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Ghee - shelf life?

hungryann Feb 25, 2009 04:08 PM

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 years...it seems ok...should I still chuck it?

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    adamshoe RE: hungryann Feb 25, 2009 05:08 PM

    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. CadienBelle RE: hungryann Feb 25, 2009 05:41 PM

      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. m
        MakingSense RE: hungryann Feb 25, 2009 09:54 PM

        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
          hungryann RE: MakingSense Feb 26, 2009 07:31 AM

          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
            MakingSense RE: hungryann Feb 26, 2009 10:37 AM

            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
              Alexlonebear RE: hungryann Apr 17, 2011 01:23 PM

              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. JMF RE: hungryann Feb 26, 2009 01:05 PM

            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
              Caitlin McGrath RE: JMF Feb 26, 2009 04:19 PM

              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
                MakingSense RE: Caitlin McGrath Feb 26, 2009 08:40 PM

                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
                  JMF RE: MakingSense Feb 27, 2009 03:55 PM

                  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
                    surfereddie RE: MakingSense Jul 30, 2012 04:59 AM

                    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. p
                pepperqueen RE: hungryann Feb 26, 2009 09:04 PM

                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
                  hungryann RE: pepperqueen Feb 27, 2009 04:12 PM

                  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
                    surfereddie RE: pepperqueen Jul 30, 2012 05:07 AM

                    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
                      tracylee RE: surfereddie Oct 11, 2012 09:27 PM

                      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
                      Chowrin RE: pepperqueen Oct 10, 2012 05:45 PM

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

                    3. n
                      noramc6 RE: hungryann Apr 16, 2010 10:06 AM

                      Actually, if the ghee is made correctly (and you dot get water into it) it will last for decades. Don't keep in it the fridge because supposedly the process of taking it in and out can create condensation = get water in it and cause to spoil.

                      AND ghee has traditionally actually been considered to get better with age

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: noramc6
                        JimmyCracksCorn RE: noramc6 Nov 29, 2010 07:49 PM

                        I bought pure butter ghee (99.8% pure) from New Zealand in a jar and after using it the first time for some Rogan Josh I have had it in the fridge and have not used it in 4 years. It has been chilled and hidden in a corner of the fridge so I am hopeful when I try to use it I am not stricken with something viral...

                        1. re: noramc6
                          surfereddie RE: noramc6 Jul 30, 2012 05:11 AM

                          I guess you should scoop or pour the amount you will use into another container in the fridge. People in climates that have large temperature swings from day and night should be aware of this as well. I'd like to hear from somebody, preferably an Indian, living in a mountainous region of India.

                        2. t
                          tastesgoodwhatisit RE: hungryann Nov 29, 2010 09:03 PM

                          I asked my Indian friends about this, and they said at least a year, unrefrigerated, in an Indian climate. If it's refrigerated, then it would be much longer.

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                            plantainchips RE: hungryann Apr 17, 2011 02:47 PM

                            Costco sells a huge tub of ghee for about $13. It has a best by date within the year though, and I doubt I would use it all up by then. The tiny jars are so expensive though, I'm thinking I might still come out ahead if I get the Costco one. Though I would hate to just toss it out at the end of the year if it's still usable.

                            1. Caroline1 RE: hungryann Jul 30, 2012 08:12 AM

                              This has been a very educational thread for me. I cannot imagine having ghee in the house that lasts more than a month, maybe a month and a half if it's a very large jar. Ghee is phenomenal! I use it for buttering toast and English muffins because they taste super buttery with about 1/4th the amount of ghee as butter. Great on vegetables, for frying things you want to turn out crispy and buttery flavored. It's fantastic for dipping crab and lobster into. I get super buttery baked potatoes with far far less ghee than butter. If I have ghee AND butter in the house at the same time, the butter will last forever! I have 3 pounds in the freezer, as I write, but I'm haunting the front door looking for the UPS guy to bring my fresh supply of ghee!

                              1. johnb RE: hungryann Jul 30, 2012 09:30 AM

                                I buy 5 lb. tubs of Plugra clarified butter (at Restaurant Depot), and leave them out on the counter next to the stovetop. I use it for general frying and such. Great stuff to have on hand. Never any problem so far; a tub lasts me a few months.

                                1. d
                                  dahlias RE: hungryann Oct 10, 2012 05:38 PM


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