Buttermilk is a fermented dairy product. Traditionally, it was the liquid left after the butter is churned. Nowadays, buttermilk is produced differently – it’s cultured, but more on that later.
Buttermilk was traditionally produced in warmer climates. The reason behind that is that it takes more time to go sour over regular milk at room temperature.
Nowadays, buttermilk is produced all over the globe. It’s used for so many things – all desserts get a fuller taste with buttermilk over regular milk.
Did you know that fried chicken tastes better if it’s made with buttermilk? Well, now that you know how great buttermilk is, you decided to stock up on it.
As soon as you started to add some to your cart, one question popped into your head. Does buttermilk go bad?
How much time do you have to finish your stock? Continue reading to find out!
Does Buttermilk Go Bad?
Buttermilk may be very popular, and if you’re big on dessert, you might be using it more often than most people. However, to know whether buying buttermilk in bulk is a great idea, you have to find out first if buttermilk goes bad.
So, does it?
Unfortunately, buttermilk can go bad. It goes bad because it’s fermented. Fermentation is the process of culturing bacteria to produce dairy. That bacteria is also known as good bacteria.
Fermentation gives the buttermilk the signature taste. On the other hand, the fermentation process doesn’t stop at some point. It’s continued even after it’s poured in the carton or the bottle – and it results in spoiling the milk after some time.
So, the good bacteria make the buttermilk, but they also make it go bad after a while. To get the most out of your carton, follow the instructions on the box. That way, you will never be surprised with sour buttermilk!
Let’s check out the nutritional value of 1 cup of fermented buttermilk:
|Nutritional fact||Value||Daily value in %*|
|Riboflavin (Vitamin B2)||0.5mg||30%|
How Long Does Buttermilk Last?
Furthermore, if you want to buy some buttermilk in bulk, you need to know the shelf life. If you know how long it lasts – you’ll know how much can you buy, based on your needs.
So, how long is the shelf life on buttermilk?
Well, buttermilk comes with a sell-by date on the label. A sell-by date is a guideline for sellers. A seller should sell this product by this date – but it doesn’t mean that the product will go bad past that date, on the contrary.
Buttermilk should retain its freshness for around one to two weeks. Whether it’s going to be fresh for longer depends on a lot of factors.
First of all, storage. If it was out of the refrigerator for a while, it will go sour quicker. Unfortunately, you cannot know if it was mishandled or kept at room temperature for a while.
Either way, be careful and check it out before you use it in a meal. Using sour buttermilk can upset your stomach!
This applies to unopened cartons of buttermilk. Once you open the carton, you have up to two weeks to finish it all. Just make sure to follow the storage instructions to make sure it doesn’t go bad before its time.
So, it’s almost good for a month after purchasing. That’s not too long, but it’s good enough!
See Also: How Long Does Powdered Milk Last?
Storage Tips For Buttermilk
To get the most out of your food items, you should always abide by the manufacturer’s recommendations. Correct storage saves you money as a plus because you will not be forced to throw out food that could’ve been eaten.
So, storing buttermilk is fairly easy. Like all food products bought in the refrigerated aisles of the supermarket, you should always store buttermilk in the refrigerator.
Opened, unopened – doesn’t matter. Buttermilk will spoil way too soon at room temperature.
Upon opening, you should always seal the carton or bottle tightly after use. Also, keep it in the original packaging if you want it to last for more than a week.
Extra tip: don’t keep buttermilk in the fridge door. Place it in the back of the fridge, and if possible, on a lower shelf. A lower shelf keeps a lower temperature than the door, even by five degrees!
Many foods can be frozen to prolong shelf life. Buttermilk can be frozen, too – but we’d against that unless it’s necessary.
Buttermilk can change the texture upon thawing and you can find the taste a little bland. However, buttermilk is perfectly safe in the freezer – but make sure to freeze it as soon as you get home from the store.
Do note that the quality will degrade gradually in the freezer – so freeze buttermilk for no longer than six months. For the best results, let buttermilk thaw overnight in the fridge.
Once thawed, use the buttermilk in the next five days.
One more thing to keep in mind about freezing buttermilk: you simply cannot freeze it in the original packaging. You must transfer it into a freezer-safe container.
So, the best idea is to use an airtight container or ice cubes. Ice cubes are an especially great idea if you usually use them for making cupcakes or cake – and only need a small quantity.
Making Buttermilk At Home
You were in a rush today at the supermarket, and you forgot to buy buttermilk. Now, there isn’t enough time to rush back, but you want to make a cake tonight. What is there to do?
Thankfully, you can make buttermilk at home – and it does the job all the same as the commercial kind!
All you need is:
- 2% or whole milk;
- White vinegar or lemon juice;
- A measuring cup.
For every cup of milk, add a tablespoon of vinegar or lemon juice. Stir it and let the mixture sit for 10 to 15 minutes. After that time passes, the buttermilk will curdle slightly – that’s how you know the process worked. And there you have it – you made your buttermilk!
How To Check If The Buttermilk Has Gone Sour
Sometimes, you can forget when you bought some items. Today, you wanted to make some muffins, but couldn’t remember for the life of it – when did you buy the buttermilk. Is it still good or is it ready for the trash?
So, you need to check if it’s still safe for use. Read this section carefully to learn how to do that.
First, check out the carton. If it looks swollen or puffy, it’s most definitely spoiled. On the other hand, if the package looks fine, open it up and pour some into a transparent cup.
If you can see mold, or the buttermilk is thick and clumpy, it’s gone sour. If you cannot even pour it because it’s so thick – believe us, it’s bad.
If it looks fine, though – smell it, just to be safe. Any off or unpleasant smells are a warning sign your bottle of buttermilk is no longer good.
And one more thing: as more time passes, the taste changes. It will become less buttery and sourer over time. That doesn’t mean it’s gone bad yet, but that time is approaching.
All in all – it comes down to your personal preference. If you find it too sour – it’s gone sour. If you find it’s fine – use it safely.
And if it’s been around a month since you purchased the buttermilk – just throw it out. Better to be safe than sorry!
Does Buttermilk Go Bad – Conclusion
To conclude, buttermilk can go bad. Unfortunately, like all dairy products, buttermilk has an expiration date as well.
It also doesn’t have much until it finally goes sour – no more than a month. It should always be refrigerated if you want it to keep fresh for longer than a few hours – because that is how long it takes to go sour at room temperature!
And if your buttermilk has gone bad, and the store had already closed for the day – you can DIY it. With just whole milk and vinegar, you can make your own. Remember this if you ever find yourself in a situation where you need buttermilk but can’t buy any at the moment.
If you’re set on using the buttermilk you found in the back of the fridge, take a few moments to check it out before you use it. Check out the package, texture, and smell.
If everything looks (and smells) good, use the buttermilk without worry!