How to Tell if Vegetable Shortening is Bad
Vegetable shortening is a common ingredient for everything from pie crusts to creamy frosting. It’s created by combining vegetable oils with other substances, usually in combination with hydrogen. In general, vegetable shortening is shelf-stable and can be kept at room temperature for lengthy periods of time. But eventually, it will go bad. Here’s how to tell if it’s time to toss:
1. Check the color and smell
The color of vegetable shortening should be a neutral hue. If it has become discolored, throw it out. Vegetable shortening should also be odorless. If it has taken on any distinct odor, it’s best to throw it away.
2. Smell and feel the shortening
If there’s no signs of discoloration and it has no discernible odor, feel and smell the shortening to see if it’s still good. Vegetable shortening should be malleable and soft to the touch. If it feels lumpy or appears grainy, it has gone bad.
3. Taste test the shortening
If the vegetable shortening appears to be in good condition, test it on a small area of skin. If it smells of fish or is too bitter, it has gone bad and should not be used for cooking.
4. Refrigerate the shortening
If there is any doubt about the freshness of the shortening, it’s best to err on the side of caution and refrigerate it right away. Vegetable shortening can be refrigerated to extend its shelf-life.
Tips for Storing Vegetable Shortening
- Keep it airtight: Vegetable shortening is susceptible to becoming rancid if it is exposed to air. Aluminum foil, resealable bags, or plastic wrap are all good options.
- Store it in a cool dark place: Light and heat can also potentially alter the taste of vegetable shortening.
- Buy small containers: If you won’t be using vegetable shortening regularly, buy the smallest size container possible.
Being aware of the signs of spoilage will help keep you safe and ensure you get the most out of your vegetable shortening. With proper storage and refrigeration, you can ensure your vegetable shortening will last for months.