How long can you eat hummus after the expiration date?
In this article, we will answer the question “How long can you eat hummus after the expiration date?”. Also we will discuss what is the meaning of the expiration date, the shelf life of hummus,how to properly store it and how to tell if it has gone bad.
How long can you eat hummus after the expiration date?
Hummus, as other perishable products, should still be safe to consume after its expiration date until the time spoilage is evident (10).. For hummus that is prepared at home, it is best to consume it within 5 – 7 days.(1)
Hummus does not come with an expiration date. Instead, it is printed with either a best-by date (in case of shelf-stable variety) or use-by date (in case of the refrigerated variety).
Both of these dates have nothing to do with the expiration date or the safety of the hummus. If stored correctly, hummus lasts quite long after the printed date.
Food spoilage will cause changes in the sensory characteristics of the food, such as texture, smell, taste or appearance. Spoiled foods may not have pathogens or toxins present and still be safe to eat, but the changes on those characteristics will make them unacceptable for consumption (2).
It is possible that the shelf-stable or the unrefrigerated variety of hummus stays good for 1 month past the printed date if it is unopened.
The refrigerated variety may stay good for 5-7 days past this date, if unopened. But the homemade variety won’t last long and must be consumed within 1-2 days past the expiry.
However, the exact period during which hummus can be safely consumed after its expiration date cannot be definitively determined.
This variability arises from multiple factors, including how it was handled, the specific storage conditions it experienced, and whether any preservatives were incorporated into the hummus.
Once opened, both the shelf-stable and the refrigerated variety are best consumed within 7 days. Consuming expired hummus won’t necessarily harm you but eating spoiled hummus will lead to food poisoning.
What factors affect the shelf life of hummus?
There are several factors that can affect the shelf life of hummus. The first is the quality of the ingredients used. Fresh, high-quality ingredients will result in a longer shelf life compared to older or lower quality ingredients.
Throughout the process of preparing hummus, there is a risk of bacterial cross contamination arising from ingredients, utensils, and the surrounding environment, making it vulnerable to such contamination.
In homemade hummus there is no heat treatment during preparation and no chemical preservative is added.
These conditions limit the shelf life of hummus and it has to be stored at refrigerated temperatures. (7)
The storage conditions also play a crucial role in determining the shelf life of hummus. Proper storage in an airtight container in the refrigerator can extend the shelf life of hummus by several days.
Additionally, the use of preservatives can also affect the shelf life of hummus. Commercially produced hummus usually contains preservatives to extend its shelf life, while homemade hummus may not.
Therefore, it is important to be mindful of the ingredients used and the storage conditions when making and consuming hummus.
What is the shelf-life of hummus?
Store-bought hummus that has been kept in the refrigerator from the date of purchase will last for about 7 days after opening and 3 months unopened. Homemade hummus will last for 5 – 7 days after preparing it. (1)
The very first thing that should be considered is that this dip has a short shelf life once it’s opened so it spoils very fast, so after opening it make sure to not place it at room temperature for longer periods of time.
The following table shows an estimated shelf-life of homemade and commercially packaged hummus under different storage conditions.
|Unopened||Pantry||In the fridge||In the freezer|
|Shelf Safe||Date + 1 – 3 months|
|Refrigerated||Unsafe||3-10 days||6-8 months|
|Homemade hummus||Unsafe||5-7 days||6-8 months|
|Opened||In the fridge||In the freezer|
|Shelf safe||Unsafe||3-7 days||6-8 months|
|Refrigerated||Unsafe||4-6 days||6-8 months|
How to properly store hummus?
To properly store hummus, first you have to know the type of hummus that you have; refrigerated, unrefrigerated or homemade.
Unrefrigerated hummus is heat treated with UHT (Ultra High Temperature) treatment that reduces the microbiological load to commercial sterility and enables storage at ambient temperature. (9)
An unopened container of unrefrigerated hummus can be stored in the pantry or the kitchen cabinet.
The rule of thumb is to keep it somewhere dry, cool, and dark, away from sources of heat like direct sunlight and the stovetop.
Once opened, it must be kept in the fridge. If the original container is not air-tight, transfer its contents to a good quality air-tight container.
The refrigerated hummus is usually heat treated by pasteurization, which reduces the microbiological load but some bacteria survive and the product needs to be stored under refrigerated conditions to control the growth rate. (9)
The hummus that is sold refrigerated should always sit in the fridge, whether opened or not.
Refrain from dipping food, dirty spoons, or your fingers into the hummus, this will accelerate spoilage. Always use clean spoons to scoop out hummus and make sure to tightly seal the container in between uses.
Just like the hummus that is sold refrigerated, homemade hummus also requires continuous refrigeration. Homemade hummus has a shorter shelf-life than commercially packaged hummus due to the lack of preservatives.
Can you freeze hummus?
Yes, you can freeze hummus. How well the hummus freezes depends and varies from brand to brand.
You can either freeze the hummus in small shallow containers or ice cube trays. To thaw your hummus safely you may leave it in the refrigeration overnight, put it in cold water or in the microwave. (8)
Thawing will result in some separation on top. Stir the defrosted hummus until homogenous. Once your hummus has been thawed, you should finish it within 5-7 days.
How to tell if the hummus has gone bad?
Some signs of spoiled hummus are:
- Appearance: The presence of discolored patches or spots is a sign of mold or bacterial growth, due to its high water content. (3).
- Smell: If it smells sour, strange, or with a strong ammonia-like smell, you should discard it immediately.
- When there is a high population of microorganisms, they begin to produce peptides instead of sugars, which leads to the accumulation of free amino acids, ammonia, and amines (11).
- Taste: A sour or rancid taste will indicate that the hummus has gone bad.
Legumes, such as chickpeas, contain an enzyme called lipoxygenase. This enzyme can produce off-flavors when the hummus is exposed to oxygen, and give it a rancid taste due to the breakdown of the fatty acids (13).
- Texture: If you notice slime formation on top of the hummus, it is a clear sign of spoilage.
The microbial load of hummus that produces its spoilage is formed mainly by lactic acid bacteria (12). Lactic acid bacteria ferment sugars of the food producing lactic acid, slime and CO2. (13)
How long can hummus sit out?
According to the standards of The Food and Drug Administration (FDA), hummus can sit out at room temperature for two hours.
The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) recommends that perishable food items, such as homemade or refrigerated store-bought hummus, should not be kept at room temperature longer than two hours or one hour at temperatures over 90°F. The same applies for an opened package of unrefrigerated hummus.
Leaving the perishables at room temperature puts them at greater risk of developing bacteria. These bacteria shorten the shelf-life of the food while also threatening its safety.
What is the meaning of the expiration date?
An expiration date label provides consumers with information about the freshness of the product.
There is no federal policy related to expiration dates of perishable grocery products (except for infant formula) in the United States. On the other hand, the key European Union (EU) legislation for food date labeling defines two types of durability indicators.
“Best before”, i.e., is defined as the period within which the food will not be stale, which signifies freshness or quality of the food.
“Use by”, i.e., is defined as the period within which the food will not have harmful microbiological activity that could lead to food poisoning, which signifies safety.
Additionally, a product cannot be sold once it exceeds its designated use-by date. Conversely, a food item that has surpassed its best-before date is still deemed safe to consume, although its optimal quality may not be guaranteed (4).
Other FAQs about Hummus that you may be interested in.
In this article, we answered the question “How long can you eat hummus after the expiration date?”, what is the meaning of the expiration date, the shelf life of hummus, and how to properly store it and how to tell if it has gone bad.
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