Does Jam Go Bad? How Long Does Jam Last?

Have you ever wondered if your jam was still good? If it was still safe to eat? Jam is made of fruit and fruit juice so it should go bad, right? If you have ever wondered this read on to know exactly if, when, and how jam goes bad.

Quick Answer

Does Jam go bad? Yes, Jam can go bad. You can tell Jam has gone bad if it has mold growing in it. Another way to tell that jam is bad is to smell it. If you cannot see any mold, smell your jam. If it smells like vinegar, yeast, alcohol, or anything fermented then it is bad.

Is it safe to eat after the expiration date? Yes, in most cases. Store-bought jam typically has an expiration date of 1 year. If left unopened it can remain good for several years. If open, the jam should last for at least a month and possibly more if stored well.


So how can you store jam? Read on to learn what the best ways to store jam are and how to best preserve it.

Does Jam Go Bad? How Long Does Jam Last?

The simple answer is yes, jam does go bad. How you store your jam, whether it has been opened or is still sealed, and what type of jam it is all affect how long your jam will remain safe.

How Long Does Jam Last Outside

Unopened Homemade Jam will last one year in the pantry. Open Homemade Jam will last for at least 2 weeks and sometimes even a month. Smell the jam before eating.

Unopened Store-bought Jam will last at least 1 year and usually more in the pantry. The general consensus is that a store-bought jam that is unopened will last for 2-3 years in most cases if stored in a cool dry place.

Open Store-bought Jam will last about 1 month in the pantry. if conditions are ideal it can last up to 2-3 months in the pantry.

In all cases, if the jam is unopened or open, store-bought, or homemade check the jam before eating. If it smells like jam it is probably safe to eat. If it smells like alcohol, wine, fermented fruit or smells weird be safe and throw it out.

How Long Does Jam Last in the Fridge

If you live in a hot climate store your jam in the fridge. If you are a slow eater of jam (if it will take you more than a month to finish an open jar of jam) consider storing it in the fridge.

Jam that is unopened does not need to be stored in the fridge. The open jam will remain in peak quality in the fridge for a couple of months. Even after a few months, the jam will still be good to eat, it just will not be at peak quality for flavor. Homemade jams typically do not last as long as store-bought jams once opened.

In all cases if the jam is unopened or open, store-bought, or homemade check the jam before eating. If it smells like jam it is probably safe to eat. If it smells like alcohol, wine, fermented fruit or smells weird be safe and throw it out.

How Long Does Jam Last in the Freezer

Jam in the freezer typically lasts about 6 months. Jam can last up to a year in the freezer. It is important to make sure the jam is well packaged so that it does not get freezer burn.

When thawed, frozen jam will then last for about 3 weeks in the fridge. Once jam has been thawed it is best not to refreeze it. The more you freeze and thaw the jam the more the jam will break up and begin to separate.

The ideal way to store Jam depends on your use of jam and the climate where you live. Jam you do not plan to use for a while can be frozen. Jam you want to eat now, should be in the fridge or pantry.

How To Tell If Jam Has Gone Bad / How To Know Jam is Fresh

It is easy to tell jam is still good. It is just as easy to tell that jam is bad. Jam is basically fruit, fruit juice, sugar, pectin, and preservatives (store-bought). Homemade jam does not have added preservatives so it will go bad quicker.

Recognizing when jam has gone bad: Jam will change color as it ages. This color change does not necessarily mean it is bad. Jam with mold growing in it is bad jam. Jam that smells like vinegar, wine or alcohol, yeast, or if it smells pickled is bad and should be thrown out. If you find jam in the pantry that has a popped cap and you did not open it, you should throw it out as you do not know how long it has been open.

Recognizing fresh jam that is still good: Jam is fresh if it is unopened and not yet expired. This will be the ideal time to eat it. Jam that is open can still be fresh if it is not yet at the expiration date. Jam that smells like jam or like the fruit it is made of is still good. Lastly, so long as nothing fuzzy (like mold) is growing in it, jam is still good to eat.

How to Store Jam?

There are three ways to store jam. You can store jam in the pantry, the fridge, or the freezer.

Pantry: Unopened jars of jam can be stored in the pantry for a few years. Jam that is eaten within a year will be at peak flavor. it is still good after that first year but may lose taste or change color if kept longer.

Fridge: Opened jars of jam should be stored in the fridge if you do not plan to finish them before the week is done. Temperatures outside of the fridge are less controlled and jam can go bad quickly if not kept cool.

Freezer: If you do not think you will be eating the jam any time soon you can store it in the freezer. Freezer storage is best for less than a year. Once jam is moved to the fridge do not refreeze.

Can You Freeze Jam? How?

Yes, you can freeze jam. Just like ice, jam will expand when frozen. Make sure you leave plenty of space in the container you choose for freezing. Do not overfill the container.

How to freeze store-bought jam: Store bought jam can be frozen. to freeze store bought jam you can leave it in the jar. However, the jar will be too full, and it will break if you put it in the freezer unopened. Open the jar and take a few tablespoons out. Close the jar and it is ready to go in the freezer. You can also remove all the jam and put it into another container if desired. You can even store it in a freezer safe Ziploc bag.

How to freeze homemade jam: Homemade jam does not need to be jarred if you are freezing it. Place the jam in a jar (leave 2 inches of space at the top for expansion). Or you can place the jam in a freezer-safe Ziploc bag or any other freezer-safe storage container. Remember to leave space for expansion.

How to Thaw Jam?

Thawing jam is easy. You can thaw jam in the fridge or in a bowl of warm water.

Thawing Jam in the Fridge: If you have time, take the jam out of the freezer and thaw in the fridge. Thaw the jam overnight.

Thawing Jam in a bowl of warm water: If you need the jam now, thaw the jam in a bowl of warm water. You may need to replace the water and keep it warm until you can get jam out. put the rest of the jam in the fridge.

Frequently Asked Questions About Jam’s Shelf Life

Certain things about jam may seem like common sense, such as throwing away moldy jam. However, other things are not as obvious. What temperature is safe for jam? What if my jam gets too hot? What is with all these jams, jellies, spreads and such?

What is the ideal temperature for storing jam?

Unopened jam should be stored in a cool, dry place. Ideally your pantry temperature will be 65°F or less. If your pantry is not cool, storing jam in the fridge or freezer would be better. A basement is also a good place to store jam if it stays cool.

What if my jam gets too hot?

If you jam gets above 70°F for too long it will begin to go bad. If it is unopened, open it and check the smell and check for mold. If there is no mold and jam smells fine, put it in the fridge and eat it quickly.

What is the difference between Jam, jelly, marmalade, and fruit spreads?

They are all made from fruit. What makes them different is how they are made and what other ingredients are in them.

Jam: Jam is made from fruit, fruit puree, fruit juice, sugar, and pectin. Store-bought jams will also have additional preservatives added.

Jelly: Jelly is made of fruit juice or fruit juice concentrate mixed with sugar and pectin. Store-bought jelly also has additional preservatives added.

Marmalade: Marmalade is a jelly with citrus peel or pulp added. Store-bought marmalades may have pectin and preservatives.

Fruit Spread: Fruit Spreads are anything fruit based that is not a jam, jelly, or marmalade.

Wrap Up

In summary, Jam does go bad. However, the sugar content in jam helps preserve it for quite some time. Unopened, well-sealed jams can last for months. They can even last for years if they are store-bought.

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