency for more than just a couple months past the best-by date. If you see signs of spoilage, throw it out.