Does Cream of Tartar Go Bad? Does it Expire?
Most people don’t use cream of tartar regularly. You most likely can’t even remember when yours was bought or where you put the package that you had started using. After several months of storage, it leaves you wondering, can cream of tartar go bad?
Cream of tartar (also referred to as potassium bitrate) is available in powder form, you may think that it will last forever. Since the ingredient is normally used for baking as a thickening and anti-caking agent, you might think that it’s in some way similar to baking powder and baking soda. However, this can only mean that will lose its potency gradually. In this case, you’re quite right.
For more information on the shelf life, potency and storage of cream of tartar, then this article is meant for you, so continue reading.
How to Store Cream of Tartar
Cream of tartar has to be stored in the same manner as its counterparts, baking powder and baking soda. Meaning that you should keep it in a cupboard in the kitchen away from sunlight and other sources of heat. Although the pantry is the best place to store it, it’s more practical to keep it in the kitchen. This is especially the case with cream of tartar for even up to a year.
Similar to other powdered ingredients, cream of tartar easily draws moisture from its environs. As a result, once the container is opened, it should always be sealed tightly.
How Long Does Cream Of Tartar Last?
Similar to other powdered ingredients, the cream of tartar doesn’t easily go bad unless it gets in contact with water. This means that it will be safe for use forever. However, the product comes with a best-by date on the packaging.
Some manufacturers include the date because of legal requirements, while others do so because customers often trust products that come with the date. The sell-by date is pretty useful as it lets you know whether or not you need to confirm the product’s potency prior to using it.
Whether there’s a best-by date or not, its safe to assume that the product will maintain its potency for about 4 years from when it was produced, and in most cases for much longer.
Let’s discuss the right way of confirming the potency of cream of tartar. If you’re not sure whether your ingredient can still be used, you can test it by adding half a spoon of it to half a cup of warm water. You will then need to add some baking soda to the mixture. If it removes foam, it means that the product is still potent and can be used to bake, stabilize whipped cream and egg whites amongst other uses.
|Cream of tartar (unopened or opened)||Best-by + 6 months|
Not that the periods mentioned above are just rough estimates.
How to Tell If Cream of Tartar Is Bad
As mentioned earlier, unless the product comes in contact with water or moisture, it doesn’t get spoiled easily. Even when some moisture gets in the jar, it won’t cause mold to grow on it. It will instead form some clumps, which can be removed by sieving, grinding or using a mortar and pestle.
If a lot of moisture enters the jar, your cream of tartar will go bad. In case it becomes a large solid clump, or mold and other organic growths form on it, it’s probably best to throw it away. The same thing applies if the powder changes color or you notice that there are dark specs in it. The other sign that shows that it’s time to get rid of your cream of tartar is when it smells off.