Yogurt is classed as a diary product made from fermented raw milk. Yogurt is either eaten alone or it is used for a variety of dishes such as cakes, cookies, smoothies and stews.
Additionally, yogurt is extremely nutritious, and it is associated with many health benefits including the prevention of cancer, heart disease and gastrointestinal disorders.
Because of the sensitive nature in which yogurt is made, it is important that it is stored properly to prevent contamination and accelerated expiration. Here are some practical tips to ensure that you get the best out of your yogurt.
Does Yogurt Go Bad?
Yes, yogurt does go bad once the expiry date has passed.
However, it can spoil before the expiry date if it isn’t stored properly. Yogurt should always be placed in the fridge whether it has been opened or not.
Exposing yogurt to warm temperatures increases the risk of bacterial contamination which can cause food poisoning. The reason for this is that bacteria grows at room temperature.
How Long Does Yogurt Last?
All yogurt pots have an expiry date printed on it. However, this date is only an estimate and there is no harm in consuming the yogurt if a couple of weeks have passed since this date.
It is essential that yogurt is stored in the fridge to prevent premature expiration. However, in general, according to eatbydate.com you can expect yogurt to last for the following amount of time:
|In the Fridge||In the Freezer|
|Open Yogurt||1 week||
1 – 2 months
|7 – 10 days||
2 – 3 months
4 Tips to Tell if Yogurt Has Gone Bad
No matter what type, all yogurt comes with an expiration date. The length of time you have to eat it may differ, but there are several ways to check whether your yogurt has gone bad, here are four of them:
- Expiration Date: While it’s not a good idea to eat yogurt that’s weeks past the expiration date, a couple of days won’t harm you. In general, expiration dates are only a recommendation, it doesn’t mean you will get sick if you eat the food a few days after the printed date. On the other hand, you will need to take into consideration the fact that you may have bought a faulty batch where the yogurt expires before the expiration date. Therefore, you should perform all the necessary checks before consuming the yogurt.
- The Way it Smells: Yogurt has a fresh appetizing smell; fruit-flavored yogurt typically smells like fruit and plain yogurt has a strong but pleasant smell. But when yogurt has expired, there will be nothing pleasant about the smell, as soon as you open the container, the smell will hit you.
- Give it a Stir: One of the first things you notice when yogurt has gone bad is that a watery liquid sits on the surface. Beneath that, you will find that the yogurt has turned into a cottage cheese like texture, but you won’t know this unless you stir it. So, get a spoon and give it a good whirl, if you notice any lumps, it’s definitely time to throw the yogurt away.
- The Color: The color of your yogurt will depend on the flavor, but a yellow or turbid brown color is a sure sign that it gone off. You may also notice a dark or white mold on the surface. Don’t even think about scooping off the part that looks bad and eating the rest, once yogurt has been contaminated, there is nothing you can do to save it.
4 Tips to Store Yogurt
Whether you are storing flavored, plain or Greek yogurt, here are four tips to ensure that you throw away less, and eat more of this delicious treat:
- Properly Sealed: To keep the original flavor of yogurt, store it in an airtight container, and make sure the lid is properly sealed. Due to the consistency of yogurt, it easily picks up other flavors, but you can prevent this by putting a tight lid on it. Most yogurt comes with a foil covering underneath the lid, it is not uncommon for people to make the mistake of throwing this foil covering in the trash. Keep it on, the foil provides an extra layer of protection that you won’t get from a plastic covering.
- Keep it at the Back of the Fridge: One place you should never store yogurt is on the door of the fridge, the reason for this is that each time you open the fridge, there is a slight change in temperature. Since yogurt is so delicate, the smallest temperature change can speed up the expiration process. The temperature at the back of the fridge remains cool and consistent. Additionally, it is important to mention that you should ensure your fridge is kept at a temperature between 34 to 40 degrees F.
- Avoid Cross-Contamination: Unless you are going to eat all the yogurt in one sitting, it’s best that you scoop what you need out of the pot and transfer it into a bowl. Additionally, protect your yogurt against bacterial infestation by using a clean spoon each time you eat it. You should also avoid combining used and fresh yogurt.
- Freeze it: If you are not concerned about the texture of your yogurt, you can freeze it if you want to keep it for a longer period of time. As mentioned, frozen yogurt is best for baking and making smoothies.
The Risk of Consuming Expired Yogurt
Yogurt is one of the few foods that safe to eat past the expiration date. Especially considering the fact that yogurt is actually spoilt milk anyway. As long as you don’t leave it too long after the expiration date (up to two weeks is fine).
Nevertheless, this doesn’t give you the green light to eat completely rotten yogurt. Once the color starts changing, it gets infected with mold or it turns lumpy, throw the yogurt in the trash.
But, if you do accidentally eat spoilt yogurt, there is a chance that you could get food poisoning. When the yogurt hasn’t been stored properly, you increase the risk of it getting contaminated with bacteria.
If you do get food poisoning, the body will try and get rid of the harmful toxins it has been exposed to, as a result, you will experience symptoms such as diarrhea, abdominal cramping, vomiting, dizziness, headache, fatigue, and a loss of appetite.
If the food poisoning is mild, these symptoms will only last for a few days, and over the counter medication or home remedies combined with plenty of bed rest should provide relief.
However, if the symptoms last longer than this, there is a high chance you have caught a more severe type of food poisoning and you will need to seek medical attention.
Can you freeze Yogurt?
Yes, in fact, fresh yogurt freezes extremely well. As with all products, it’s best to freeze them before they’ve been opened; however, you can still freeze an opened tub of yogurt.
If the yogurt has been opened, you will need to scoop the contents out into an airtight container and label it with the date, so you know when to throw it out if it’s kept for longer than the expiration date. On the other hand, you can freeze unopened yogurt in its original container.
Yogurt is part liquid, so when it’s frozen, it expands; therefore, whatever container you put it in, you will need to make sure there is a bit of room for the expansion.
Give fruit-flavored yogurt a good stir before freezing it, this will ensure that the fruity part doesn’t get stuck at the bottom of the container. If you are planning on using the yogurt for baking or smoothies, freeze it in portions.
You can do this by transferring it into ice cube trays for a few hours. Once it’s frozen, pop them out into an airtight container or a Ziploc bag. Label the container with a date and store it in the freezer.
When you are ready to use the frozen yogurt, you can either thaw it or if you like icy smoothies, you can add the cubes to the smoothie and blend to combine.
To thaw the yogurt back into a liquid form, put the container into a bowl to catch any water during the thawing process, and leave it in the fridge for up to 24 hours.
Once thawed, the texture may be a little grainy or more of a liquid type consistency, give it a vigorous stir and the yogurt will return to its normal texture.
You can prevent yogurt from going bad before the expiration date by making sure you store it properly.
After buying yogurt, put it in the fridge as soon as you arrive home, when yogurt is left at room temperature for longer than two hours, there is a high chance it will start going bad.
If you take all the necessary precautions, you can enjoy your yogurt as the healthy and nutritious dish its supposed to be.