Vegetable broth is a comforting soup that everyone loves. It is healthy, tasty, and easy to make at home.
Most people use vegetable broth to make soup, but it has several other uses. You can use it in gravies, dumplings, stuffing, and risottos. You can also enjoy it on its own, but it tastes even better when you use it to enhance other dishes.
If you have cooked vegetable broth at home, you may wonder what its shelf life is. If you store it in the refrigerator, it will last for approximately seven days. In the freezer, it will retain its quality for up to one month.
This article discusses all the essential details about vegetable broth, including the shelf life, signs of spoilage, proper storage, and how to freeze it. Read on.
The Shelf Life Of Homemade Vegetable Broth
Homemade vegetable broth has a relatively short shelf life because the ingredients you use are fresh. Additionally, you don’t add any preservatives.
Refrigerated homemade vegetable broth can retain its quality for approximately seven days. However, it would be best to use it within four days. If you want to extend its shelf life, freeze it.
I highly recommend adding bouillon cubes to your broth while cooking. The cubes make the broth last longer than it usually does.
What about store-bought vegetable broth?
Store-bought vegetable broth lasts longer than homemade vegetable broth because it contains preservatives.
Although manufacturers make the broth with fresh ingredients, the preservatives extend its shelf life. When unopened, a can of vegetable broth will last for up to 3 months as long as you store it in a cool, dry place. You can further extend its shelf life by storing it in the fridge or freezer.
Once you open the can, the shelf life of the broth reduces significantly. It will retain its quality for approximately five days.
Manufacturers advise users against storing an opened can of vegetable broth at room temperature because it is prone to bacterial infection. Transfer the broth to an airtight container for safety purposes and refrigerate or freeze it.
Can you use vegetable broth that is past its best by date?
Store-bought vegetable broth usually comes with a best-by date.
This date does not indicate when the broth will expire. It estimates how long the vegetable will remain at peak quality. Therefore, the broth may be safe to use weeks past the expiry date.
Generally, vegetable broth retains its quality for up to three months past the expiry date. However, this time may vary depending on the quality of ingredients manufacturers used and its packaging.
If manufacturers used quality ingredients, the broth might last long past the best-by date.
Does Vegetable Broth Go Bad?
Both homemade vegetable broth and store-bought vegetable broth go bad after some time. Although canned and boxed broth doesn’t spoil quickly, it doesn’t retain its quality indefinitely.
It would be best to check for any signs of spoilage if you have stored your broth for an extended time or you’re just not sure if it is safe for consumption.
If it doesn’t have any signs of spoilage, but it tastes bland, you may have to discard it for quality reasons.
Signs of spoilage
Here are signs of spoilage that you should look out for in both homemade and store-bought vegetable broth.
- Bulging container- if the container containing your vegetable broth is puffed up, bulging, or leaky, the chances are that the vegetable broth has gone bad. Discard it as it may not be safe to consume.
- Change in appearance- the appearance of your broth should pretty much remain the same. If it changes, you should throw it out.
- Sour smell- when vegetable broth goes bad, it usually has an unpleasant, sour odor. You are likely to notice it before any of the other signs of spoilage. Discard vegetable broth with an unpleasant smell because it is unsafe to consume.
- Off taste- if your broth doesn’t have any spoilage signs discussed above, give it a taste. Consuming a teaspoon of vegetable broth will not make you sick, even if its quality has deteriorated. If the flavor is off, discard it.
If you have checked for these signs of spoilage but are still unsure about it being safe to consume, treat the vegetable broth as spoiled.
Consuming spoiled vegetable broth may negatively affect your health and that of your family members.
How to Properly Store Vegetable Broth
It would be best if you refrigerated homemade vegetable broth at all times. This way, you’ll avoid any bacterial contamination.
You can store unopened store-bought vegetable broth in a cool and dry place, far away from any sources of heat. The pantry or kitchen pantry would be ideal storage places.
Once you open the box or can, store it in the fridge; if the can or box is not resealable, transfer the broth to a plastic container or Mason jar before storing it in the refrigerator.
How to Freeze Vegetable Broth
You can freeze homemade vegetable broth if you want it to last longer. The freezing method is the same whether you’re freezing homemade or store-bought broth.
Follow the steps below to freeze vegetable broth.
- Let the vegetable broth cool down.
- Portion the vegetable broth. I highly recommend portioning it in amounts you usually use for a single meal. This way, you can quickly defrost the broth when you need it, and you won’t have to refreeze it. Be sure to leave at least an inch of space in each container so that the broth has room for expansion.
- Add labels. Label every container with the current date, i.e., the date you are freezing the vegetable broth. By doing so, you can easily keep track of how long the broth has been in the freezer.
- Seal the containers tightly and place them in your freezer. The frozen vegetable broth will retain its quality for up to one month, so be sure to use it within that period.
How to Defrost Vegetable Broth
There are two methods of defrosting vegetable broth; on the stove and in the fridge.
On the stove
You can thaw vegetable broth on your stovetop if you are in a hurry. The process only takes 10 minutes, but you need to supervise it closely. If you don’t, the broth may burn.
To defrost vegetable broth on the stove, start with low heat. The block should start
melting in a few minutes. Once the liquid covers the bottom of your pot, increase the heat to medium and keep occasionally stirring until the broth thaws completely.
In the fridge
You can thaw vegetable broth by transferring it to your fridge. The thawing process takes approximately 6 hours, but I prefer leaving it in the refrigerator overnight.
I love this method because warming the broth after defrosting doesn’t require much supervision, and it takes very little time. Additionally, you can quickly refreeze the broth if you have any leftovers.
How to Use Defrosted Vegetable Broth
It would be best to use vegetable broth the same day you defrost it. If you can’t, use it within two days.
The broth may not be safe to use after two days. If you cannot use all of the broth you have defrosted, you can refreeze it.
If you had defrosted the broth on the stove, you’d have to cook it through once more before you refreeze it, but if you had thawed it in the fridge, just place it back in your freezer.
Homemade vegetable broth is a fantastic addition to various dishes. Unfortunately, it has a relatively short shelf life.
It only lasts for up to seven days when stored in the refrigerator, so be sure to use it within that period.