Can you get sick from eating expired jam?

In this brief guide, we are going to answer the question “can you get sick from eating expired jam” with an in-depth analysis of whether or not you can get sick from eating expired jam. Moreover, we are going to discuss tips to properly store jam.

So without much ado, let’s dive in and figure out more about it.

Can you get sick from eating expired jam?

When it comes to jam, you do not necessarily get sick from eating expired jam as long as it was stored appropriately. 

jam has a very high sugar content and sometimes also has preservatives added to it therefore it does not provide suitable media for microbes to grow. 

Sugar is hygroscopic in nature which means that it has the ability to soak in water (it attracts the water molecules). Osmosis is the process in which water moves from a region of low solute concentration to a region of high solute concentration. The solute in this case is sugar. 

So the water content of sugar itself is almost nil, so what happens is that when bacteria land on the surface of the sugar the process of osmosis sets in. Thus, the water starts to move from the body of the bacteria to the sugar, thereby dehydrating the bacteria and killing them and that is the very reason lying behind why you do not potentially get sick after eating expired jam.

So no doubt jam can still be eaten once they go past the date printed on it but you can feel a change in its texture and flavor after a certain time so as long as you are okay with it, you can eat the expired jam, it won’t make you sick.

It is worth mentioning that instead of the “expiration date”, you will find a “best by” or “best before” date written on the packet of jam. 

The “best by” or “best before” date that is written on the pack of jam refers to the quality rather than safety so the jam doesn’t necessarily go bad immediately after the best before date. 

This date refers to the time during which you can enjoy the peak quality and flavor of the jam but you can still eat jam that is past this date as long as it was stored properly.

The shelf life of jam can vary from manufacturer to manufacturer. But generally unopened jam lasts for about 6 to 12 months past the printed “best by” date when stored in a cool, dry, and dark corner of your pantry away from direct sunlight and heat.

On the other hand, once opened jam lasts for about 6 months to a year after it is opened and is kept in the fridge at or below 40 degrees Fahrenheit.

It is worth mentioning that the figures mentioned above are the estimated shelf life of jam and jam can even last longer than this provided that they are stored properly.

Certain indicators point out bad jam. You should consider the appearance, consistency, smell, and taste of the jam to reach a final verdict whether or not it has gone bad.

Appearance 

If you see some mold or some yeast growth on your jam then the best thing you can do is to get rid of it because it is an indication that your jam has gone bad.

Molds can produce mycotoxins in the jam and if they are ingested they can not only cause gastrointestinal issues but can also cause kidney or liver damage.

Consistency

If the consistency of the jam has thickened and its color becomes darker then it is the indication that your jam is past its prime age.

Smell

If you smell some off-smell like something sour, foul, or yeast-like smell then it is the indication that your jam has gone bad and you should discard it.

Taste

With time the taste of the jam becomes tarter, which is the indication that it is past its prime age.

It is worth mentioning that when in doubt, it is better to get rid of the jam because it is better to be safe than sorry.

So what you gotta do is to do the sensory evaluation of your jam and if your sensory evaluation gives you a green flag, you are good to eat the jam without the risk of getting sick.

Tips to properly store jam

  1. You can store an unopened jar of jam in a cool, dry, and dark place away from direct sunlight. You can store it in the cool dry part of your pantry or it is even good if you can store it in the refrigerator.
  1. You should always store the opened jar of jam in the fridge.
  1. You should never open the jam jar beforehand and should always close the lid immediately after scooping out some jam. 
  1. You should never use a wet or dirty spoon to scoop out the jam from its container.
  1. You should always use dry and clean cutlery to scoop out jam.

You can read how to make strawberry jam here.

Conclusion

In this brief guide, we answered the question “can you get sick from eating expired jam” with an in-depth analysis of whether or not you can get sick from eating expired jam. Moreover, we discussed tips to properly store jam.

Citations

http://www.eatbydate.com/other/condiments/how-long-does-jam-last-shelf-life-expiration-date/

https://phys.org/news/2015-08-sugar-added-food.html

https://www.forkly.com/food/10-foods-you-can-still-eat-safely-past-the-due-date/

https://www.doesitgobad.com/does-jam-go-bad/

https://www.insider.com/can-you-eat-moldy-jam-jelly-is-it-safe-2020-7

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Hi, I am Charlotte, I love cooking and in my previous life, I was a chef. I bring some of my experience to the recipes on this hub and answer your food questions.

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