You’ve most likely had this experience. You prepare your baking supplies, ready to cook up some delectable nibbles. However, when you add baking soda, the ingredients do not rise as much as they did the previous time you cooked. So you check the expiry date, and sadly, that box has none! And you start to worry whether your baking soda has gone bad. Is it going to make my pastry dangerous to eat? Let us investigate.
- 1 Does Baking Soda Go Bad?
- 2 How Long Does Baking Soda Last?
- 3 How To Tell If Baking Soda Has Gone Bad? (Potency Test)
- 4 3 Tips To Store Baking Soda
- 5 The Risk Of Consuming Expired Baking Soda?
- 6 Can You Freeze Baking Soda?
- 7 Summary
Does Baking Soda Go Bad?
No, baking soda is indestructible. However, baking soda, like other leavening agents, loses its efficacy with time, resulting in baked products that don’t rise properly or at all. However, the product does not become harmful to consume, and eating items containing baking soda that has been stored for a lengthy period of time will not make you sick.
Some containers will have a best-by date printed on the side to show how long the product is expected to keep its leavening potency. However, baking soda nearly often retains its potency beyond this date.
If yours is already beyond that date and you are unsure about its leavening properties, it is preferable to do a potency test (which we will discuss later in the article). Of course, if the product functions well, you may continue to utilize it in your recipes.
How Long Does Baking Soda Last?
Because baking soda has an infinite shelf life, many manufacturers no longer contain a best-by date on the label. If the one you’re using doesn’t specify a shelf life, consider two to three years for an unopened package and six to eight months for an opened packet as a rule of thumb.
While outdated baking soda is unlikely to give exceptional results, as previously stated, the baked items may still be eaten safely.
One of the reasons baking soda lasts longer than baking powder is because, unlike other leavening agents, baking soda needs an acid to activate. It will not activate simply by absorbing moisture from the environment.
As a result, unlike baking powder, which comes in a hermetically sealed container, most manufacturers package the product in cardboard cartons that open with a simple flap. If baking powder collects moisture, it will spoil quickly.
Baking soda will only deteriorate if it is exposed to acidic moisture. For example, if you leave it on the kitchen counter and it absorbs water containing lemon juice, vinegar, or another acid, or if it just takes up acidic residues from the counter, it may activate. You will most likely see a bubbling motion where the substance has become wet.
The figure below illustrates the predicted shelf life of baking soda kept at room temperature.
How To Tell If Baking Soda Has Gone Bad? (Potency Test)
As previously mentioned, baking soda does not deteriorate to the point that the resultant baked products are dangerous for human consumption. However, it may lose its effectiveness over time, and when this happens, the batter and dough will not rise.
A potency test is the only method to determine if the product still has leavening power. It’s a simple two-step procedure that just takes a few minutes. This is how you do it.
- In a cup or dish, place one teaspoon of baking soda.
- A few drops of citric acid (lemon juice), vinegar, or any other acid may be added. If there is any bubbling movement, the product is still fine. If there is very little fizzing or no fizzing at all, the baking soda has lost its strength and will most likely not yield the intended effects. Purchase a new box.
When you put baking soda in a bowl with your baking recipes, it interacts with any acidic components and produces carbon dioxide. The dough rises because of the bubbles. The more fizzing there is, the fresher the baking soda is and the more effective it will be in cooking.
If your baking soda has deteriorated, or lost its effectiveness, no reaction will occur and your ingredients will not rise. But don’t throw away that box just yet; you may still use it for washing kitchen and bathroom surfaces, deodorizing the refrigerator, and other things.
3 Tips To Store Baking Soda
Store Baking Soda In A Cool, Dry Area
Keep baking soda dry and away from heat sources at all times. The pantry would be ideal, but if yours is near the sink, dishwasher, or stove, the food placed in it may be exposed to heat or moisture when you use your stove or dishwasher.
In such scenario, you should choose a kitchen cabinet that fits the standards for keeping your baking soda cold and dry.
Unless you are specifically using baking soda to reduce smells, do not keep it in the refrigerator. If this is the case, change your baking soda at least once a month and avoid using it for baking since it will have absorbed any fridge odors.
Keep Baking Soda Tightly Sealed
Unopened baking soda boxes will be acceptable in their original packing. However, as soon as you open the product, place it in an airtight container or Ziplock bag.
This simple method not only keeps moisture out, but it also keeps the product from absorbing tastes from neighboring meals, allowing it to maintain its freshness and unique flavor for much longer.
Use Clean, Dry Spoons To Scoop Baking Soda
When handling baking soda, using wet tools or spoons that have been dipped in other ingredients might transfer particles of other components to the powder, potentially contaminating the result. Not just that. Using utensils that have residue from vinegar or lemon juice might activate the product and shorten its shelf life.
The Risk Of Consuming Expired Baking Soda?
Nothing happens if you consume outdated baking soda since baking soda does not really expire. Your package may have a date written on it, but that date has a whole different significance. It indicates how long the product is expected to maintain its potency and freshness. Baking soda will keep its leavening effect beyond this period if kept properly.
However, you may notice that the baked goods may not rise as much as they did when the box was new, or that the product does not fizz at all. Sure, the meals aren’t very appetizing, but they won’t give you food illness or do you any damage.
Replacing the box is the appropriate thing to do, but not because it renders the baked products hazardous to consume, but because it is not performing its intended function. Baking soda is only dangerous to use if it has absorbed elements that are hazardous to your health.
Can You Freeze Baking Soda?
Yes, you can freeze baking soda, but it isn’t required since the product has an incredibly extended shelf life even without the aid of a freezer. Also, bear in mind that most brands expressly advise that the product be maintained in a dry environment, so the freezer may not be the greatest place to keep your baking soda if you want to enjoy it for an extended period of time.
However, if you live in a hot environment without air conditioning, the freezer may be the best location to keep your baking soda. The first thing you should do in such case is locate an airtight container.
Baking soda is infamous for collecting odors from nearby items, so keep the powder as well packed as possible, particularly if you have highly scented goods in the freezer.
Do not store the product in its original box immediately in the freezer, since the moisture in the freezer might cause it to grow wet and stale much faster.
A well sealed container will not only keep odors out, but it will also keep the substance dry, preventing it from losing strength. Simply pour the powder into the container, seal the lid securely, and set it in the freezer.
Baking soda has an infinite shelf life, so you may store up on large quantities without fear of the product being harmful to use. To maintain its efficacy, it must be kept in a cold, dry environment. Perform a potency test if you are unsure about the freshness of a package that has been sitting in storage for some time.