Mustard is one of the most popular condiments in the US. Our best guess is that every house in the country has a mustard jar somewhere in the kitchen.
Who can even imagine having sausages without mustard? The mustard complements them so perfectly – there is no other condiment as good for them! What’s also great about mustard is that it can be used for so many other things – in sandwiches, for roasts and barbecues, and in salads!
The variety of uses alone is great – and it adds a specific signature flavor to the dish. So, you decided to stock up. There is only one problem, though.
Does mustard go bad – how much time do you have to finish it up? Is there a small window of time or is the shelf life infinite? Read our article to find out!
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Does Mustard Go Bad?
Mustard is a delicious condiment. You can use it for so many things and it’s a great option for those on a restricted diet – very low in sugar and fat. But, knowing does it go bad is very important. With that information, you can stock up on mustard on sale and save some money.
So, without further ado, mustard can go bad. Thankfully, that’s unlikely to happen!
Why? Because mustard has a high concentration of vinegar and lemon juice – which are often used as preservatives. Preservatives are added to foods to keep them safe for a longer time. How to check if lemon has gone bad – read our article for the premium tips.
Mustard is produced worldwide, but let’s see the biggest importers of mustard seeds (2018):
|United States of America||19 million USD|
|Germany||17.4 million USD|
|France||12.8 million USD|
|Belgium||5.2 million USD|
|Poland||4.7 million USD|
|Netherlands||4.7 million USD|
|The rest of the world||63.8 million USD|
If you bought extra jars of mustard and you’re worried they might go bad – don’t be. Mustard has a very, very long shelf life – provided you keep it in pristine storage! Always abide by the instructions on the label and the guidelines in this article – and it will be fine!
How Long Does Mustard Last?
As we talked about in the previous section, mustard has a very long shelf life. However, the shelf life is not the same for every type of mustard – some last longer than others.
Every jar of mustard comes with a best-by date printed on the label. A best-by date doesn’t mean that the food in question will inherently go bad after that date passes. It’s merely a manufacturer’s guarantee that the food will retain the same quality up to that date. Afterward, the product may have compromised quality, but it may stay the same for a long time past the best-by date.
So, mustard will be good for use for quite some time after the best-by date. Regular, American mustard and Chinese mustard can be consumed safely for one to two years past the best-before date, if unopened.
Dijon and honey mustards last a little longer, two to three years past the best-by date. That jar in the fridge you bought months ago is safe!
Opened jars should be consumed in a shorter while. Use the jar within a year of opening for the best quality if kept in the fridge. If you store it at room temperature, use it within two months upon opening.
You can even buy mustard powder in the supermarket, which you mix yourself. It has a long shelf life, too – use it within two years past the best-before date, provided you keep it as per label.
And if you’re particularly crafty in the kitchen and prefer to DIY everything, including condiments, you might want to make your mustard. It has a much shorter shelf life – around a day at room temperature, and up to a week in a fridge!
Storage Tips For Mustard
If you want to get the most out of your jar, it’s principal to store it correctly. Proper storage ensures that your food does not go bad before its time, and it saves you money in the process.
Storage tips for mustard can be applied for mayo, as well. So, first of all, unopened jars of mustard can be stored at room temperature. Opt for a dark and cold place – away from any sources of heat or humidity.
The pantry works best, but if you’re low on pantry space, the kitchen cabinets will have to work. Just pick a cabinet away from the stove!
Once opened, you should always store mustard in the refrigerator – most manufacturers recommend this as well. Seal the jar tightly to prevent the condiment from drying out and becoming unappetizing. It can be stored in the pantry, but for a shorter while!
When serving mustard, use a clean spoon to take it out. Dipping food directly in the jar is something we’d have to advise against. You can transfer bacteria to the rest of the mustard, and spoil it this way!
When it comes to unopened mustard powder – store it in the pantry, away from humidity. Once opened, transfer the powder in a jar or an airtight, plastic container to prevent crumbling.
For homemade mustard, pour it in an airtight container and store it in the fridge. Make sure to seal it tightly every time to get the most out of it.
Let’s check out the nutritional value of 1 cup of yellow mustard:
|Nutrition||Value||Daily value in %*|
|Thiamin (Vitamin B1)||0.9mg||57%|
As we can see from the table, mustard is rather high in sodium, so if you’re on a low-sodium diet, don’t go overboard with mustard consumption!
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How To Check If The Mustard Has Gone Bad
Mustard can go bad, we’ve already concluded. If your mustard looks fishy, and you’re not quite sure whether you should eat it or toss it out, read this part carefully. Here, we will talk about ways to check out the wellness of your jar.
First, open up that jar. Unopened jars are not likely to get mold or mildew, but that can happen. If you can see discolorations or greenish, yellow spots, throw the jar out.
For opened jars, if you can tell that the ingredients separated or the mustard dried out – it doesn’t necessarily mean the mustard’s gone bad. That happens because of improper storage – but it should be fine to eat if you fix it according to our advice.
Next, smell the mustard. If it doesn’t smell like usual – toss it out. Any off or unpleasant smells are a warning sign that the mustard is well past its prime!
Fixing Separated Mustard
Separated ingredients are nothing to worry about in mustard – it’s still perfectly safe for human consumption! Just grab a fork and stir the mustard until it becomes the signature, homogenous mass. After that, it’s ready for eating!
Fixing Mustard That Has Dried Out
Mustard dries out because the lid wasn’t sealed tightly, or there’s a small amount of mustard left in the jar. Either way, if you want to, you can fix it.
Add a tablespoon of vinegar and stir the mustard until it softens. If that isn’t enough, add a little more vinegar until the mustard reaches a satisfying texture. Next, taste it. If the taste simply isn’t right, it might be best to throw it out!
Does Mustard Go Bad? – Conclusion
Lastly, we’ve concluded that mustard goes bad. Mustard has a very long shelf life, so the fact that it goes bad isn’t the worst thing in the world.
How long of shelf life, exactly? It differs on the type of mustard – regular American yellow mustard can be used for more than a year past the best-before date. On the other hand, dijon mustard can be consumed up to 3 years past the best-by date! Wow!
What’s so great about mustard is that you don’t have to throw it out if it dries or separates. You can fix it and still use it! With a little stirring and vinegar, your mustard can be as tasty as it ever was. So, what are you waiting for?