The big question is, does mayonnaise go bad. I was convinced that it is an easily perishable food because of the eggs it contains, but some experts argue that it is not the case.
The fact is that it is not the same if you use homemade mayonnaise or prefer buying a ready-made product. So, let’s check out how long does mayonnaise last and can you use it past the date on the label.
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Does Mayonnaise Go Bad?
Commercially made mayo won’t spoil quickly since some ingredients help this product stay edible for weeks. However, you need to worry about a homemade product, although the problem is often caused by cross-contamination with other food, not the prepared mayo itself.
The fact is that commercial mayo contains egg yolk, oil, and vinegar. However, acid and preservatives kill bacteria, and consequently, extend the product’s life and prevent fast spoiling.
Since eggs necessary for preparation are not pasteurized, the risk of food poisoning is higher. Prevent any issue by making only the amount of mayo you can eat on time and avoid using leftovers for too long.
How Long Does Mayonnaise Last?
The shelf life of unopened ready-made mayo is quite long, often more than a year, since it contains long-lasting ingredients and preservatives. Always check a best-by date before buying this product, and use it in the period when it retains the best quality.
However, it will even last two to three months past that date in most cases. No one can tell you how long precisely because it depends on its quality and ingredients and seasoning it contains. Often, you can use it at least a month or two past the date.
How Long Does Mayonnaise Last (Chart)
4 to 7 days
|/||1 to 2 months|
|Unopened, ready-made||3 to 4 months||
It is entirely different when it comes to opened mayonnaise. When you use a quality product, it can last approximately one to two months when stored in the fridge.
Remember that homemade mayo can’t stay fresh and safe to use for more than one week stored in the refrigerator. Never keep it for too long at room temperature and risk to spoil.
5 Tips to Tell if Mayonnaise Has Gone Bad
Even though mayonnaise lasts for a long time before going bad, you should check it regularly. Several proven signs indicate your mayo is not safe to use. Let’s see.
First, check how your mayo looks. If you notice separated layers at the jar top or liquid collecting in the hole left by your spoon, you can be sure that it has become spoiled. Since bacterial overgrowth causes this, you should do the best to avoid food poisoning.
In some cases, you may spot the oil separated on the surface of dark yellow mayonnaise. It is a sign that it is quite old. In the end, the occurrence of lumps will show that your mayo has got spoilt.
Instead of being creamy white, spoiled mayonnaise is a bit yellow or even brownish. Experts agree that any discoloration indicates that it has stayed too long in an open jar or your food is contaminated somehow.
The acidic or putrid mayo smell should warn you to avoid this jar since your delicacy is no longer safe to use. In fact, any unusual odor is a sign to throw the jar in the trash.
Even though you keep your mayo in the fridge for long, it is edible as long as its taste is pleasing. Once it stays tasting off or unpleasantly, it has probably gone bad.
When your mayo is not stored appropriately, you can see mold growing around the jar neck or inside it. There is no way to save it by changing the container since the mold has already affected all the content. As a result of consuming such mayonnaise, you may have a health issue.
It is the same when noticing spores in your mayo. Their presence is a sign that it is no longer safe to use, and you need to throw it away.
How to Store Mayonnaise
Proper storage is crucial when you want your mayonnaise to last for a long time. The rules in this particular case are simple. You should keep it in the pantry before opening a jar and refrigerate it immediately after using this yummy product. However, I will give you a few additional pieces of advice on how to do it the right way.
Cold and dry place
You can store your mayo in any cold and dry place in the house, as I have already mentioned. However, even room temperature is an acceptable option in this case. When stored this way, this product will be edible to the date written on a label. Once this day comes, you should throw mayonnaise away.
Avoid humid places for storing and keep the jar in the kitchen cabinet or pantry. When choosing to store it in the kitchen, the crucial thing is to pick out a place as far away from the stove as possible. Unless the label says otherwise, there is no need to place mayo in the fridge, but it won’t hurt anyway.
Unlike purchased mayonnaise, you should never store homemade mayo in the kitchen or even pantry. Raw egg yolks make it highly susceptible to bacteria, so this product requires lower temperatures.
If you prefer mayonnaise packed in a squeeze bottle, always clean the top with a dry paper towel before closing it. Never use a wet one to avoid contamination.
- Keep mayo away from light and heat – High temperature deteriorates mayo quality fast. So, avoid storing it next to the stove or above the oven. This product will also last longer when stored in a dark place such as a pantry.
- Clean spoons – Make sure to use a clean spoon every time you scoop mayo. That way, you will prevent accidental bacterial contamination and mold growth. Be careful and never use the spoon you have used to take other foods.
- Seal the jar tightly – Make sure that the jar is sealed correctly after every use. That way, you may prevent contamination while it stays in the fridge.
Once you open the jar with mayo, the best place to store it is in the refrigerator below 40 F (4.5 C). That way, it will stay well about two months before its quality starts changing. On the other hand, this product quickly goes bad when stored in the pantry and room temperature.
Keep in mind that you should always store homemade mayonnaise in the fridge without any exception. You should do the same with dishes and sandwiches made with mayo. Never keep them at temperatures above 90 F (32 C) for more than two hours.
As I have already mentioned, storing mayonnaise in the freezer is not an excellent idea. Unfortunately, its texture and taste won’t resemble the original one after thawing. You shouldn’t freeze sandwiches and salads that contain mayo, as well. The only exception is baked goods with mayonnaise that tend to freeze without negative consequences.
The Risk of Consuming an Expired Mayonnaise
Once bacteria overgrowth in your mayo, you can get sick if you keep eating it. The biggest problem here is homemade mayonnaise made of unpasteurized egg yolks that often contain Salmonella.
However, even a commercially made product may contain these bacteria due to cross-contamination or improper storage. The first signs of poisoning after consuming spoiled mayo are:
- Excessive thirst, dehydration, and dry mouth
- Lack of urine
- Cramping and diarrhea
Can You Freeze Mayonnaise?
Mayonnaise is one of these foods you shouldn’t put in the freezer. Low temperatures won’t spoil it but will alter its texture and taste. When you make too much of it, you can freeze it, but it is definitely an unusual practice.
Nowadays, you can find a way to do that without too much disturbing its texture after thawing. Keep in mind that you need to be fast. Choose a freezer-safe glass jar or bottle and sterilize it. Do it by submerging the jar in a pot filled with water and letting it boil for 5 minutes.
Fill the glass jar with mayo but always leave 1 inch (2.5 cm) of space since it expands in the freezer. After removing as much air as possible, seal the jar and place it in the freezer.
When deciding to thaw mayonnaise, you should let it defrost in the refrigerator as much as needed. If the oil separates from the emulsion, you can re-emulsify your mayo to restore its original structure. Never use thawed mayo for more than 5 to 6 days.
While it is OK to store unopened mayonnaise at room temperature, you should put it into the fridge as soon as you open the jar. It is not a highly perishable product when stored appropriately, but its quality decreases over time. So, do your best to save this delicious food from spoiling.