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How Long Does Cottage Cheese Last? It Can Spoil Faster Than You Think!

Knowing the shelf life of kitchen ingredients is more critical than you imagine. How long does cottage cheese last? Have you ever wondered about the shelf life of this versatile daily ingredient? The key is to know how long it can last at different temperatures.

This helps you plan how to store cottage cheese unless you buy it for meal preparation for the same day. Storage conditions like the optimal storage temperatures are an area that you should know about.

Finally, you should also be aware of how to check whether your cottage cheese is still fresh. You can do that without taste testing it only to find that it is stale!

How Long Does Cottage Cheese Last
via Pixabay

How Long Does Cottage Cheese Last

Life of Cottage Cheese on The Counter

As one of the most popular sources of protein, cottage cheese is famous around the world for its health benefits. Before you know about the ideal storage temperature, it helps to know the answer to a common question – “how long does cottage cheese last unrefrigerated.”​

Being one of the most perishable forms of dairy products, this one can only last for 2 hours or slightly longer when you leave it on the counter. The weather outside also has a role to play. It can spoil faster on a warm sunny day. This holds good even for an unopened pack.

Life of Cottage Cheese in The Refrigerator

For an unopened pack, the actual duration for which you can store it in your fridge would be up to the date mentioned in the package. The preparation methods and other aspects act as deciding factors that help understand the optimal storage period.

An opened package that you refrigerate immediately and store below 40℉ can last for 7 to 9 days. You should use up the opened packs within 2 to 5 days. The longer you store, the poorer would the taste and texture be.

Freezing to Extend Life?

Can you freeze cottage cheese with the hopes of extending its life? Many switch to this method mainly because it is convenient, and cottage cheese, like most ingredients, cannot go bad in the freezer.

The key is to understand how quickly its quality deteriorates. If you have prepared cottage cheese at home and if you plan to move it to the freezer immediately, then you can leave it there for 4 to 6 months.

However, you cannot use frozen cottage cheese as it is. You can thaw it by transferring it to the fridge for a few hours or by using hot water or in the microwave.

Fresh cottage cheese always tastes better than frozen and thawed cottage cheese. This is, therefore, not an option if you are very particular about the taste.

How to Tell If Your Cottage Cheese Has Gone Bad?

Remember that no matter how well you store your cottage cheese, you would have to know how to identify whether it has gone stale. When you buy from the store, you might be following the ideal storage conditions.

However, if the pack had not been stored in the recommended temperature in the store or if it had spoiled while it was transported, you cannot reclaim it. You should, therefore, always inspect your cottage cheese, being double sure that it has not spoiled before you add it to your dish.

There are several signs that you can look out for before you have to taste the cottage cheese to gauge its freshness.

  • Even before you open the pack, check whether the package has bulged. If the package originally was tightly sealed when you purchased and if it has bulged, it could be a warning sign that your cottage cheese has started losing its freshness.
  • Once you open the pack, inspect the cottage cheese for its texture. If your cottage cheese has bubbles, these are water pockets. This might happen as a first indicator of the cottage cheese losing its freshness.
  • The visual indication could also come in the form of a change in color. Most dairy products like cottage cheese start yellowing when they lose their freshness.
  • Smell the cottage cheese, and if you find any difference, then it would not be worth the risk.
  • If the cottage cheese has already gone bad, there could also be the growth of mold on it, and in that case, throw it away without a second thought.
  • If nothing else works, taste a bit from the bunch and check if it is sour.

Like other dairy products, cottage cheese can be very harmful and can cause severe stomach troubles if you consume it when it has gone stale. Therefore, keep an eye on it while you also give it the right storage conditions.

Is It Alright to Eat Cottage Cheese Beyond Its Expiry Date?

How long is cottage cheese good for after the best before date, is another question that several people have. Ideally, the best before date printed on the pack is not the expiry date.

It indicates the duration, after which the cottage cheese starts to lose its freshness and flavors — consuming within a few days or a week at the most, after the best before date on the pack would be fine.

However, when you purchase cottage cheese, plan to pick a package that you will use before the printed “best before” date on it. Most cottage cheese, from credible brands, come without any preservatives.

Therefore you cannot expect a very long shelf life with this one. Cottage cheese doesn’t undergo similar aging and processing like other types of cheese, and therefore it doesn’t store well for a long duration.

Is It Alright to Eat Cottage Cheese Beyond Its Expiry Date
via Pixabay

Tips to Retain the Freshness of Cottage Cheese

  • Fresh cottage cheese prepared at home is best consumed at once. If you do plan to cook in a huge batch, then store it in the freezer for better results.
  • Pick an airtight container for storage. This makes sure that excess moisture and contaminants do not affect the life or even the quality of the cottage cheese. Whether it is in the refrigerator or the fridge compartment, a proper airtight container is indispensable in storage. You can also use a tight storage bag for storing it in the freezer.
  • If you can, buy single-use packs. Most of them come vacuum sealed, and therefore you can directly store them without any additional container. Once you open the packet, you would still need a proper storage container to maintain the freshness.

When you take the above steps to preserve the freshness of cottage cheese, you can enjoy its original taste and flavor for up to a week, when refrigerated, or a few months when frozen.

>> Related Post: How Long Does Applesauce Last – Will It Go Bad?

Wrapping Up

Follow the recommended storage conditions for cottage cheese, no matter which part of the world you stay in. Dairy products can easily be spoiled and can lead to serious health issues. For cottage cheese:

  • When you store below 40℉, consume within a week
  • If you have opened the pack, consume within 2 days
  • When you freeze it, consume within a few months
  • If you leave it on the counter, use it within 2 hours.

Buy small packs that you can usefully for a single meal. Even after cautiously ensuring the above conditions look for any signs of staleness in your cottage cheese. Trust your senses, and stay away from infections!