Apart from adding flavor, pesto sauce also improves the appearance and sharpness of your food. This is why it has become integral to our daily culinary tasks. But have you ever wondered how long your pesto sauce should last in your fridge before it goes bad? If not, this article will explain the timelines for you.
What Is Pesto?
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Pesto is a bright green sauce made up of crushed pine nuts, garlic, Parmesan cheese, basil, and olive oil. The term pesto comes from the Italian word “pestare”, which can be loosely interpreted to mean “to crush”.
This source originated in Genoa, Italy in the 16th century. Since then, it has been a part of the Italian culinary tradition, particularly in the Liguria region, which is commonly referred to as the cradle of aromatic herbs.
Originally, pesto was just a cold sauce made using basil and cheese. Over time, new and more flavorful ingredients were added to it to make it better. Today, this sauce is normally blended and enriched with crushed garlic pine nuts, and virgin oil.
Some people prefer substituting pine nuts with almonds or walnuts, which are more affordable. If you don’t have basil, you can still make your pesto sauce using spinach, arugula, or kale. However, the substitutes will give it a deeper green appearance.
And if you are the wild type, you can make your pesto with pretty much any type of green, including broccoli and avocado. But perhaps you shouldn’t completely alter the traditional recipe if you want to enjoy a true Italian pesto experience.
How Long Does Pesto Last in The Fridge?
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The time it takes for your refrigerated pesto to go bad depends on many factors, including when it was made, how it was made, and whether it’s sealed or unsealed. Let’s discuss how these factors will affect the shelf life of your refrigerated pesto.
1. Store-Bought Pesto
Most pesto sauces you find in your local stores are mass-produced for the market. Therefore, the manufacturers want their products to last longer on the shelves to avoid financial losses.
This means that their pesto sauces have preservatives to prolong their shelf life. Furthermore, some manufacturers put their pesto in refrigerated jars to keep them fresh for longer periods.
But there are other brands of mass-produced pesto sauces that are usually kept in unrefrigerated jars. The unrefrigerated ones are likely to have preservatives to prolong their shelf life. This type of pesto can last up to two weeks in the fridge after opening, thanks to the preservatives added to it.
The refrigerated ones have a shorter shelf life because they do not have preservatives. So, they’ll last up to a week in the fridge after opening. It’s recommended that you use up the whole jar of refrigerated pesto within a few days after opening.
2. Homemade Pesto
The shelf life of your refrigerated homemade pesto sauce depends on how you store it. If you want it to last longer, keep it in a tightly sealed jar. You can prolong the shelf life of your sauce by freezing it. This will keep it fresh for about three months.
When you open the jar to scoop some sauce for your meals, sprinkle it with a few drops of olive oil to keep it green. Since your homemade pesto sauce doesn’t have preservatives, it can only stay fresh for a few days.
So, don’t make more sauce than you can consume in a week. The more you keep unsealing your sauce jar, the faster it’ll go bad. So, only open it whenever you want to use it.
3. Sealed Pesto
If you keep your pesto sauce jar tightly sealed, it can last up to two weeks in the fridge. However, this duration depends on how the sauce was made. If it was homemade, it would only last for one week.
Store-bought pesto sauce that comes in a refrigerated can or jar will last for three weeks without opening. The unrefrigerated store-bought pesto sauce will last up to 6 weeks if it stays unopened. The prolonged shelf life is attributed to the preservatives added to unrefrigerated sauces by their manufacturers.
It is also important to note that some unrefrigerated store-bout pesto sauces are in the form of powder, which is meant to prolong their shelf life even further. Unsealed powdered pesto sauce can last up to 6 weeks in the fridge.
4. Unsealed Pesto
Unrefrigerated pesto sauce will only last for two weeks in the fridge after opening, while the refrigerated one will only last for a week after opening. Your homemade pesto will only stay fresh and usable for three days if it’s unsealed.
In short, unrefrigerated pesto sauce bought from the store lasts the longest time while homemade pesto has the shortest shelf life.
How to Keep Your Pesto Sauce Fresh for a Long Time: 3 Tips
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Since the process of making pesto sauce is quite extensive and time-consuming, you need to learn how to make your pesto last longer in the fridge. Once you learn the trick, you can make or buy enough pesto to last you a few weeks. Here are the tips for making your refrigerated pesto last longer.
1. Keep the Container Sealed Completely
Whether you’ve made your pesto at home or you’ve bought refrigerated pesto from the local store, you can extend its shelf life by keeping its container completely sealed, especially after opening.
Some people assume that their pesto will remain fresh if they put it in the fridge without tightly sealing the container. This is a misconception. As long as you’ve unsealed the can and allowed air and moisture inside, your pesto is not safe.
So, sealing the container tightly after scooping the pesto you need for your meal is important to keep it fresh for a long time. You should also do the same with your unrefrigerated pesto. Having preservatives doesn’t mean that your pesto won’t go bad if the container remains open.
2. Keep It in the Fridge
Always keep your pesto in a cool, dry area. You should also keep it at room temperature. Keeping your pesto jar in the fridge will help you meet these temperature requirements.
You should also keep your unrefrigerated pesto can in the fridge, even if it has preservatives, especially if you’ve already opened it.
3. Check the Expiry Date
If you got your pesto from the store, it should have an expiry date clearly displayed on its label. So, use it before the indicated expiry date to avoid losses. As your pesto sauce nears its expiry date, it’ll lose its natural taste and smell.