Having a can of vegetable broth in the pantry makes it so much easier to make a quick soup for a cozy dinner.
But how long does vegetable broth last? The shelf life of store-bought vegetable broth is very long if it is still unopened – up to 3 years. Opened vegetable broth, as well as homemade broth, lasts 5 to 7 days in the fridge.
Read on to learn more about the right way of storing vegetable broth and if freezing is a way to extend its shelf life.
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Commercially produced vegetable broth doesn’t go bad quickly so long as it is unopened. An opened bottle or can of vegetable broth, as well as homemade broth, on the other hand, don’t last that long.
Storage conditions are key when it comes to the shelf life of vegetable broth. If you leave the broth near heat sources or in a hot room, it will go bad within hours.
In general, the storage conditions of vegetable broth are the same as for other broth varieties, such as chicken broth or beef broth.
Vegetable broth is typically sold in carton packaging. However, it can also be canned or sold in plastic bottles or glass jars.
Unopened vegetable broth, despite the type of packaging, can be stored in the pantry. It is important to keep the broth in a room with a stable temperature. The room should preferably be dark and dry. If you can provide these storage conditions in a kitchen cabinet too, then it can also work as a storage area for unopened cans or bottles of vegetable broth.
Once opened, the fridge is the only place where you should keep the vegetable broth. It is important to always keep the bottle or the carton packaging tightly sealed. If you have a half-full can of vegetable broth, transfer it into a bottle or jar and only then store it in the fridge. Both plastic and glass containers will work so long as they can be tightly sealed.
Letting the broth open will not only expose it to oxygen which will lead to quicker deterioration but it will also make your fridge smell bad.
Homemade vegetable broth should be stored in the fridge too. Keep it in a glass jar or a plastic container with a tight-fitting lid.
If you have just cooked the broth, let it cool down before you store it in the fridge. Putting the hot broth in the cold fridge is not a good idea. Doing this will not only expose the broth itself to drastic temperature changes but it will also raise the temperature inside the fridge, affecting the products that are already there.
Commercially produced vegetable broth has a longer shelf so long as it is unopened. However, the shelf life of unopened broth depends not only on the storage conditions but also on the type of packaging.
Canned vegetable broth lasts the longest. As we all know, canned food always has a longer shelf life compared to products in a carton or plastic packaging. Canned vegetable broth stored in a cool pantry will maintain its best qualities for 3 years and longer.
In any case, you should always consider the “Best by’ date on the packaging. This is an estimation of how long the broth will last if stored properly. In general, you can keep the broth for 3 more months past the printed date.
You can keep opened vegetable broth in the fridge for up to 5 days.
Homemade vegetable broth also has a shelf life of 5 days. Depending on the recipe, it may keep well for up to a week.
Freezing vegetable broth is a great way of extending its shelf life. This storage technique is especially helpful for those who like homemade vegetable broth. The broth can be made in a bigger batch to keep some of it for current use and freeze the rest for later.
To freeze vegetable broth, divide the liquid into your desired portions. For smaller portions, ice cube trays work well. The small cubes are also very quick to defrost.
If you need to freeze the broth in bigger portions, go with any freezer-friendly container that has a tight-sealing lid. Heavy-duty freezer bags will also work. In fact, these are very space-saving. You freeze the broth laying the bag flat in the freezer. Once frozen, stack the bags together to have more room in the cold storage.
When using ice cube trays, you can take out the frozen cubes of broth and put them in a plastic bag for convenient storage.
You can freeze store-bought vegetable broth too. But keep in mind that you should never freeze it in its original unopened packaging. The liquid expands when it freezes. Thus, freezing the broth in a container where it has no room to expand may simply result in a mess in your kitchen. Additionally, unopened vegetable broth has quite a long shelf life. Freezing is a great storage method for the leftover broth.
Frozen vegetable broth will keep well in the freezer for up to 6 months. But if you want the best flavor out of your aromatic liquid, use it within the first two months.
To defrost vegetable broth, transfer it from the freezer into the fridge. You can also thaw frozen broth in a pan, on very low heat.
Don’t refreeze defrosted vegetable broth.
Whether it’s store-bought vegetable broth or some you have made yourself, the spoilage signs are the same.
First off, smell the broth once you open the package or bring out the leftovers from the fridge to make some soup. The smell of bad vegetable broth is not too intense even if it has gone bad. However, spoiled vegetable broth does have an off-putting smell which you will notice easily especially if you know how good broth is supposed to smell.
Secondly, changes in the flavor of the broth indicate that it is time to discard it. It is always better to taste a small amount of the broth to see if it is still good rather than make an entire pot of soup to only find out that the broth has already gone bad. Tasting a teaspoon of bad vegetable broth won’t make you sick or cause any health issues.
Lastly, you have to make sure that there is no mold or any other organic growth in the container with vegetable broth. Moldy vegetable broth is not very common. However, it does happen, especially in the cases when the liquid has been sitting in the fridge for too long.
In any case, don’t keep the broth longer than recommended. Even if you think that the broth smells and tastes okay but it has been in the fridge for over a week, discard it.
You should also discard unopened vegetable broth if the package or can is damaged, leaking, or you notice some major dents on it or bulging.