Jello is the perfect lunch snack for a kid. Whether you buy store-bought pre-packaged Jello or make it yourself with powder, you may be wondering how long Jello lasts, and does it go bad?
Jello does go bad. Powdered Jello will go bad when exposed to moisture. This will cause clumping or mold growth, spoiling the mixture. Pre-packaged Jello cups and prepared Jello will go bad when the consistency starts to break down. This causes pools of liquid to gather in the cup, meaning it has gone bad. Jello will last longer when properly stored.
We’ll take a look at how long Jello lasts in varying conditions, and how to keep your Jello fresh for longer.
Does Jello Go Bad? How Long Does Jello Last?
The shelf life of Jello depends on what kind of Jello you have; dry mix, prepared, or pre-packaged jello cups. We’ll see how long they last outside, in the fridge, and in the freezer.
How Long Does Jello Last Outside?
Powdered Jello will last indefinitely if properly stored. If kept in a cool, dry place with no temperature fluctuations, powdered jello will last far beyond its best by date.
Prepared jello should not be left outside the fridge. Once made, prepared jello will only last a few hours outside the fridge before it begins to separate into a watery goo, meaning it has spoiled.
Pre-packaged jello cups that are bought off the shelf can last 3-4 months outside the fridge. However, if you bought the jello cups in the refrigerated section, they won’t last outside more than a day.
How Long Does Jello Last in The Fridge?
Powdered jello should not be kept in the fridge. The humidity and temperature fluctuations can cause condensation and moisture to build up, spoiling the powder.
Prepared jello will last 7-10 days in the fridge. This time is shortened if the jello is mixed with fruit or other products that spoil faster.
Sealed jello cups in the refrigerator will last up to a year. This includes jello cups that you buy from the shelf instead of the refrigerator section. It’s always a good idea to check the best by date, but jello can be safely eaten beyond this date.
How Long Does Jello Last in The Freezer?
It’s not recommended to put powdered jello in the freezer. The extreme temperatures will cause the quality of the ingredients to degrade, giving your jello a less-than satisfying flavor.
The best place for prepared jello and packed jello cups is in the fridge. Putting them in the freezer will cause the contents to separate, creating a watery gelatin mix that won’t taste very good.
Freezing causes a breakdown in the bonds that hold jello together. You may not notice it while it’s in the freezer, but once you thaw jello, it will begin to separate.
The best place for jello depends on what kind you have. As a rule of thumb, wherever you bought it from in the store is where you should keep it.
How to Tell If Jello Has Gone Bad / How to Know Jello Is Fresh?
There are several ways to tell if jello has gone bad, or if it’s still fresh and ready to use.
Consistency: Check the consistency of your jello. If it’s fresh, it will be firm yet give when poked with a utensil or finger. It should not sag or break apart as soon as you touch it, but rather bounce back into its original shape. If the jello is soggy or there are puddles of jello in your container, the bonds that hold the jello together are starting to disintegrate. If it’s very watery, the jello should be thrown out.
Mold: Because jello is a moist dessert, it has the potential for mold and bacterial growth. If mold is growing on your jello, you’ll notice white or dark colored speckles on the surface of your jello. If you see this, your jello has spoiled. If the color remains clear with no suspicious spots, it is still fresh.
Moisture: for dry jello powder, moisture exposure will cause spoilage. Check for signs of clumping in the powder. If there is any clumping, it’s best to toss the entire contents.
How to Store Jello?
Proper storage of jello will prolong its shelf life, keeping it fresh for longer.
Pantry: The pantry is the best place for both powdered jello and pre-packaged jello you find on the shelf in the grocery store. Keep the box or packaged cup in a cool, dry area away from sunlight and heat.
Fridge: For prepared jello and jello cups you find in the refrigerator section of the grocery store, the fridge is the best place to store them. For prepared jello, try storing it in an air-tight container to better seal in freshness and flavor.
Can You Freeze Jello? How?
It’s not recommended to freeze jello, no matter the kind.
Powdered Jello: Powdered jello normally comes in a box with the packet of powder inside the box. Storing it in the freezer can expose it to moisture and will cause the bonding agents in the powder to disintegrate
Pre-packaged jello cups: Jello cups stored in the freezer will probably look fine while they’re in the freezer. However, upon thawing, the cups will likely turn into a watery mixture instead of the gelatin desert you are used to.
Jello pops: Jello pops are found in the freezer section of grocery stores and are meant to be stored in the freezer. This is the only type of jello that you should store in the freezer.
Jello mixes: If you made jello with fruit or other filling inside, it’s still not a good idea to store it in the freezer.
How to Thaw Jello?
Here’s how to thaw jello from the freezer.
Eat immediately: As the jello begins to thaw, it will separate and turn liquid. Eat jello pops directly from the freezer.
Do not thaw: It’s best not to let jello thaw. Instead, try making jello in lollipop shapes so that they can be eaten straight from the freezer.
Frequently Asked Questions About Jello’s Shelf Life
All your jello questions, answered.
Will expired jello make me sick? It could, but it’s not likely. If you notice mold or white streaks of bacteria on your jello, it can make you sick if ingested. Jello that looks, smells, and tastes fine is more than likely okay to eat. If any taste or odor is off, don’t test it.
Does jello mixed with other ingredients have a shorter shelf life? It depends. A general rule of thumb for mixed ingredient dishes is that it will only last as long as the shortest-lasting ingredient. Jello lasts 7-10 days in the fridge. Strawberries last 5-7 days, blueberries last 10 days. It all depends on what you use.
Proper storage will keep your jello fresh for longer. Each type of jello has its own proper place to store. Always check for signs of spoilage before eating or preparing jello.