Hummus, that delicious Greek and Middle Eastern dip, has a creamy consistency and is popularly considered a healthy food worldwide. It’s packed with vitamins, protein, fiber, and nutrients, and offers numerous health benefits. Hummus helps fight inflammation, improves digestive health, lowers your risk of heart disease, and controls blood sugar levels. It’s also an impressive way of achieving weight loss. Like with other food items, it’s important to eat hummus while it’s fresh. Hummus does eventually go bad — it has a shelf life — and like with cheese, tortillas, and all other refrigerated foods, there are techniques to properly store it and extend its life.
The traditional form of this clean, healthy food item is made of superfood ingredients like chickpeas, garlic, tahini (sesame paste), and olive oil. We often buy hummus in bulk since it’s in many ways a staple item. It’s eaten with the main meals (breakfast, lunch, dinner) and often in between during snacking. Bulk shopping of this item ensures we don’t end up wasting time and resources making multiple trips to the grocery store to replenish our supply of hummus. Yet, what if you buy more than you’ll consume and the rest goes bad?
In this guide, you’ll learn how long hummus is good for. We’ll also discuss the best storage techniques to make your hummus last and stay fresh for an extended time for safe consumption. In our analysis, we’ve included all forms of hummus — homemade, packaged (store-bought), at both opened or sealed states of storage. If you’re unsure if the hummus in your fridge or freezer has gone bad, read on, we’ve covered that aspect too!
How Long is Hummus Good For?
How long hummus lasts depends on how it was made, the printed best-before date (also called the expiration date), and the storage method. When we say “how the hummus was made,” we’re implying whether it was homemade, or commercially produced with added preservatives to extend its life.
Here’s a chart showing the expiration of hummus under different conditions:
Hummus Expiration Chart
|Store-Bought (Packaged)||4 Days -10 Days*||6 – 8 Months*|
|Store-Bought (Packaged)||4 Days – 1 Week||6 – 8 Months|
|Homemade Hummus||5 Days||6 – 8 Months|
*Past the printed best-before (or expiration) date.
The best-before date or the expiry date mentioned on the container is an indication by the manufacturer of the date by which the quality of the hummus remains optimally fresh. However, you may continue safely consuming it beyond that date according to the above chart.
How To Tell If The Hummus Has Gone Bad
The first step in checking to see if the hummus has gone rotten, spoiled, or expired, is to sniff it to see if there is a foul smell. Traditional fresh hummus that isn’t specially flavored, doesn’t have any aroma. If you find that there is a strange sour smell, do not further check it by tasting it, just throw it in the bin. If the smell is sour because the hummus has a cilantro or garlic flavoring added to it, then the smell test isn’t going to help.
The clearest way to confirm the hummus has gone bad is the visual check. Once the hummus has started going sour, it will develop mold or start to ferment, or both at once. So if you notice color changes and fuzzy growth then that might be the mold. Due to potential health risks, it’s highly recommended you do not attempt consuming spoiled food. For practicing optimal food safely, always consume the food before the expiry of its shelf life.
Some people associate a watery, dry, or oily consistency of the hummus with it being spoiled and expired. In most cases that’s a wrong conclusion. If the water or oil content of the hummus has separated from the other ingredients, simply stirring the hummus will ensure you achieve the desired consistency of the spread.
How Long Can Hummus Remain Fresh In Room Temperature?
Hummus that needs to go back into the fridge for storage shouldn’t be left out unnecessarily for any amount of time. Hummus that is left out an hour or longer has a strong chance of developing bacteria and getting cross-contaminated, leading to mold. Once it develops the initial stages of bacteria outside the fridge, it will develop further bacteria faster in the fridge — ultimately leading to mold development.
When you’re eating hummus, you could eat it over a period of an hour or so without feeling there’s a risk of it going bad and affecting your digestive health. If you’re eating it in an outdoor setting on a very warm or hot and humid day, then try to have it a bit quicker. While serving your hummus, it’s highly recommended that you use a clean utensil. Otherwise, cross-contamination from other foods may result, which is potentially dangerous and can lead to food poisoning.
How To Properly Store Hummus And Extend Its Shelf Life?
Proper food storage is a healthy, efficient, and environmentally-friendly practice that everyone should undertake. Both opened and unopened hummus should be stored in the fridge or freezer. There’s no other way about it. To retain its freshness, the hummus should be stored in the refrigerator below 40°F. After every use, it should immediately be put back in the fridge for it to last the longest possible time. While it’s in the refrigerator, the hummus container should be tightly closed to prevent moisture and contaminants from entering.
The shelf-life of store-bought hummus compared to homemade hummus varies because commercially produced hummus has added preservatives. Also, there are different varieties of hummus available. Each is differentiated by different ingredients used for flavoring. Nevertheless, most types of hummus will not let you down for at least 4 days if kept properly refrigerated. Homemade hummus should be consumed within 4 to 5 days.
For extending the shelf life of hummus for a much longer period, you can freeze it. Hummus freezes exceptionally well. After freezing, when you need to consume it, simply thaw it overnight in the fridge for it to be ready for consumption the next morning.
How To Freeze Hummus?
Once you’ve decided to buy hummus in bulk, you have to ensure it stays fresh for the long term. You can achieve that by freezing all that hummus instead of refrigerating it. Hummus can be kept frozen for up to 8 months before consumption.
There are certain steps to follow for proper freezing:
Step 1 – Print or handwrite the date of purchase (that’s the date you’ll be freezing it) prominently on a label and stick it on the hummus container. The purpose of this is to know how long you can store it in the fridge after thawing the frozen hummus. You can compare the best-before date (manufacturer printed on the original container) and the date it went into the freezer (handwritten by you) to make a proper estimate of its fridge life after it’s been thawed.
Step 2 – It’s important that you unseal (partially break the original seal) the container a little bit, so that there is room for the container to expand when the hummus freezes over. The aim is to let the expansion in the freezer happen naturally, without the need to open the secure lid of the container.
FAQs About Hummus
How long does hummus last when prepared in a dish?
The general rule of thumb is, any food will go bad as soon as the quickest expiring ingredient in that dish expires.
Is mold on hummus dangerous for health?
To begin with, mold is not an appetizing item. Any food item that develops mold should be immediately discarded. A lot of people remove the portion of the food item that has mold growth and eat the rest, but that’s not recommended at all. The extent of the mold growth within hummus is not something completely visible. It grows deep into the hummus spread. In comparison, in foods like cheese, mold is more visible, as the consistency of the cheese is harder.
Keep in mind, any hummus that grows mold (you’ll see fuzzy or dark discoloration) is old enough to start fermenting. The fuzz, black discoloration, and sour and tangy taste are clear indications of mold and fermenting, which may not be fatal to health, but it’s not safe either.
Can you get food poisoning from hummus?
The chance of food poisoning from naturally spoiled hummus is not as likely as from hummus that has been cross-contaminated by other foods. In the case of the latter, there have been instances, though rare, of hummus being cross-contaminated during the manufacturing process with salmonella or listeria.
More commonly, to prevent cross-contamination in your kitchen, ensure the hummus container is closed air-tight, and refrigerated at all times. Cross-contamination is likely if you leave it sitting improperly lidded next to uncooked meat, for instance. On the other hand, at most, spoiled or expired hummus that’s uncontaminated may turn your stomach but not food poison you.
Is there protein in hummus?
Hummus is a healthy spread. It’s rich in protein from the key ingredients chickpeas and tahini. Hummus is one of the best ways of adding plant-based nutrition to your meals. On average, the store-bought version will have about 1.2 grams of protein per tablespoon. That’s not as much as the 4 grams of protein per tablespoon you can expect from most brands of peanut butter. However, hummus compared to peanut butter has other benefits like having far less fat and not being as much consumed as peanut butter.
In a nutshell, you know the hummus has gone bad when it starts smelling and tasting sour. That’s when it shows telltale signs of having reached expiry and growth of mold. To prolong the life of the hummus for several months, freeze it in an air-tight container. In doing so, remember to remove a bit of the seal, while not removing the lid. Bear in mind, after freezing, the texture of the hummus changes. Hence, after it has thawed from defrosting overnight, you must stir it to bring back the thick and creamy consistency.
The date mentioned on the hummus container brought from the store is the “best-before” or “expiry date.” Use that date only as an indication of the manufacturer’s recommendation. The final expiry date or the date after which the hummus usually gets spoiled, rotten, expired, past the best-before date is as per the chart we’ve shared above. Generally, hummus (store-bought or homemade) that’s been refrigerated, doesn’t lose its freshness for at least 4 days if it’s refrigerated. Further, always seek the advice of your health care provider to know what more you can do to eat responsibly.