Does Buttermilk Go Bad?

If you’re buying buttermilk solely for cooking purposes you’ve probably asked yourself numerous times the question: “does buttermilk go bad?”. It might be difficult to determine whether it has gone bad, because its smell and taste doesn’t change that much, as in the case of other foods. Maybe you need only a little amount of buttermilk and you don’t know what to do with the rest of it. In either case, this article will provide you with some useful information about shelf life of buttermilk, how to store it and how to determine whether it has spoiled, or not.

How To Store Buttermilk

Buttermilk similarly to other dairy products has to be stored in the refrigerator. Both opened and unopened one. If you want to extend its shelf life, you can freeze the buttermilk. If you want to freeze it, you should use some kind of airtight container. If you’re needing a little amount of buttermilk on a regular basis, you can freeze it in portion-sized parts. This will make it easy for you to get from the freezer and thaw only the amount you need. Make sure to leave some empty space at the top of the container – buttermilk contains water which expands when frozen. There is one more thing you should know – after thawing both the taste and the consistency of the product will be somewhat different from the usual ones, so you should only freeze it if you want to use it in cooked dishes.

Shelf Life Of Buttermilk

Most sources state that buttermilk is going to be fine for about two weeks while in the fridge, but it should be fine for a longer period of time. While it’s unopened and in the fridge, it should be fine for at least a month, maybe even longer. Once it’s opened it should last in the fridge for about two weeks, but if you want to drink it, you should do it earlier than two weeks after the opening. When buttermilk approaches the two weeks mark, it should be use for baking purposes rather than drinking. If you would like to store buttermilk for an extended period of time, you can freeze it (check out the guidelines in the previous paragraph). While frozen, it’ll be fine for long months, but it’s recommended to utilize it within three months from freezing date for best quality possible.

Does buttermilk go bad?
(credit: devaburger

How To Tell If Buttermilk Is Bad

It’s a little difficult to determine whether buttermilk is spoiled, or not. That’s because buttermilk is an already intentionally spoiled product. Even though buttermilk is an acidic substance, sometimes mold might be able to get there and start to grow. It’s very unlikely to happen, but you should check the inside of the carton and its lip. If you can spot any signs of mold or any other strange-looking masses there, discard the product. When it comes to the looks fo the buttermilk, you should also examine the consistency. It’s perfectly normal that buttermilk separates, so you should shake the container or stir the contents with a spoon. If the consistency isn’t similar to the natural one (e.g. the buttermilk is very thick), it’s the best to throw it out.

Another way to tell if buttermilk has expired is to check its smell. The buttermilk might have a very sour odor, or it can simply smell spoiled. If your product has an unusual smell, it probably isn’t fit for consumption. Tasting the product is your last resort in the case of determining whether it has gone bad, or not. If it tastes very sour, or the taste just doesn’t seem to be right for the buttermilk, discard the product. When you’re checking whether your buttermilk is fine you should also consider the guidelines from the paragraph about shelf life. If you’re in doubt, it’s always better to be safe than sorry. Consuming spoiled buttermilk can cause diarrhea, nausea or any other symptoms of food poisoning.

Even though buttermilk is a product spoiled on purpose, it still can “go bad”. Buttermilk should always be kept in the fridge, where it can last for at least a month unopened or for about two weeks opened. If you want to extend its shelf life, you can freeze it. That will allow you to store buttermilk for almost as long as you want, but you need to remember that the quality of buttermilk drops a little while it’s frozen. Freezing it for three months is the recommended maximum period for the best quality after thawing. Does buttermilk go bad? Yes, it does go bad and it happens pretty quickly, unless you decide to freeze it.