When it comes to popular treats, Nutella has to be one of the most famous brands on the planet. Seriously, you would be hard-pressed to find any corner of the world that hadn’t had an opportunity to get a taste of this sweet, sweet cream.
So the chances are that you already have a package of Nutella sitting on your shelf. But, does Nutella go bad, and just how long you can keep it safely stored there?
Good questions since being sugar-clad sweet creams like this are not exactly something you are going to storm in one run unless you have a bunch of guests. Don’t know about you, but we would be heartbroken to see our Nutella spoiled because we didn’t know its expiration date and how to store it properly.
So, let us once and for all clear these doubts and see what we can learn about the famous cream’s shelf life.
What Is Nutella Anyway?
Of course, we are not talking about the very brand. We are all perfectly aware of how Nutella tastes and know a couple of recipes to put it to good use. We are talking more about what cream hides under the hood.
You see while researching the shelf life of some product, we like to take a peek at its ingredients and nutritional info. It simply tells us tons of useful things about the proper use and helps us understand its persistence better. This one is no exception.
So, in a nutshell, Nutella is a famous Italian brand (manufactured by the company Ferrero) of sweetened palm oil flavored with cocoa solids and hazelnut. The majority of this blend consists of sugar, the type of which can vary depending on the place of production. The other common ingredients that can be found in the product are as follows:
- Skimmed milk powder – This ingredient is made by removing water from pasteurized milk. Because of that, it has a far longer shelf-life and doesn’t need to be refrigerated.
- Soy lecithin – This one is an emulsifier, or in other words, it keeps the ingredients from separating. It’s a fatty substance that has no significant influence on shelf life.
- Vanillin – This is a flavor component produced from vanilla bean extract – same shelf life situation as with soy lecithin.
So, as we can see, Nutella doesn’t feature any ingredients that could potentially threaten its shelf-life. On the contrary, the presence of skimmed milk powder only makes the whole bland more resistant.
Is Nutella Healthy?
To answer this question, we will need to take a look at Nutella’s nutritional content. So, let’s break this treat element by element. Two tablespoons of Nutella (37 grams) contain:
As we can see, Nutella definitely has a couple of good things going for it. For instance, the recipe is very low in cholesterol, offers some necessary fats, and even packs some presence of protein. The level of carbohydrates is more than sufficient to cover your daily needs.
The main issue here is that these carbs are mostly sugar. If we are to imagine Nutella as a sum of its ingredients, it would look something like this:
This looks pretty bad, doesn’t it? So, what do we get out of this? Well, Nutella is definitely stacked with sugar, and limiting foods high in added sugar is one of the best things you can do for your health. The cream is also very rich in fats and packs a high-calorie count, so it’s not quite the best addition to a healthy diet.
On the other hand, all these products are. In defense of Nutella, this cream is made from high-quality and, in most cases, natural ingredients (this can depend on the place of origin). The treat also packs a decent level of calcium (4% of the RDI) and iron (4% of the RDI), which is a great silver lining.
The bottom line is, sweet creams are what they are, and we all like to have them early in the morning. If you want to treat yourself with this popular sugar bomb, at least stick to the brand that offers natural ingredients and a high level of quality control.
Also, as long as you use Nutella in moderation and stretch it out as long as possible, you are not in real danger of damaging your health. But, for how long one jar of Nutella can be used?
Nutella – The Shelf Life
So, let’s go back to what interests us the most here? Does Nutella go bad, and if so, how long does it stay safe once we open the jar.
Well, on the one hand, Nutella is made mostly from sugar, which acts as a preservative agent and lends the cream with a pretty long shelf life. On the other, the presence of oil and milk does take something out of this equation.
What we get when we put these two simple facts together can be seen in the table below:
|Nutella – opened||Best by + additional 6 months|
|Nutella – unopened||6 months|
A lot of food for thought here. Much like all other packaged food products, Nutella comes with a best-by or expiry date (well, at least in most of the countries out there). Essentially, this is a rough estimate on behalf of the manufacturer of how long the cream can last before degrading and losing its quality.
So, a best-by date doesn’t have to mean ‘goodbye.’ Past this point, the cream may lose some of the taste and texture, but if stored properly (more about that in a second), you can still get good six months out of it.
Once you open the jar, the train has left the station, and with proper storage, you will be able to use the cream next six months but not much longer.
Due to the specific blend of ingredients, refrigeration does very little to extend Nutella’s shelf life. So, it’s perfectly ok to keep it in the pantry.
How To Properly Store Nutella?
One of the best things about Nutella is that the manufacturer made the storage issue as streamlined as it gets. Like similar sweet products, Nutella offers a very poor environment for the growth of food spoiling bacteria. But, the invaders do find a way to spread once in the package. Therefore, your shelf-life extending measures will mostly boil down to two things.
The first one would be prevention. You need to minimize the cream’s exposure to air. So, keep the jar tightly sealed when not in use. Also, when you are scooping the cream out of the package, make sure that your spoon is crystal-clear. You don’t want any food particles in there.
Also, keep your fingers out of the jar. Sure, it may be a fun way of eating the cream, but it doesn’t do any favors neither to you nor to Nutella.
Your second task will be to make the bacteria’s life as hard as possible and put them into an inhospitable environment. The manufacturer’s recommendations have something to say about this, but then again, they might be MIA in some countries, so you need to rely on the good old common sense.
So, the food-spoiling microbes thrive in warm and humid environments. You should go the completely opposite route and put them in some dark, dry place as far as sunlight as it gets. The pantry or your kitchen cabinet will serve this purpose just fine.
Unfortunately, that’s pretty much. But, less preserving methods mean fewer things to worry about.
How To Tell If Nutella Is Bad?
Finally, let us see how you can determine has your favorite morning treat has gone past the point of no return. The six-month time frame past the best-by date is pretty long – it’s better to be safe than sorry.
First and foremost, we have established that Nutella has a very high content of oil. This is an excellent tell because when stored for too long, oil becomes rancid and picks up a very unpleasant smell. Therefore, open the jar and give the cream a couple of good sniffs. If you notice anything weird, feel free to throw the whole jar away.
The ideal temperature you should store the cream at should fall somewhere between 64°F (or 18°C) and 68°F (or 20°C). Not the biggest temperature range in the world, but it lands firmly in the space of normal room temperature so you can work with it.
The second big giveaway is the mold produced by the bacterial colony. This mold develops when the jar wasn’t closed properly or kept in a dry, cold place.
We hope that you have enjoyed this short breakdown of Nutella’s nutritional content and shelf-life. As we saw, this favorite morning treat has some pretty strong legs, even if you have already opened the jar and scooped the cream. This means you can use the cream sparingly and preserve it for six long months. This is probably for the best. As much as we enjoy this popular sweet delight, Nutella is laden with sugar, so it is highly advised to use the cream sparingly. Long shelf-life definitely helps in this regard.