Does Jelly Go Bad? [Comprehensive Guide]

So you made some Jelly or maybe you bought some Jelly and you’re wondering whether Jelly goes bad. That’s what we’re going to cover in this article. 

Firstly, yes, Jelly does go bad, especially when it contains sugar or fresh fruit. Additionally, your storage method will determine how long your Jelly will last. 

USDA guidelines state that Jelly is good for around 12 months. But in my experience, they are a little conservative with their estimate. So with a proper storage method, you could probably store your Jelly for longer.

 Let’s dive in.

Jelly goes bad because of the ingredients that go bad over time. Proper storage methods can extend your jelly’s shelf life. Now you might be wondering, can you eat expired jelly?

Can You Eat Expired Jelly?

Yes, you can’t eat expired jelly if you correctly stored jelly. However, the jelly will not have the same vitamins and nutrients it once had. It also won’t have the same taste. This means that you probably won’t enjoy jelly as much.

However, if you notice the signs of expiration below, then you should not eat the jelly. You might get stomach problems if you eat jelly in this state.

Does Jelly Have to Be Refridgerated?

Unopened Jelly does not need to be refrigerated. But if you open the delete then you should refrigerate it immediately after a fresh jelly generally stays well refrigerated from six months to one year.

What if It Isn't Refrigerated

If your opened jelly is refrigerated then it will go bad very fast. But as previously stated, unopened jelly does not need to be refrigerated and can’t be put in your cupboard.

It can last in the cupboard for up to 12 months. But this shelf life is not as high without the high sugar content. This is because sugar acts as a preservative.

Should You Freeze Jelly?

Putting your jelly in the fridge is unnecessary and probably won’t increase its shelf life significantly. Putting it in the refrigerator is all that’s necessary.

But I can understand if your refrigerator is full. In that case, you can put the jelly in the fridge without any serious repercussions. 

Some consequences will be that it will lose flavor after a few months, so if you’re OK with that, you can leave it there.

Signs Jelly is Bad

There are three primary things to look out for to see if jelly has gone bad – it smells bad, there’s mold on it, or it has changed color.

If your jelly smells like yeast  – it’s time to throw it out. At the same time, if mold is on the jelly, bacteria have compromised it, and it is no longer suitable.

Finally, it’s probably bad if the jelly becomes brown, black, or another rotting color.

How to Increase Jelly Shelf Life

You can typically increase the span of jelly by adding more sugar since sugar is a preservative. Other than that, you will need to store your opened jelly in a refrigerator at 40 degrees or below.

You can also store it in a freezer to make the jelly last a little longer, but this may deplete the flavor.

Here’s our article on whether you can refrigerate pancake batter.

Best Jelly Recipe for Shelf Life

can you freeze sugar

It’s typically best to buy commercial jelly, but if you wanted, you could make your jelly.

Here are the ingredients:

  • 7 cups sugar
  • 5 cups of juice from your choice of fruit
  • One package of fruit pectin or four tablespoons of pectin

Here are the directions:

  • In a big pot, mix pectin and juice. 
  • Blending the ingredients requires turning the stove to the highest level. Add the sugar, stir, and bring the juice mixture back to a full rolling boil once it reaches that point. 
  • Depending on how hard you like your jelly, cook for around 8 minutes (or more) after stirring and reducing the heat to medium. Ladle quickly into the prepared jars, leaving 1/8 inch of space at the top. 
  • Clean the threads and jar rims. Attach lids by securing bands firmly. Jars should be placed upright on a towel to cool entirely.

Here are 10 delicious campfire treats you should know.

Factors for Shelf Life

There are many factors to consider when making or buying jelly.

Type of Jelly

The color and amount of sugar in your jelly are a huge determining factor in how long your jelly will last.

Generally, you want more sugar and a darker color if you want the maximum shelf life.

How it Was Made

Generally, commercial jelly lasts much longer than homemade jelly. A unique approval process only allows top-notch foods to be accepted.

No matter how you make your jelly at home, you’ll probably have jelly that expires faster – I haven’t had any of my jellies last more than a year in the refrigerator.

Final Words

So, does jelly go bad? Yes, jelly does go bad, and it goes bad within 6-12 months. You can extend this slightly by placing it in the freezer, sacrificing its flavor.

Overall, as long as your jelly doesn’t show any signs of expiration, it should be fine to eat.

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