Cornstarch is a food item with a variety of uses. It’s also commonly known as maize starch or cornflour. It’s traditionally derived from corn grain.
It’s easily modified and it’s used for so many things outside the kitchen. Did you know that a lot of industrial-strength glue is made from cornstarch?
Also, it’s widely used in paper and textile production. Bet you didn’t know this one, right?
So, let’s get back on track. Even in the kitchen, cornstarch can be used for so many things. Sure, we all use it to make corn syrup or thicken a soup.
You were reading up on some recipes for a cream soup. Everyone knows that for a good creamy soup, you need cornstarch.
When you were out shopping, you saw some cornstarch on sale. You have given stocking up a thought – but you were faced with a different kind of a problem.
Does cornstarch go bad? Is there some kind of shelf life on this food item? To find out all this, and more, continue reading!
Does Cornstarch Go Bad?
Well, does it? To know whether stocking up on cornstarch is a good idea – you need to know does it go bad.
So, without any further ado, cornstarch does not go bad. It may come as a surprise, but it simply lasts forever.
That’s a good thing because cornstarch isn’t something you need all the time. It’s used occasionally at best – so you can easily stock up on it.
Let’s check out the nutritional value of 1 cup of cornstarch:
|Nutrient||Value||Daily value in %*|
We can see that cornstarch is not very nutritious, but it doesn’t have to be – its primary use is to thicken or make syrup. It’s rather high in calories and carbs, so if you have a restricted diet, keep that in mind.
Some food items used for cooking and baking can lose their potency over time. That’s not the case with cornstarch – it will be able to thicken a food no matter how much time has passed.
The only thing that can happen is that it can become unusable due to inadequate storage conditions. Luckily, we’ll cover how to check out your cornstarch and how to store it properly, so you can make sure that doesn’t happen to you!
Can corn syrup go bad? Read our article to find out!
Storage Tips And Tricks
Storage is key when it comes to getting the most out of your food products. If it’s stored properly, it will last you a good, good while.
Properly stored items are less likely to go bad before their time – they will usually last even longer than you think. On the other hand, we revealed that cornstarch doesn’t go bad.
If it doesn’t go bad, why does it matter how we store it?
Well, cornstarch doesn’t go bad only if it’s stored correctly. If it’s placed in a place that doesn’t quite meet the requirements, it will no longer be a-okay to use.
So, it’s important to place it in a place safe for cornstarch. Like flour and similar things, it isn’t very hard to figure out a good place to put it.
There are a few things to keep in mind, though. Choose a place that is cold, dark, and dry. So, no shelves near a window or a source of heat. A pantry or a cupboard is fine.
The place for cornstarch mustn’t be humid, at all. Humidity can affect your cornstarch and spoil it! Check the pantry for moisture or mold before you place the cornstarch inside.
Also, make sure to always seal the bag after use. The original packaging works best, but you can transfer it to something more convenient.
If you want to transfer the cornstarch, choose an airtight container. Keep it sealed at all times for the best results!
Extra tip: always use a dry, clean spoon to scoop up the starch. That way you will avoid transferring bacteria or moisture from the spoon to the cornstarch!
Cornstarch, Cornflour, And Cornmeal – What’s The Difference?
On the one hand, cornflour and cornmeal are pretty similar. They both are ground corn maize. The only difference between the two is how ground they are – if it’s finely ground, it’s cornflour. And if it’s coarsely ground, it’s cornmeal. One more similarity – they both taste like corn.
On the other hand, cornstarch is an entirely different product. Cornstarch is made by deriving starch from the maize. It’s not the entire grain of corn in cornstarch (like in cornflour or cornmeal), but just the starch from the endosperm.
It’s used to make a creamy texture-out of liquids like soups. Unlike cornmeal and cornflour, cornstarch doesn’t have a taste.
How Long Does Cornstarch Last?
Well, it’s hard to say how long cornstarch lasts. To be honest, it doesn’t lose its ability to thicken even after a decade. Due to inadequate storage conditions, it can spoil – but if kept properly, that will virtually never happen.
What does the label say? To be fair, it doesn’t say that cornstarch can be used forever. It has a best-by or a best-before date.
What’s a best-by date? A best-by date can be considered a manufacturer’s guarantee that the food in question will retain the same quality up to the date on the label.
That doesn’t mean that cornstarch (or any other food) will go bad past that date. Some foods may degrade in quality after that date passes, but nothing can happen, too.
When we’re talking about cornstarch and best-by dates, they don’t mean much. Cornstarch will truly never stop being starchy, even after years and years.
How Can You Tell If The Cornstarch Has Gone Bad
We’ve certainly concluded that cornstarch doesn’t go bad. We mentioned that improper storage can cause your cornstarch to spoil, but how exactly?
For example, if you store the cornstarch in a musty or moldy place – it may go catch some mold, too. If you see that your cornstarch has some mold or mildew, we’re sorry, but you have to throw it out.
The same thing is if you get the cornstarch wet. It’s best thrown out because the water content is ideal for fungi or mold growth.
The same thing is if your pantry (or storage space) is infested with any type of bugs. Bugs in your cornstarch? A big no-no. Throw the bag into the trash and check out the rest of the foodstuffs in the storage. They are probably infested with bugs, too.
Throw out anything with bugs in it, every single time. Bugs can carry diseases that you can catch by eating that food.
After cleaning out the pantry, disinfect every surface and spray with an anti-bug spray to make sure the bugs won’t be back. If you struggle with bugs often, consider packing up all your flour and cornstarch in a big plastic box. We did that and wow, a real game-changer, especially if you live in a house and not an apartment.
Lastly, if the cornstarch becomes crumbly or chunky, we assure you it’s not bad. It’s still perfectly safe. Chunky cornstarch doesn’t lose its ability to thicken liquids!
Once it’s stirred in the liquid, it will do the work all the same. If the chunks bother you, you can always sift them before use.
Fun fact: did you know that cornstarch can be used as a thickening agent only in warm and hot water? In cold water, cornstarch will just sink to the bottom – it has no potency at low temperatures.
Does Cornstarch Go Bad? – Conclusion
To conclude, cornstarch does not go bad. It has an infinitely long shelf life, but not in all conditions.
If your cornstarch is left in a humid environment, it will go bad in a way it will become moldy. So, there’s no way around it, you will have to throw it out.
If you want your cornstarch to be good forever, just store it according to the instructions on the box. Choose a dry place away from sources of heat and light and if possible, use the original container. If not possible for any reason, use an airtight container.
Even if you open the bag of cornstarch and see it’s got some clumps – don’t be alarmed. Clumpy cornstarch doesn’t lose its ability to thicken soups. It’s perfectly safe for human consumption.
So, if you keep the cornstarch in good condition, it will never go bad! Whenever you need it, it will be there, waiting on the shelf!