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Feb 25, 2009 04:08 PM

Ghee - shelf life?

How long is ghee good for if kept in the refrigerator? Unfortunately, the brand I bought does not have an expiration date. I think I've had it about 2 seems ok...should I still chuck it?

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  1. I would think that once the solids are removed from butter, it would keep a lo-o-ong time. Does it smell ok? You're sure to hear from the "throw it away" camp in 5-4-3-2-1....

    1. If it looks and smell ok, them it's probably alright. I know some who have had it in the fridge for over a year and it was till good.

      1. There's no way of telling if its gone over the edge or not.
        Traditional ghee is made from fermented milk. The fermented smell will mask any odor of spoilage of the fat.
        Fats get rancid after a few months unless they're frozen.
        Pitch it.

        3 Replies
        1. re: MakingSense

          I did...especially after I remembered it was way over 2 years since I had it...actually going on 5. Yikes, how time flies!

          1. re: hungryann

            Unless you want that "fermented" flavor which some Indian dishes benefit from, you can make your own clarified butter very easily.
            Buy plain old supermarket butter when it's on sale. Our local stores have it as low as 99 cents or $1.99/lb as loss leaders. Heat it to allow the milk solids to settle out and the water to evaporate. Specific directions in most general cookbooks.
            All you want is the butter fat.
            It's a terrific cooking fat.

            1. re: hungryann

              I think I have you all beat. I was cleaning out my pantry and found a jar of Purity Farms Ghee that had fallen behind the cabinet. It is in a sealed jar still with the shrink wrap around the lid. It's got to be at least 9 to 10 years old. It's in a 3.5 oz jar that they don't even make anymore. (see attached) What do you guys think? I may write Purity Farms and see exactly what they mean by a "long" shelf life.<G>

          2. I make it myself and leave it in a jar on my counter. I just found a jar that spent at least a year at room temp and it tasted fine.

            4 Replies
            1. re: JMF

              Yeah, it really doesn't need refrigeration. The whole point of ghee is that it's been made stable at room temperature, since it's used in a place where refrigeration is and has been uncommon.

              Also, regarding the post above about ghee traditionally being made from fermented milk: that may be traditional, but the vast majority of ghee one can buy is made from fresh milk, and this isn't an issue.

              1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                Ghee is fat. Fat gets rancid. Yes, all fats are fine at room temp for a reasonable length of time but there is nothing about ghee that makes it MAGIC.
                A good Indian cook goes through it quickly. If you're leaving it sitting around for a year????

                If you are buying "ghee" made from fresh butter (not milk), why not just make your own cooking fat, i.e. clarified butter.?
                Is it "ghee" any longer if it's not the traditional product?

                1. re: MakingSense

                  In some parts of Africa their version of ghee is used as currency and it actually improves in flavor over extended periods of time.

                  Fats go rancid because of moisture content. ghee and other clarified and cooked butters have 0% moisture and do not go rancid.

                  1. re: MakingSense

                    Pemmican, a tribal indian and Inuit food, will last "indefinitely" without refrigeration. It was used by people through out the world before refrigeration. It is about 50/50 rendered saturated fat and dried meat ground into power mixed together. So in my search for why does it not go rancid brought me here.

              2. I have ghee in the fridge that is at least 6 or 8 years old and I am still using it. It still smells good and tastes good. I think people have a wierd view of what is good and what is not. We have gotten carried away with "best by dates". They are mostly companies covering their rearends.

                4 Replies
                1. re: pepperqueen

                  Wow, now I am sorry I threw out my 5 year old ghee! LOL
                  All kidding aside, some parts of it had turned white from yellow. The smell wasn't off-putting but I don't remember how it smelled initially! The taste did seem a tad rancid. Is your 6-8 year old ghee home-made or store-bought?

                  1. re: pepperqueen

                    Here in the USA I believe it is mandated that every food product have a expiration date. We know that hard cheeses like cheddar's can go many years longer than the expiration date.

                    1. re: surfereddie

                      I recently bought some from a local Indian/Pakistani market that makes their own foods for wholesale and retail. They sell them from a fridge or freezer in plastic tubs or zip-locks with the name written in sharpie, i.e. Ghee, Dhal, Veggie Biryani, Red Curry. No ingredients or expiration date, but all very yummy and from a certified kitchen.

                    2. re: pepperqueen

                      those best by dates are to prevent grocery stores from keeping food for eons.