Can we eat it -- hummus edition
April 16, 2016 11:54 AM   Subscribe

What's the shelf-life of hummus?

Got a big tub o' hummus that got shoved to the back of the fridge and forgotten for a couple months. "Best by" date is Feb 10 2016 but those kinds of dates often have more to do with marketing than actual evidence. (It's literally "best by," not "use by.") It's been open but refrigerated the whole time. Looks and smells ok. Picture here.
posted by phoenix_rising to Food & Drink (18 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
If it was never opened I'd at least try it.
posted by AlexiaSky at 11:55 AM on April 16, 2016 [1 favorite]


So you bought it before that date, and it's probably 2.5 or 3 months old? Hummus is cheap. Toss it and start over.
posted by BlahLaLa at 12:04 PM on April 16, 2016 [5 favorites]


If it had not been opened, I would probably eat it. Having been sitting open for two to three months, ick, saving $3 of hummus is not worth an upset stomach or worse.

Fridge temperature reduces the growth rate of bacteria but doesn't stop it the way freezing does. There are things with pH differences that are safe to keep in fridges long term, I do not believe hummus is among them.
posted by Candleman at 12:05 PM on April 16, 2016


those kinds of dates often have more to do with marketing than actual evidence

On the other hand, those dates are also about sealed products - after you break the seal and loose the value of pasteurization, you're working with a new timeline. The half and half I bought this afternoon has a use by date that's about two months out, but once I open it, it will go bad in about a week.
posted by Candleman at 12:08 PM on April 16, 2016 [5 favorites]


Even if unopened, it's way too old. Hummus isn't acidic enough to really impede much. Either way, it's garbage.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 12:08 PM on April 16, 2016 [7 favorites]


Yeah, it's been opened. Darn -- I suspected it was no good, but doesn't hurt to ask around, plus everyone likes a good "can I eat it?" question now and then. ;)

Thanks guys.
posted by phoenix_rising at 12:15 PM on April 16, 2016 [2 favorites]


I find that hummus gets kind of "fizzy" when it's off.... One bite and you will know if you should be eating it or not!
posted by rozee at 12:42 PM on April 16, 2016 [4 favorites]


If it's fuzzy (mold) or fizzy tasting (fermented) toss it.

Either way, it won't kill you. We have immune systems for a reason.
posted by jeff-o-matic at 12:46 PM on April 16, 2016


That is untrue; we do not know what organisms it may have been exposed to. And while it probably won't make one dead, food contamination can make you wish you were.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 1:50 PM on April 16, 2016 [10 favorites]


I eat ancient hummus, I'll get a big container and pick out of it. However Still Tasty gives it a week if it's been opened.
posted by jessamyn at 1:57 PM on April 16, 2016


The hummus I usually buy says "use within 7 days of opening" on the label, and is generally still good after two weeks. Any longer than that and I chuck it.
posted by Metroid Baby at 2:32 PM on April 16, 2016 [1 favorite]


For the record, I recently forgot about an unopened tub of Trader Joe's hummus, and by a couple of weeks after the sell-by date the sealing plastic was puffed up, which says "bad" to me. I tossed it and survived.
posted by rhizome at 2:58 PM on April 16, 2016 [3 favorites]


I've had off hummus. You'll know by smelling or tasting it.
posted by i_am_a_fiesta at 8:53 PM on April 16, 2016


Looks and smells ok ...
I've had off hummus. You'll know by smelling or tasting it.

This always comes up in these threads.

Smelling OK does not mean it's safe. Smelling bad is indicative of spoilage bacteria and you shouldn't eat food that has them growing in it, though they tend not to be the ones that you really need to worry about. Listeria and salmonella do not have a smell. If they are growing, there is a reasonable chance spoilage bacteria are growing as well and it will smell bad, but it's not guaranteed.
posted by Candleman at 11:52 PM on April 16, 2016 [4 favorites]


I just finished a tub of hummus that was similarly dated but it was unopened. I wouldn't have eaten it if it was already open but unopened, it was fine.
posted by otherwordlyglow at 8:10 AM on April 17, 2016


And that's the other thing that always happens in these threads. Nothing happened, that's nice, you got lucky. Food contamination is nothing to play around with, and "I once ate a mouldy sandwich and I'm fine" is, like mutual funds, a poor indicator of future performance.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 12:00 PM on April 17, 2016 [1 favorite]


Christ people. Just because you ate something old once doesn't mean it's safe as a rule. What develops depends on what the food has been exposed to. Smell and taste are not safe indicators of food safety.

Don't eat it, it's been out far too long and opened food that isn't fairly acidic can harbor lots of things.
posted by Ferreous at 12:42 PM on April 17, 2016 [2 favorites]


S'ok Ferreous, wasn't looking for a hard-and-fast rule; individual experiences are ok too.

Anyway, tossed the old hummus, went to store, bought some delicious pine nut hummus. Yum!
posted by phoenix_rising at 5:57 PM on April 17, 2016 [1 favorite]


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