How Long Can Yogurt Sit Out

How Long Can Yogurt Sit Out?

in Food by

We all love our yogurt, don’t we? 

But, do we know all there is to be known about this nutrition-packed superfood?

Yogurt is a product obtained by fermentation of milk. The bacteria generally used to make yogurt is called yogurt cultures consisting of Bulgaricus, Streptococcus, and Lactobacillus.

It is a favorite amongst those of us who are health-conscious, mainly the ones who are calorie conscious and are more than ready to shed off those extra stubborn pounds. In most households, it is either a staple in the meal or is enjoyed as a dessert or an evening snack. It is the most versatile piece of food. But the busy bees are the ones to get the most benefit out of it because yogurt is one hell of a handy breakfast. It is a yummy, nutritionally packed super-food that keeps you full for longer and is easy to grab before heading out the door.

Ok, now! What if you are in the middle of your quality yogurt time on a lazy Sunday and you suddenly remember some important errands you had to run? You are forced to abandon that yummy cup of strawberry goodness, on the kitchen counter, and leave it that way, sometimes even for a good few hours. You get back to a not so refrigerated, lonely yogurt that has been at room temperature, for more than ever. 

Has it been too late to enjoy that evening snack? Do you wonder if it is still safe for your tummy? Let’s find out!

So, for how long is the yogurt safe for consumption, your tummy might ask!

Most food experts say that yogurt does just fine even if it sits out for a few hours but can we know if that is one hundred percent true?? Well! It turns out, it is not completely true. The US department of health and human services, and foodsafety.gov, both declare that it is best to toss that yogurt if it has been sitting out for over two hours.

Now! We must know that spoilage doesn’t just depend on the time the yogurt sits out for, but it also depends on the temperature that it has been exposed to. If the yogurt is kept at a room temperature that is above 40 degrees Fahrenheit, it is best to discard it after two hours. If the temperature exceeds 90 degrees Fahrenheit, Well! Feel free to cut that time by half. After an hour your yogurt has entered the deterioration zone and the good bacteria in it is killed. Also, this two-hour window applies to all dairy products. Yea! That’s something most of us certainly did not know. 

There are a few factors that the longevity of your yogurt may depend on.  

If the Greek yogurt you generally consume uses fresh ingredients like fresh fruits in it, it is probably best to consume if quickly, while the fruits in it are as good as new.

If you’re the kind that does not like their yogurt or any food with preservatives, be warned. Yogurt without preservatives is more prone to spoilage and would turn sour much faster. Also, remember to store the pack unopened or consume it within 24 hours of opening. It is also best to keep in mind that the expiry date on the pack is the date given by your manufacturer to indicate that the product is at its best state till that date. It means that the product is still fit to be consumed. So don’t waste your money by tossing it or be too skeptical about still pouring that Greek yogurt in your smoothie bowl. It is consumable even for a good 2-3 weeks after the expiry date has passed, if smartly stored. 

How can you tell if your yogurt is ready for the bin?

The smell, texture, and consistency of the yogurt will guide you appropriately. If you see any kind of mold on the brim or any growth of unwanted bacteria, it is certainly more than ready for the bin. 

When you take a whiff of the yogurt, it should smell fresh. Even if it has the slightest rancid odor or a sour odor, discard it immediately.

Lastly, look at the consistency and check if there is any excess liquid on top which is timid yellow. If there is any apparent discoloration, then get rid of it.

How to store yogurt correctly and efficiently?

Since our favorite superfood is so versatile, it can be used in a million recipes. Therefore, it is best to learn to store those packs of yogurt properly and efficiently. Always remember these key points and mentally tick the boxes below while storing the yogurt.

  • Always…. Always…. Always… FREEZE it. Pick your pack of yogurt just before eating it or leaving home.
  • Never store the yogurt in the gate or door of the refrigerator. The temperature in that part is never constant since we tend to open and close the fridge, A LOT.
  • Always have the habit of scooping some yogurt into a bowl and eating it from there rather than eating it directly from the tub. This prevents cross-contamination.
  • Seal it tightly or store it unopened. Use it within 24 hours after opening the pack.

Yogurt should be consumed within a week as eating yogurt that has gone bad can cause mild to severe stomach ache, vomiting, diarrhea, food poisoning, or other foodborne illnesses.

We need to store and consume our dairy products wisely to save those extra bucks at the hospital and to enjoy a generous scoop of healthy yogurt as our daily snack.

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