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How long does cottage cheese last? Can it go bad?

Cottage cheese is amazing, but only when it is fresh and safe for consumption. Anything different from this could lead to a painful experience. So, how long does cottage cheese last? We have the answers to this common question, including tips on storing your cottage cheese the right way. 


Can Cottage cheese Go Bad?


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Kiian Oksana/


It is very common to hear people ask if cottage cheese can go bad. The answer to this question is yes. Since cottage cheese is a dairy product, it is produced using animal milk that is prone to spoilage. Most cottage cheese in your local grocery store is derived from cow’s milk. It will turn sour and eventually spoil when stored in unfavorable conditions or left out for too long. Compared to other foods, cottage cheese has a short lifespan, but you can expand this only by keeping it under optimal conditions. This includes looking out for the expiration date for the store-bought cottage cheese and knowing when it’s time to let it go. 


How to Store Cottage cheese

The best place to store cottage cheese is in a refrigerator. This is the ideal location for a lot of other dairy products as well. Keep the cottage cheese at the far corner of the fridge to ensure it stays fresh for the longest possible time. You shouldn’t keep it at the fridge door as the temperature changes too often at this location. This will have a negative effect on your cottage cheese. 


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As soon as you open the package containing your cottage cheese, close it tightly before storing it in the fridge. The plastic containers are usually not resealable, which presents a little problem. However, you can solve this by transferring the cottage cheese to an airtight container or freezer bag. Apart from being environmentally friendly, they are also really convenient for storage. Another alternative is to pour the cottage cheese in a plastic wrap or tie it up in an aluminum foil using a rubber band. You should only leave the cottage cheese in its original packaging if you plan on eating it in a day. If you don’t want your cottage cheese to pick up unfriendly odors in your fridge, opt for the airtight container option. 


Can You Refrigerate or Freeze Cottage cheese?

It is considered a bad idea to freeze cottage cheese. If you do decide to keep it in a freezer anyway, there are a few consequences. Cottage cheese becomes watery when thawed and separate into sections that are not aesthetically pleasing. This is one of the many reasons why it is not recommended to freeze them. You can fix this separation by stirring the cottage cheese until it looks normal. However, it won’t produce any texture that is remotely similar to its original one. You won’t be pleased with the results except you wish to use the frozen cottage cheese in soups, casseroles, or sauces. 


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When thawed cottage cheese is mixed with fruits, the taste is absolutely terrible. There are a few methods of freezing your cottage cheese that will make it consumable in the foreseeable future. Place the original packaging in the freezer if you intend to use the whole container. However, if you will be taking out only a small portion, it is best to freeze it in sections using an ice cube tray or muffin tin. This will depend on the quantity needed for your recipe.  What’s the safest way to defrost your cottage cheese? Defrost it using your fridge. You can use the frozen cubes without thawing if you need the cottage cheese for cooking sauce or soup. 


How Long Does Cottage cheese Last?


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Every store-bought cottage cheese has an expiration date. This is not a definite date but gives as an estimated period when it will retain its freshness and remain safe for consumption. Usually, it can last a few days after the expiry date. However, the flavored ones which contain preservatives can last a bit longer than the others. Opened cottage cheese can stay for a week in the fridge. Some companies also claim that it can last as long as 2 weeks without losing its taste, but this is not confirmed. As a dairy product that isn’t rich in fat, the quality of cottage cheese reduces fast. Unopened cottage cheese kept in the fridge can last for about 5 days. These are estimates that can increase or decrease based on other environmental conditions. 


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How Can You Tell If Cottage cheese Has Gone Bad?

To tell if your cottage cheese has gone bad, you have to put your senses of smell, taste, and sight to good use. Start with the sniff test to determine if it smells sour. Cottage cheese shouldn’t have a rotten smell, and if it does, then it is time to discard it. A sour smell is not the only indicator, but cottage cheese that smells bad will also have a terrible taste. The next thing to look out for is the texture. When there is a visible separation between the liquid and milk solids, the cottage cheese becomes too watery to eat. If stirring it together for a while doesn’t fix it, then it’s time to let it go. Another obvious sign is the presence of mold. Don’t bother giving it a taste if there is mold growth on your cottage cheese. 


Is It OK to Use Expired Cottage cheese?

If your cottage cheese has stayed in your fridge for more than three months, then it is not a good idea to use it. When stored in moisture-free conditions and remains well sealed, it will remain consumable for a few weeks with its natural taste preserved. However, this is only to delay the inevitable. You should only use cottage cheese that has gone beyond its expiration date by a month or less. Still, you need to perform a thorough check to ensure it is still safe for use. 


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Related Questions

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What type of cottage cheese should you buy?

Due to the tons of options available in the market, it could be challenging to decide which cottage cheese is perfect for your recipe. We have grass-fed, reduced-fat, and low-fat. However, the healthiest choice is the 4% fat cottage cheese. This is better than lower-fat options. It keeps you satiated without giving in to the temptation of munching on snacks continuously. Also, this variety contains stabilizers and additives, giving it a creamy consistency as great as those found in full-fat cottage cheese. Of course, they taste better as well.


How can you use leftover cottage cheese?

Leftover cottage cheese can be put to good use in a lot of ways. You can bake them into fruity cheesecake bars with cranberries and lemon. You can also make a saltier version of whipped cream by piling your cottage cheese between your slices of French toast. If you don’t fancy these two ideas, you can puree the cottage cheese with vanilla, honey, and coconut. This serves as a great spread. 


Eat only cottage cheese that you’re sure will not cause some damage to your body. It’s always best to throw the cottage cheese out when you’re not sure.

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