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May 30, 2007 10:37 AM

Fridge lifespan of chicken stock?

Opened a box of some nice chicken stock but only used a portion of it... placed the rest in a plastic container and put in fridge. How long will that stock last? I know I shouldn't ask this... but how will I know if it goes bad?? Thanks.

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  1. Depends if they're any additives in it. If not, I would say a week at the max. Chicken stock freezes beautifully, though.

    3 Replies
    1. re: Miss Needle

      Amen to the freezing to store - just about anything. A week in the fridge is stretching it - but if you cannot freeze, place in the bottom back of the fridge, this is where it is coldest. Don't depend of sniffing. It will taste slightly "off" about a day before an odor developes at all. When you taste something and your mind says, "does that taste a little different/a little weird?" that is when you toss it. Never use anything you have a question about. It's not worth it. Better to freeze the broth in a small plastic container with a date on a label (although I never remember to date things). Then use it within a couple of months. Let's say 3 months tops.

      1. re: niki rothman

        We have some soft plastic ice-cube molds from IKEA that each make four giant cubes of approximately 1/3 cup each. When I make stock or broth, as I tend to do a lot, I freeze it all in batches in these molds and then put the cubes in a Ziploc. Then if I need one or two cups of stock for something I just take three or six cubes out of the bag. After a couple of months whatever's left starts to look a little frosty, so I use it all up in something.

        As for refrigerated broth, the trick to that is to take it out once a week, skim off any fat on the surface (my homemade always has a good layer to help seal it) and bring it to a full boil, then simmer it for ten minutes. Always cool it in an open container (or loosely covered, as with a towel) before covering and re-refrigerating it. I notice that ccbweb, below, says to do this every couple of days, and keep it no more than a week total, but I've been doing this following instructions I read years ago, and have had no trouble keeping broth in good condition three or four weeks. Of course, having grown up drinking random well water and eating lots of unwashed fruit I may be simply less sensitive to pathogens than some...

        1. re: Will Owen

          When I have any leftover commercial chicken broth, I do exactly as you do with your homemade stuff--freeze it in ice cubes. Then I don't have to worry about it going bad and I have small portions available later whenever I need them.


    2. It will taste sour when it goes bad.

      1. If, for some reason, you don't want to freeze it, you can stretch the fridge life by bringing it to a rolling boil for a few minutes after a couple of days. you can likely get away with that trick twice without any harm, but as Miss Needle says, a week is still going to be the outside limit.

        1. yes as everyone has said, depends on additive/preservatives, including yer basic salt/sodium-- no-salt organic chx broth will go off first.

          you generally have 5 days to 1 week to use homemade stock or boxed stock once opened

          it may smell either sweet or musty/yeasty when off, it will taste sour or otherwise wrong.

          in future freeze-- you can freeze partially used box stock right in the box, leaving the spigot open until all the way frozen. homemade stock is always the best though!

          1. wow...I'm glad I read these responses. When I open one of the cardboard boxes of stock & use just a portion, I rely on the expiration date for how long it will keep in the fridge - and that can be months out. I guess it's a good thing I haven't poisoned anyone so far!

            1 Reply
            1. re: nojunk

              Yeah, the expiration date on the box is usually for the unopened product. Its like ultra pasturized'll keep for a very long time unopened, but once its opened, its subject to the same time limitations as everything else.