Table of Contents Show
- How is Buttermilk Made?
- Does Butter Milk Smell Sour? (What You Should Know)
- How to Tell if Buttermilk Has Gone Bad
- Buttermilk Shelf Life
- Frequently Asked Questions
Buttermilk is a fermented dairy drink so you will know when it has gone bad. Buttermilk is a very versatile ingredient, it comes in handy for baking and in cooking savory meals, if you bake regularly, you have to learn how to store your buttermilk properly and also know when it has gone bad. If you have had buttermilk for so long then the first thing you want to make sure of is that it is still safe to use.
Given that buttermilk is an ingredient you use regularly, you might be tempted to store an excess of this however it tends to get spoiled easily if it is not stored properly or if it’s been stored for too long. Consuming spoiled food is one health risk you do not want to take and storing edibles properly is one of the ways you can avoid that.
No, your buttermilk should not smell sour unless it is spoiled. Traditionally buttermilk is just like any dairy drink hence you can expect it to go bad at some point. The initial smell of buttermilk is a slightly sharp tangy smell so it should smell more like vinegar and not sour. If buttermilk is bad, not only will it smell sour, it will taste bad as well.
Most times, you can tell the state of buttermilk with its smell. It is completely normal to know if your buttermilk is still okay after keeping it for a long while and also because it’s a dairy product. Read on to learn more about storing buttermilk and if a sour smell indicates spoiled or not.
How is Buttermilk Made?
Buttermilk is a dairy product made by heating skim or low-fat milk to 88 degrees C. The creation process is a simple one hence it can be made at home. Ingredients for making buttermilk at home still require the use of buttermilk or in most cases, it is substituted for plain yogurt, white vinegar, or cream of tarter. The heating process done to make buttermilk is meant to destroy all naturally occurring bacteria.
The commercial buttermilk has a smell that is more likened to that of yogurt as it’s more acidic. The tartness of cultured buttermilk is also something that can’t be missed and it’s due to the fermenting process. Buttermilk has a sharp tangy and slightly buttery smell while it has a creamery buttery taste.
Real buttermilk is made of water, milk proteins, milk sugar, and a small amount of fat which is just as much as low-fat milk. So, traditionally, it is a fermented dairy drink, it is mainly the liquid that is left after churning butter out of cultured cream.
Although most modern buttermilk in western countries is cultured separately and you can make buttermilk at home too. The difference between commercial and homemade buttermilk is that the buttermilk is no longer a by-product of milk. Buttermilk can range from different fat content from skimmed to full fat.
Does Butter Milk Smell Sour? (What You Should Know)
Buttermilk should not smell sour unless it has been around for a very long time and a sour smell from your buttermilk means it has gone bad. Buttermilk has a buttery smell and depending on what it’s made of, it can have a tangy yogurt or vinegar smell.
Knowing what your buttermilk smells like will come in handy when you have to decide if it’s gone bad or not.
This common ingredient for baking and cooking is made through the process where bacteria cultures are added to milk and left to ferment for hours at a low temperature, so this tends to give it a characteristic buttery aroma and taste.
As time passes, buttermilk only continues to ferment and become more acidic which is another way to explain the weird smell. Store-bought buttermilk tends to be higher in acidity hence the smell is stronger and also this enables you to quickly tell when it has gone bad.
You should know that if your buttermilk has a distinct smell different from when you got it and the sour smell becomes more pungent with time then it has gone bad.
How to Tell if Buttermilk Has Gone Bad
The smell is not the only way you can tell if buttermilk has gone bad or not. If you have accidentally left your buttermilk out or simply need to know how long your buttermilk is meant to last. Learn signs that can show you that buttermilk has gone bad and should be discarded.
1. Visible Mold
If you are concerned about the texture of your buttermilk, you have to check it for any sign of mold. If your buttermilk is spoilt, you will notice visible mold or it will look discolored. Buttermilk often turns a pale creamy color when it starts to go bad and regardless of if the buttermilk is still in date, you have to throw it out.
2. Strong Sour Smell
Buttermilk is meant to have an initial tangy sharp buttery smell but when it has gone bad, it starts to smell sour, you have to be brave and give it a sniff to know it’s time to discard it. If you notice any strong, gross, or terrible smell, you should toss it out or check for other signs of spoilage before disposing of completely.
The texture is another notable sign that your buttermilk has pasts its expiration date. Buttermilk that has gone rancid is similar to that milk, the normal consistency will change to a chunky and thick texture. It will start to pour slowly and have a cottage cheese type of consistency. Once the texture of your buttermilk changes then you have to dispose of it.
Another sign that can’t be missed when buttermilk has gone bad is the taste. Buttermilk is meant to have a tangy taste which is strong and not exactly smooth like that of milk but the moment this turns sour, it means it’s not safe to consume.
Buttermilk Shelf Life
Just like any food, buttermilk has its own shelf life but how you store it can determine how fast it will go bad. Unopened buttermilk should be safe 1 week after its expiration date while opened buttermilk will stay 2 to 3 weeks in the fridge depending on the type of buttermilk you purchased. Also, keep the buttermilk in the main body of the fridge and not the shelf door as it is warm there.
For longer storage of your buttermilk, freeze it and this should last up to 3 months. You can thaw it overnight when you plan on using it the next day. Buttermilk stored in your cupboard or at room temperature will easily go bad so it is best stored in the fridge.
Frequently Asked Questions
How long is buttermilk good for after you open it?
Buttermilk that has been opened should be good for 2 to 3 weeks if you place it in the fridge and it should last 3 months if frozen. Buttermilk that is unopened will also last slightly longer than its expiration date however if it is opened, ensure to use it within that 2 weeks as the longer it is stored, it will continue to lose its taste.
Can you consume buttermilk that has passed its expiration date?
If buttermilk has passed its expiration, it might still be okay to consume in a week if it has been stored in the fridge. The fermentation of buttermilk might enable it to last past its expiration date if it’s unopened however you should check carefully for any sign that it is still okay to consume. If it smells weird or tastes sour, have it discarded.
Can spoiled buttermilk make you sick?
Yes, spoiled buttermilk makes you sick. Drinking spoiled buttermilk can lead to food poisoning, you can experience cramps, nausea, or vomiting which can develop within hours of consuming it.
You can’t tell if buttermilk has gone bad or not with just the taste alone, but the smell is very hard to miss. As stated in this article, how you store your buttermilk will not only determine its shelf life but can influence its smell as well.
Keeping the tips in this article about and knowing what the sour smell indicates should guide you in deciding if your buttermilk has gone bad or not.