Baking soda is one of the most crucial ingredients in every kitchen. You surely have a bag or two of this stuff in your kitchen right now. As the name says, it’s primarily used in baking anything from cakes to quick bread.
Baking soda makes your dough light and soft, so you get the fluffy texture you want out of your pastry.
Although yeast is often used for the same effect, the upside of using baking soda is that it does the job a lot quicker. The reason for this is that baking soda, unlike yeast, needs much less time to produce CO2 in the dough.
Since you don’t have to use a lot when you bake something, you may find an old opened box of baking soda in your kitchen.
You may ask yourself many questions when you see an old used box of baking soda such as:
- Does baking soda go bad?
- Can I get sick if I use old baking soda?
- How to tell if baking soda has gone bad?
- Should I throw away old baking soda?
Luckily for you, in this article we’ll answer all your questions and more, so read on!
Does Baking Soda Go Bad?
The simple answer is no, baking soda doesn’t go bad, BUT it does lose its ability to make your pastry fluffy over time.
Baking soda is a leavening agent. This means that it causes a chemical reaction with acidic foods making them rise. The result of this chemical process is fluffy pancakes, cookies, and biscuits.
Over time, your baking soda loses its ability to make your dough soft. The issue is the moisture that the baking soda takes in, as well as exposure to very hot or cold temperatures.
If you use baking soda which was exposed to air for a long time, your pastry will not be fluffy and soft at all. Instead, you will get a small, hard-to-chew pastry. In other words, your baking soda is useless.
So, How Long Does Baking Soda Last?
An unopened box of baking soda will remain good for use until the best-by date, which is usually 2 years. After opening the box, you can get the best out of it for another six months at room temperature. After that, it will slowly lose its efficiency.
How To Tell If Your Baking Soda Is Still Good?
Like we already said, baking soda can’t get moldy or stale, but it can lose its potency. Luckily, there is a very simple and effective way of checking whether your baking soda still does the job.
Because baking soda is a base, it will react with acidic substances. This reaction allows us to see if the baking soda can still do its job the way we want it. The easiest way to check this is to pour 2-3 tablespoons of lemon juice or vinegar into a glass. After that just add the baking soda.
If the liquid starts to bubble and fizz, that means that your baking soda is still useful. If there are no bubbles, that means that the baking soda has lost its dough-lifting properties. The more bubbling and fizzing, the better the baking soda.
How To Store Baking Soda?
Although unopened baking soda has a long shelf life, you should pay attention after opening the box. Also, there are a couple more things you should keep in mind when it comes to storing baking soda.
Here are some tips & tricks on how to store your baking soda properly, and preserve its potency for as long as possible.
Do Not Buy More Than You Can Use
When you are buying baking soda, be sure to buy the amount you can use in a 6-month period if possible. If you buy too much and don’t use it all within 6 months, the baking soda will lose its usefulness.
Also, when you open a new box, be sure to write the date of opening on the box. This will inform you how much longer your baking soda is gonna be efficient.
Keep It Cool And Dark
Be sure to put your baking soda and other leaving agents far away from direct sunlight.
Do not store your baking soda in a fridge or a freezer unless you are using it to absorb the smells from the fridge. If you are using it for this purpose, do not use the same baking soda to bake.
Keep the baking soda away from your stove, the heat coming from it will affect the baking soda in a bad way. The heat will lead to a loss of potency.
Try to store the baking soda in a dry place. A pantry would do great. If moisture gets into the baking powder, it will rapidly dissolve the baking powder’s potency.
Lastly, you can place your baking soda in an airtight jar. This will stop air from coming into contact with the baking soda prolonging its efficacy.
Should I Throw Away Old Baking Soda?
Baking soda is mostly used for baking but that’s not its only use. If you find out that your baking soda is not efficient anymore, don’t throw it away immediately. It has many other uses besides making the dough rise.
Baking soda can be used to treat heartburn which is also known as acid reflux. It’s caused by your stomach acid. Since baking soda is a base, it is effective in neutralizing acid, but you shouldn’t overdo it.
You can use it as a mouthwash. Add 1/2 teaspoon of soda to half a glass of water and rinse as usual.
Baking soda is a widely used home remedy for whitening teeth. It has a mild abrasive property that allows it to break down molecules that stain your teeth.
It can be of use for soothing itchy and irritated skin. If you have eczema, try making a baking soda bath, it will decrease that annoying itch. You need a quarter cup of baking soda in your bath and you’re good to go.
Baking soda is very effective in removing odors from your fridge too. It doesn’t only mask the bad smells – it removes them completely. That’s because it actually interacts with the molecules which produce the odor. All you need is one cup of soda in the back of your fridge and you won’t smell anything bad again.
If you make a mess after making lunch, you can use baking soda to remove kitchen stains. Just make a paste with some baking soda and water, apply it to the stained spot, and rub. It can be of use on ovens, kitchen tiles, grease stains, microwaves…
The above-mentioned use applies in the bathroom too. You can use a mixture of baking soda and water to clean bathroom surfaces. Apply it to the dirty spot and let it rest for about 15 minutes. Then clean with a damp cloth.
Does Baking Soda Go Bad? – Final Word
Baking soda never actually goes bad in the sense that it is not safe to eat. It only loses its effectiveness when it comes to rising dough.
Unopened, it has a rather long shelf life of 2 years, and when you open it, that shelf life shortens to six months.
There is an easy way of checking whether your baking soda is still good to use with sough. Just mix vinegar or lemon juice with it, and if it fizzes it’s still good.
Storing it is easy. Keep it away from direct sunlight and moisture. Also, don’t freeze it or expose it to high heat. Keep it in an airtight container if you can.
Don’t store it in the fridge or freezer. Because of its ability to absorb smells, if stored in a fridge, your baking soda might end up smelling like food.
Try not to buy more than you will use in the next six months.
Even if your baking soda loses its dough lifting properties, you can still use it for a variety of things.
Use the leftover baking soda to clean tough stains in your kitchen or bathroom, or remove foul odors. You can take a bath with it to soothe your itchy skin.