Wondering if ghee can go bad or what the shelf life is? Then, you are not alone! If you've been using your tub of ghee for a while and it still doesn't seem to be finished, you might be asking if it should be kept or discarded already.
Before I answer your question, you need to understand the composition of this clarified butter.
Ghee is a type of clarified butter that has undergone a process of boiling and straining until all that is left is pure butterfat. The impurities are removed leaving behind organic compounds of fatty acids consisting of Glycerol and fatty acids. It is highly saturated just like coconut oil and they both share similar long shelf lives. Because of its high smoke point (485F/250C), it can be used for cooking, searing, and deep-frying just like vegetable oil and co.
Ghee is an Indian cooking staple, so your last curry most likely had ghee in it. Back to your question...
Can ghee go bad? how can you tell?
Yes, ghee can go bad, though it does not deteriorate as quickly as you might believe and has an excellent shelf life. Most store-bought ghees carry a 'best before date' of about 2 years.
If it is kept properly, unopened, and has no dent in the tin or its bulging, it is probably still good. However, that may not always be the case, therefore the best method to determine if it has gone bad is to examine the color, smell, and texture of its contents.
Ghee that smells sour or rancid is most likely not safe for human consumption. If it has a sour smell it may also have bacteria, this goes for any type of food item so it's best to err on the side of caution.
If yours has passed its best before date and is not in the freezer then it's good practice to throw it away. For good practice, always try to use it before the end of the best before date.
Tale tell signs that it is off
you should look out for the following signs of spoilage
Color change: if the color of your ghee has changed from a rich golden yellow to any other hue (rusty brown or grey), it might indicate rancidity and bacterial spoilage.
Odor change: spoiled ghee will also smell sour, stale, and rancid, a good one should smell nutty.
Possible mold: look out for a greenish or bluish film on the surface of your ghee. This may indicate mold/bacteria growth. If you see any of these spoilage indication signs on it, do not consume and discard it immediately.
How to store it properly
You should store your ghee at room temperature in a dark place and away from direct sunlight, all you need is a cabinet or cupboard. If the container is made from glass then no worries as there are no negative effects of exposure to light.
However, if it's plastic then be aware that prolonged exposure to high heat can leach chemicals from the plastic into your ghee.
For best practice, store it in the fridge or freezer, it will last for a year or even longer. Also, don't be alarmed if your ghee stored at room temperature melts in its container, it will change form when subjected to hot or warm conditions and solidify when the conditions are right. It has similar characteristics to coconut oil
Can I freeze ghee?
Yes, you can freeze ghee and it is very easy to do too. All you have to do is portion it into an airtight container, large ice cube tray, or a freezer-safe bag so that it is convenient for use. Also, if it is portioned before freezing, you will be able to minimize food waste and only use what you need at a time.
What does ghee taste like
Ghee has a rich and nutty flavor, it is very popular in South Asian (Indian) cooking. It's used in curries, rice dishes, desserts, etc. You can also use it for baking, just replace the oil in your chosen recipe with melted ghee instead.
Clarified butter vs ghee
The most important thing to know is that clarified butter and ghee are very identical as they are both made from butter.
Clarified butter is also known as drawn butter or even liquid gold because it is pure fat and doesn't contain any milk solids.
Ghee on the other hand is a clarified butter cooked longer on high heat longer to remove all the water and milk solids. When you heat butter, the water and milk solids separate and begin to sizzle (this is where that nutty aroma comes from) which creates a fresh white foam at the top, once this foamy layer has settled, the melted fat appears clear. This clear liquid is ghee and can be stored at room temperature for a long period of time.
Where to find ghee in grocery store
You can get organic, pure ghee from many health shops and other grocery stores. Check the world foods section or the aisle where oil, goose fat, or duck fat is stocked. If your local grocer does not stock one, then check out amazon.
Can I freeze ghee
Yes, you can freeze ghee and it is very easy to do too. All you have to do is portion it into an airtight container or a freezer-safe bag so that it is convenient for use. Also, if it is portioned before freezing, you will be able to minimize food waste and only use what you need at a time. Freeze ghee in the freezer for up to 1 year or longer
How long does ghee last
Ghee will keep on your kitchen counter for several years, but it's best kept in the fridge if you don't plan on using it within a couple of months. It can be frozen too and lasts indefinitely
Fancy making your own ghee at home then you will love this recipe from recipe tin eats. Make some Indian curry tonight using this pure butterfat as the star of the dish.
Is ghee vegan
Ghee is not vegan as it is made from butter made from cow or buffalo's milk. Veganism means that the person follows a non-dairy diet that does not include any kind of dairy, including ghee. Butter is animal fat and ghee comes directly from butter, so it would be considered an animal product.
Ghee is a wonderful cooking staple with a long shelf life of 1-2 years and a delicious nutty taste. It will keep for as long as it is kept correctly, and it has not been cross-contaminated in any way. If you didn't use it before the best-before date, examine for spoilage and, if you're still unsure, trash it and buy a new one.