So, you notice a year old gelatin pack in your pantry. So, now you have to wonder: can I still use it?
How long does gelatin last? And should you be concerned about using a gelatin pack that’s gone bad?
We will help you find answers to all that dilemmas here today. But, first, let us take a brief look at what gelatin is and how they work.
Gelatin is a semi-transparent, colorless, and flavorless protein (collagen) obtained from animal connective tissues. It has a wide range of applications.
But, it is most commonly used as a gelling agent in medicines, vitamin capsules, cosmetics, and (of course) food.
Gelatin has numerous potential health benefits. Experts say they produce some compelling results in treating joint pains like arthritis. Others also say they slow down the breakdown of healthy skin.
They are a crucial ingredient in various dessert items like gummy candy, yogurts, marshmallows, etc. They also come in several ready-to-eat snack packs.
How Long Does Gelatin Last? Does Gelatin Go Bad?
The question to whether gelatin goes bad or not is baffling. Some users claim they do, while others say they do not.
So, what is the truth here?
The short answer is that gelatin will go bad. After all, they are still packaged products, which mean they will lose their potency (aka, go bad) after some time.
It is not rocket science, really! You will usually find a best-before date label on any gelatin products.
That should give a good idea about how long the gelatin may remain fresh. However, that does not necessarily indicate its expiry date.
The date is just there for legal reasons. As such, there is no hard and fast rule that you stop using the gelatin after the given date.
The standard (recommended) duration is usually 2-3 years after its manufacturing date.
However, you could still use them beyond that duration. In fact, many users report using as old as 20-25-year-old gelatin and still getting the right (jelly) consistency.
However, they are quick to add that proper storage is the key to making that happen.
But, we would not advise you to use decade-old gelatins for your gummy candies or jello.
Instead, it is always best if you can use your dry jello packs within 3 months. That will help you to extract maximum freshness out of it.
Also, you may want to finish up your homemade gelatin dressing salads or desserts within a week. The same applies to ready-to-eat gelatin products as well.
However, the good thing is bad gelatins do not have any adverse effect on your health.
You can still use them nonetheless. They may just not give you the same smooth (jelly) consistency that you generally want.
How to Tell if Gelatin is Bad?
Although it is difficult to determine the precise shelf life of gelatin, you can make a good estimation by examining certain factors.
Just because it is not harmful to use rancid gelatin does not mean you have to.
After all, the expiry dates are there for certain reasons. If you want to steer clear of any unprecedented complications, look for these signs:
A noticeable change in color
The first thing you will notice about gelatin that’s gone wrong is its color. If you see a significant change in its color, it is a strong indication of oxidation, which is not good. In this case, we suggest you toss it in the bin.
Starts developing an off odor
As mentioned earlier, gelatin is practically odorless. So, if you notice that it has started to develop a strong odor, it is not a good sign.
The change in its odor may be due to moisture exposure. Excess exposure can lead to the growth of spoilage microbes like bacteria and mold. That, in turn, gives gelatin a distinct foul smell.
A significant change in its original texture
Standard gelatin usually has a smooth and springy consistency. However, that may change once it goes past its freshness stage.
You will notice that it has started to develop a more watery consistency. The liquid part may also begin to come off separately from other ingredients.
If you see any such changes, it is a green signal for you to toss them away and get a new pack of gelatin.
There are several chains of thoughts on whether gelatin goes bad or not. Some say it is best to use them within a week, while others claim they can last up to several decades.
However, it is important to note that you can use gelatin even after its best-by date, as long as you store it properly. Nonetheless, it is always a good idea if you can scout out rancid gelatins and avoid using them.
If you want to preserve the freshness of gelatin, the crucial element is proper storage. The ideal way is to store them in a cool and dry place away from sunlight and moisture.
Also, make sure you always seal the packages tightly after opening them. It will help boost their shelf life by a good degree.