Jello is an extremely popular snack and ingredient that can be added to certain dessert foods. It is enjoyed throughout the world and is eaten by all age groups from kids to senior citizens. It’s important to remember that there are many different types, brands, and colors of jello. There’s also an important distinction to make when it comes to telling jello apart. There’s ‘dry jello’ which is a mix that comes in a bag or container that is used to make the gel form of the jello, which is known as ‘prepared jello.’ Prepared jello is different in that it’s not a mix and already comes in a gel form. You can find prepared jello in any supermarket along with dry jello. Dry jello and prepared jello are very similar but are a little bit different in terms of the time it takes to make the servings. Dry jello takes more work and effort while prepared jello is ready to be eaten after purchase. Regardless of which type of jello you settle on buying, it’s important to think about how to store the product. If you see a big sale on jello at the local supermarket and you want to purchase a few containers or bags, should you go through with it? Would it be worth the time and the money saved to buy multiple packs of jello by storing it correctly? The ultimate question remains; does jello go bad?
Does Jello Go Bad? Does It Expire?
Unfortunately, both types of jello: dry and prepared jello can go bad but dry jello will last for many years before it’s prepared into its’ gel form. Jello does expire and has a “use by” date. However, dry powdered mix jello can generally be used after the “use by” expiration date.
When the jello has been prepared, it will last for a week or more when stored properly. In order to get the best results for either dry or prepared jello, be sure to follow the steps and procedures outlined in this article regarding proper storage and preservation.
Storing the Jello
When it comes to storing dry jello, the key is to keep the bag or container in a cool, dry, and dark place. The worst thing you could do is to put it in a warm, humid, and well-lit environment like your kitchen counter or table. Doing that would be counter-productive especially if the bag of dry jello has been opened once before. Instead, for dry jello, you’ll want to put it in the kitchen cabinet or pantry for the long-term especially if the package hasn’t been opened yet to make and prepare the gel form. It’s also important to remember to use the “use by” or “best before” date as a guideline and not as a strict expiration date. If you store dry jello properly, it will likely last for years especially if it hasn’t been opened at all. If you need to open the package for usage and have leftover contents, please seal the bag or container tightly for a number of reasons. Letting a lot of water, sunlight, and oxygen into the package will cause the dry jello to go bad rather quickly, even in the span of a couple of days or a week after exposure.
If you decide to store the jello after it has been made into its gel form, the best option for storage would be to refrigerate the product. Unfortunately, after the jello becomes its’ natural gel form, it will start to decrease in quality a few days after being put into the refrigerator. This is why its’ recommended to store in the refrigerator right away but to eat and use the prepared jello as soon as possible. The longer it’s stored in the refrigerator, the more the quality, taste, and texture will end up deteriorating. After a week or more passes of storage, the jello will begin to decline and go bad so its’ best to store the jello in its’ dry and unprepared form.
Shelf Life of Jello
When it comes to preserving the shelf life of dry jello, you really need to keep it away from any kind of water, sunlight, or heat. This is the best way to extend the shelf life of dry jello for many years due to lack of exposure to the outside elements. At a minimum, when it comes to shelf life of unopened dry jello, the product should last at least two years. That being said, depending on the brand, the ingredients, and the means of storage, dry jello can last for up to five years total and even more if all precautions are followed. If you happen to open up to dry jello to prepare it and there are some leftovers, do not be afraid that it will go bad within days. Opened dry jello can last for at least a few months especially if it is sealed tightly and not exposed to the outside elements unless necessary. Above all else, be careful about exposing the dry jello to water because that’s the only element that can cause you to throw out the package really quickly.
As stated before, prepared jello can only last for a week or two before it starts to go bad even with proper storage. The best thing you can do to prolong its’ shelf life is to keep it cold and dry by keeping it in the refrigerator and to check its’ quality after a few days. You’re still going to want to eat the prepared jello sooner than later.
Signs of Bad Jello
Whether dry or in its gel form, jello can and will go bad. The signs to check whether the product has gone bad or not are quite simple. You should check to see if there are any noticeable changes in the color or texture of the jello. Also, you should see if there’s any mold, clumps, or bacteria developing in the jello, which would indicate that it’s going sour. If you’re still not sure, do a simple taste test with a spoon. A small taste test won’t make you sick and it will be a sure way to tell if the jello has gone bad or not. For dry jello, you can also smell it to see if there’s an off or pungent odor. If the dry or prepared jello meet these criteria or signs, then it would be best to throw the product away in order to prevent yourself from becoming ill.