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How Can You Tell If Sour Cream Is Bad – The Best Warning Signs

If you’re still unsure about keeping sour cream at home because you don’t know how long it will stay fresh. Then this article is for you. It’ll give you all the information you need to know about when to toss bad sour cream in the bin. And for how long you can continue using it as a dip or ingredient for your recipes.

In this article, you’ll find out everything you need to know about sour cream. What keeps it fresh? What spoils it sooner? And which sour cream to buy?

The shelf life of foods like sour cream is relatively short-lived. And they quickly spoil if you do not take care of them properly. You lose out on all the recipes you can make with sour cream.

How Can You Tell If Sour Cream Is Bad

Whether or not you open that can or container of sour cream, it stays fresh for 21 days. That is 3 whole weeks. After that, it’s best to throw the sour cream away.

The sour cream stays fresh in the refrigerator for three weeks. If you keep it outside, it will spoil in a day or two. You will either get a strong odor and/or the sour cream will have a moldy film on top of it. These are signs that the sour cream has gone bad.

Since we’re on the subject, allow me to elaborate.

What Causes Sour Cream to Spoil?

There can be many reasons. Since sour cream is made of milk that is pasteurized. It is very sensitive to spoiling and attracting bacteria or mold. Milk goes through many processes to become sour cream. It is first pasteurized and fermented to produce lactic acid.

This means sour cream does contain live elements. So there is a specific way to preserve these elements. And prevent it from spoiling once you bring a can of sour cream home.

The proteins and sugars in sour cream can turn to unfriendly bacteria very quickly. And they spoil faster when stored at room temperature.

When stored in the refrigerator, this process can happen slowly. But when kept out at room temperature, the multiplication of the bad bacteria is accelerated.

Other things that spoil sour cream are exposure to sunlight, moisture, and unclean spoons or utensils.

And here’s how you can tell if sour cream is bad…

By Odor

You might not see that the sour cream has gone bad. But you will be able to smell it. Even a slight whiff of the stinky or rancid smell, and that’s your cue to throw the sour cream away.

While it’s true that sour cream usually smells a bit off-ish. But when that odor intensifies, that means the bad bacteria has grown extra and rapidly. That’s when you know that the sour cream is bad and should not be consumed.

By Discoloration

This happens when the sour cream is extra-extra-spoiled. When the sour cream goes way past its expiration date, it turns yellowish or a discolored beige. Simply said, if the sour cream is no longer white, that’s a clear sign of bacterial growth and mold.

By Mold

When there’s mold growing on the surface of the sour cream, it means it’s gone bad. Even if you can scoop the mold out and the sour cream is white underneath, do not eat it. The mold will spread underneath the moldy film. So you have to throw away the entire can of sour cream once you see even a sliver of mold on the surface.

How Long Does Sour Cream Last For?

There are three variations of sour cream if you really want to know. There’s the original sour cream made of whole milk. Then there’s reduced-fat sour cream that contains less fat and is low in calories. Lastly, there’s a sour cream dip that can only be used as a dip. Not in recipes.

The original sour cream and reduced-fat sour cream lasts for about 2 to 3 weeks. And the sour cream dip has a shorter lifespan which is about 1 to 2 weeks.

The shelf life is sour cream also depends on the manufacturer. For example, in some brands, opened sour cream lasts for up to 10 days only. Whereas, the same can of sour cream, unopened, lasts for up to 14 to 21 days.

The last factor that determines the shelf life of sour cream is preservatives. You should whether the sour cream contains any preservatives that could potentially reduce the shelf life of it. This, too, depends on the specific brand of sour cream you’re buying.

How to Keep Sour Cream Fresh for Longer?

Proper storage is what keeps sour cream fresh for longer. Store fresh cream in the refrigerator at 40-degrees Fahrenheit. This applies to all dairy products. They stay fresh once you start using them and storing them in the refrigerator.

Another thing that keeps sour cream fresh for longer is how you store them. Air-tight containers to avoid moisture, dust, or any other particle from entering in. Contaminants in and around your refrigerator and kitchen can easily spoil sour cream.

The last thing is using clean spoons and utensils when serving sour cream. Contaminants on an unclean or used spoon can spoil the freshness of sour cream. Cross-contamination from other food particles like onion, garlic, ginger, lemon, etc. can easily spoil sour cream.

Final Thoughts

If you want to buy something new for your kitchen, sour cream is a versatile and delicious food item. You can use it in recipes for a unique flavor. Or simply have it as a dip with french fries, nachos, etc.

In general, it’s easy to tell when sour cream has gone bad. You can read the ingredients label to check for preservatives, expiry date, sell-by date. And decide for yourself which is the best brand of sour cream with the least amount of preservatives and chemicals.

For now, knowing full well how long does sour cream last. And how to tell if sour cream is bad. And lastly, what to do to keep sour cream fresh for longer. All these things are important and will help you organize your kitchen better. And of course, avoid wasting food and eating something that could cause stomach distress.

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