Hummus is a delicious dip and spread, made primarily from ground chickpeas. High in protein, this dip has become a favorite in the health food community. But, what do you do when you’ve bought too much hummus? Can hummus go bad, and how should it be stored?
Can Hummus Go Bad?
Like all dips and spreads, hummus can unfortunately go bad. Typically, an unopened, commercially manufactured package of hummus will stay fresh in the refrigerator for about seven to ten days.
Making hummus at home is surprisingly simple, and can yield delicious results! Homemade hummus will stay fresh in the refrigerator for between three and five days, depending on the recipe used. Recipes with more tahini added, more garlic or more acidity from the lemon juice will last a bit longer, and might even be able to be stored for a week. Lemons, garlic and sesame (the main ingredient in tahini), all have preservative qualities.
While some ingredients can extend the shelf life of your hummus, others can decrease it. Homemade hummus that includes fresh vegetables like spinach or peppers is likely to spoil at a faster rate, due to the increase in moisture content.
Image used under Creative Commons from Janine
How to Store Hummus
Hummus should be stored in a tightly sealing container in your refrigerator. Ideally, the container of hummus should be kept as far from the door as possible, in order to maintain a consistent temperature. To keep refrigerated hummus as fresh as possible, try to avoid contamination by always using a clean utensil to scoop hummus out, and putting a dollop of hummus on a serving dish, rather than dipping food directly into the container.
One hummus has been opened, the exposure to air can reduce its shelf life. Try covering the surface of the hummus with plastic wrap, and pressing down to keep the hummus protected from oxygen. Seal the container, and store in the refrigerator. This should buy you a day or two of extra shelf life!
Signs Hummus Has Gone Bad
There are a few visual signs that indicate spoilage in hummus. As the hummus ages, it will begin to darken and harden. Once hummus starts to become dark, it has likely begun to turn bad. Similarly, any separation indicates that the oil in the hummus has turned rancid and the hummus should be discarded. Any mold growth is also a sure sign that your hummus has gone bad and should not be consumed.
Smell is also a great indicator of whether hummus has gone bad. Any sour or unpleasant smell indicates spoilage, and the hummus should not be consumed. Similarly, any fermented smell could indicate contamination and bacterial growth, and the hummus should be discarded.
Can You Freeze Hummus?
Hummus actually freezes incredibly well, giving you full license to go wild the next time hummus is on sale. A properly stored container of hummus can last for up to six months in the freezer without any noticeable changes to the taste or texture. When storing hummus in the freezer, be sure that the container is completely airtight. Though separation in fresh hummus usually indicates spoilage and rancidity, separation in the freezer is fairly normal, and the hummus is still safe to eat. If any separation occurs during freezing, simply thaw the hummus and stir to recombine.
Frozen hummus can be thawed overnight in the refrigerator, and should be consumed within three days of thawing. For best results, thawed hummus should not be re-frozen. To add some protein to your packed lunches, you could freeze portions of hummus in an ice cube tray (transfer the cubes to a sealable container, once frozen), and place one or two cubes in a small sealable container in your lunch box. These individual portions should thaw out by lunch time, and will make a perfect salad topper, or dip for those carrot sticks!