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Apr 21, 2008 07:39 PM

"Better Than Bouillon" - how long does it last once opened?

I like the results I get using this brand of stock concentrate, especially the ham base, but I've always wondered how long they are good for once opened and placed in the fridge. On one hand they have lots of salt in them and the bottles themselves are not heat sealed, just ringed with a tamper proof plastic strip, so I figure they must be pretty shelf stable. On the other hand, they are made from meat juices, among other things! Any thoughts?

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  1. we only use the vegetarian one, and go through it over a couple month period without any problems. i imagine the salty sludge is a pretty inhospitable environment for cooties.

    interestingly, the most recent cooks illustrated gave a big thumbs down to the veggie better than bullion (and just about all other commercial veggie broths)

    1. I read that they keep about 16 months in the fridge. I don't remember where, though. I think CI. I'm going to rummage a minute and see...

      Uh, that was an 18 month refrigerator shelf life for the chicken kind in the may-june 2005 issue. Since it is refrigerated only once opened, I assume this means once opened. The context implies that.

      1. Haha, Funny you mention it. Last week I was using the Beef one and after adding it to the dish i read the expiration date to be october 2007........ It still seemed to be fine, just a little less intense flavor... And neither DH or I got sick.... haha!

        1 Reply
        1. re: chefschickie

          I wonder if 2009 chicken BTB would be OK??? .... hmmmm .... and I wonder if I have the guts to try it! (in more ways than 1!) ;)

        2. The answer is, forever. Believe me. Sort of like bacon fat.

          9 Replies
          1. re: coll

            coll: x2 on the forever part. This stuff is SO salty, forever may be a little short.

            I'm amused by the name the manufacturer chose. The flavors I've tried definitely are better than cubed bouilon, but it's still not very good.

            Do folks here really like it?

            1. re: kaleokahu

              I've never used "Better than Bouillon" I should have said just bases in general. I've used Minor, Custom, Legout, Knorr all the usual suspects, and am assuming that this brand is basically the same type of thing?

              1. re: kaleokahu

                I don't find BTB salty, they claim lower sodium and no fat and 1/3 less salt than other bouillons.

                1. re: monku

                  monku: Wow, maybe we've had different batches. I like salt, a lot actually--I tend to use more in cooking than my family and guests want.

                  My experiences w/ BTB have been limited to "beefing up" scratch stocks that I thought needed more flavor. Even at half-strength (for the whole volume of stock), the results have been eyes-swell-shut salty. And when I tried reducing the stock any, it's been inedibly so.

                  I'll try the "low salt" version next time around.

                  1. re: monku

                    We like the stuff as well. We add to taste - I rarely follow instructions on stuff like this. The one currently sold at Costco in MdR specifies exactly as you mention on the label - plus organic.

                    1. re: monku

                      monku: Wow, we must have different batches. I like salt--a lot. So much so that family and friends kid me about it.

                      My experiences w/ BTB are limited to soups and stocks. I use it to "beef up" stocks that lack enough flavor. Even at half strength (for a total volume of stock), I find it too salty, as in swells-your-eyes-shut-tomorrow. If you try to reduce the stock--or you make the mistake of salting the liquid at all before you add it--it is pretty much inedible to me.

                      I have some BTB Clam Base in my fridge. An 8-oz. jar has 26 grams of salt, which works out at 680 mg (28% of your RDA) per teaspoon of goop/half pint of stock. If my math is right, a quart of reconstituted clam stock would have about 3.5 g of salt. More if you like more flavor.

                      Thanks for the link though. I'll try their "reduced sodium" formulation next time.

                      1. re: kaleokahu

                        Just looked at the jar of regular BTB chicken base in my refrigerator and it has the same amount of sodium as the clam base (680 mg).
                        I just don't find the chicken base to be salty and I don't use salt when cooking or add salt to my food when dining out.

                    2. re: kaleokahu

                      I actually love their bases when I don't have the raw ingredients (drippings) to make my own stock or need to stretch the stock I have. It has a more rounded "cooked/ roasted" flavor than any powder base and I like the control I have more than carton broth (as you can only concentrate that flavor by cooking it down or doctoring it up). Plus I feel sort of comforted to know it lasts forever and only takes up a small amount of space in my fridge and is always there if I need a quick impromptu gravy or something. It is salty as bases are however I don't add a ton of salt to most things til the end of constructing anyway (to taste)and realize beforehand it is a salty ingredient so I adjust, No biggie.

                      1. re: LorenM

                        LorenM: I agree totally that BTB is very convenient, and it really is superior to boullion cubes (Sometimes I feel like I'd rather gouge my eyes out that unwrap another old sticky cube!). And I do like their variety of choices.

                        And yes, I've had to adjust my stock-making to omit all salt unless/until I take the decision to "cheat" or not with BTB. This has been a big adjustment for me because to me, unsalted stock does not taste as rich as salted. I know that's probably not the right way to go about making stock, but old habits die hard.

                        "...lasts forever..." I get that. Sort of like balsalmic vinegar and Worcestershire Sauce.

                  2. Just yesterday, I through out my jar of clam base which was 3 years old. I use the beef, chicken and turkey bases and the Costco size lasts for months and months, just finished the beef which I probably bought 2 yrs ago.