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How Long Does Pesto Last? Can It Go Bad?

How Long Does Pesto Last? Can It Go Bad?

Given that pesto has a million different uses in the kitchen, it is pretty impossible for us to imagine a situation where it could be allowed to go off. However, we can get around this by imagining that you have bought a huge amount of pesto in one go and are now questioning how long it will last. So, in this article, we will cover how long both homemade and shop-bought pesto will last for. We will also go through the signs that your pesto may well have already gone off. If this is the kind of information you are looking for, read on!


Does Pesto Go Bad?

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Pesto is made using fresh pine nuts, parmesan, basil, and olive oil. Given that a few of these ingredients have a relatively long shelf life, you could easily be led to believe that pesto will last quite some time. Unfortunately, this simply isn’t the case and it is best used as quickly as possible as soon as it has been opened. In the case of homemade pesto, the best idea is to only make as much as you imagine you will get through in a few days. It just simply doesn’t last long enough to be bulk bought. However, there are a few things you can do to prolong the life of your pesto. In our next section, we will go through the best ways to store pesto long-term.


How Do I Store Pesto?


Unopened jars

You will no doubt have noticed that supermarket pesto can be bought in two different forms. One you will find in the refrigerated section of the store, whereas the other you will find in tightly sealed jars on the shelves. Each of these will require different storage methods when they are brought into the home. With pesto taken from the refrigerated section in the store, it will also need to be kept in the refrigerator at all times. Annoyingly, in many cases, the container that this sort of pesto comes in won’t be re-sealable. If this is the case, your best bet is to transfer the contents of the tub into a Tupperware container and keep it in the fridge. This is because too much contact with air and moisture can cause your pesto to expire much quicker than it should.

The best thing about the jars of pesto that you can find on the shelves is that they are a lot less demanding to store. In their unopened state, they can simply be stored in the pantry or a kitchen cabinet, away from any sources of sunlight or heat. In its unopened state, this type of pesto can last much longer than the type found in the refrigerated section.

Opened jars

However, all of this changes as soon as the jar is opened. Once the contents have come into contact with the air in your home, the only thing you can do is to seal it up again and put it into the fridge. Naturally, if for some reason you can’t reseal the container, the best thing to do is to transfer the contents into a re-sealable container that you can store in the fridge. When it comes to homemade pesto, this can be stored in the fridge. Just always make sure that the solid contents in the jar are always submerged in olive oil. This will help it to preserve for longer.


Should You Refrigerate Pesto?

As soon as a jar of pesto is opened, it should be stored in the fridge, sealed, from that moment onwards. In fact, the only eventuality where pesto can be stored in the pantry or in a cabinet is if it is unopened and was bought from the supermarket shelves. The pesto that is found in the refrigerated section of the store will not keep well at room temperature, neither will any homemade variety.


Can You Freeze Pesto?

defrosting pesto | stockphotofan/Shutterstock.com


Though it is true that the texture of pesto can change a little after it has been frozen and thawed, it is by no means a bad idea to do so. It really depends on what you intend to use the pesto for. For example, if it is for use as a condiment, the texture change may be more noticeable. On the other hand, if you intend to use the pesto as an ingredient in a traditional Italian pasta dish, you shouldn’t be able to perceive any difference in texture or flavor whatsoever. In our opinion, the best way to freeze pesto is in individual portions. To do so, all you need to do is to freeze the pesto using an ice-cube tray and then transfer the cubes into an airtight container. By doing this, you won’t need to thaw any more than you need at any one time. It is important to note that the pesto won’t last forever if frozen. It will begin to diminish in quality over time. Because of this, we would recommend using it within a 2-month timeframe.


How Long Does Pesto Last?

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Unopened jars

Pesto of the variety that you can pick up from the shelves in the supermarket will have a sell-by date invariably printed on it. However, if the pesto is stored correctly when you get it home and avoids any contact with any contaminants, there is good reason to believe that it will survive a reasonable time past the printed date. We would estimate that an unopened jar will still be good for up to a month after the sell-by has elapsed.

With pesto bought from the refrigerated section of the store, one cannot expect that it will survive intact for anywhere near as long. Even in its closed state, the chances are that it will only last for a few days after its listed date.

Opened jars

Pesto bought from either the fridge or the shelves will have the same lifespan after opening, just 5 to 7 days. Naturally, if the container isn’t stored in the fridge between uses, this timeframe will shorten dramatically. With homemade pesto, due to the lack of extra preservatives in the mix, we would recommend using it within 3 or 4 days.


How Do I Make Pesto Last Longer?

If you don’t often use pesto, the best option for you is to buy the variety that can be found on the shelves in stores. These last much longer than the refrigerated version. With pesto that has been opened, the only way to make it last any time at all is to freeze it. By doing so, the pesto should stay good for up to 2 months.


Signs That Your Pesto May Have Gone Off

An opened container of pesto will spoil quite quickly, so it is best to know the signs of when it is gone off. In general, if the jar has been opened and in the fridge for over a week, it is safe to assume that it can be thrown out. If you are in any doubt, the first sign of spoilage that you should be looking for is a change of color. If the vibrant green color has been replaced by an unappetizing brown color, it is time to throw it out. This will generally be accompanied by a bad smell of rot and occasionally some traces of mold. In any case, there is no saving a pesto that has gone off this badly and it should be chucked out immediately.

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