Does Food Coloring Expire?

Food color is a miraculous product that can add color to any of your dishes and make them more appealing, vibrant and appetizing. Only a tiny amount is needed to completely transform the plainest of dishes.

This essentially means that food coloring is an ingredient that is quite difficult to use up quickly and so, they can hang around for a very long time, even for many years. If you want to know how long food coloring lasts, read on.

Does Food Coloring Have a Shelf Life?

Food coloring is available in various forms such as liquid, powder, paste and gel. Over time, there may be a reduction in the color and the quality of the food coloring; however, it is still safe to consume.

The key to preserving the food coloring and ensuring that it does not go bad lies in the manner you store it. Even if food coloring has an indefinite shelf life, if not stored properly, it will go bad. And, if you see any changes in terms of the consistency or color in the food coloring, then it is best to stop using it and throw it away.

  • Liquid Food Coloring: If not sealed properly, the liquid food coloring may get thick or hard. If this occurs, simply add 4-5 drops of hot water and shake and the food coloring will be good to use again. Make sure to store the color properly by screwing the cap on tightly after using it.
  • Gel Food Coloring: Gel food coloring can become dry or hardened if not stored properly and adding a few drops of hot water can restore it. However, if the color of the gel food coloring is altered, if it is dried out or has any mold growth, it is better not to use it and throw it away.
  • Powdered Food Color: Powdered food coloring is the best option if you want to store the coloring for a long time. Since it does not contain any liquid, the powdered food coloring will not dry out; however, you must store it properly.
  • Paste Food Coloring: Paste-based food coloring usually contains liquid, which can harden, dry out or change color. And, if it hardens or dries out, then you can restore the coloring by adding a few drops of hot water. However, you must take care to store it properly.
  • Homemade Food Coloring: Often, people make their own food coloring at home using natural ingredients such as blueberries, beets, turmeric, spinach, etc. However, homemade food coloring doesn’t last for a long time compared to store-bought colors and will last for around 1-2 weeks in the refrigerator.So, it is a good idea to make very small batches of food coloring if you’re making it at home. Also, make sure to seal the food coloring properly when you store it in the fridge.

How Long Does Food Coloring Last?

The often-asked questions are, does food coloring expire? Is it safe to use old food coloring? The simple answer to these questions is that food coloring does not go bad or turn rancid. This is because food coloring is an artificial color and does not contain ingredients that can get spoiled. And, if stored properly, food coloring has an indefinite shelf life.

Just like any other product, even food coloring comes with an expiry date because manufacturers are required by law to mention the same on the product. However, even if consumed after its expiry date, the food coloring will be fine to use and not cause any problems.

Related: Foods with Long Shelf Life that Last for the Long Term

How to Store Food Coloring

As we have seen earlier, food coloring has an indefinite shelf life and will not get spoiled. However, to ensure that the food color lasts as long as possible, you should ensure that it is stored properly.

Store the food coloring in a cool and dry place, away from direct sunlight. Doing this will ensure that the colors of the food coloring remain bright and there is also no deterioration in the quality. After you have used the food coloring, seal the bottle properly.

However, before doing this, ensure that you wipe the bottle’s lid with a clean cloth and remove any residue from the rim that can prevent the lid from being sealed properly. If the bottle is not sealed properly, dust and other contaminants can get into the food coloring and may cause mold growth.

Wrapping Up

In conclusion, commercial, store-bought food coloring is an artificial color that does not expire. And, as long as it is used and stored properly, food coloring has an indefinite shelf life and can be used long after its “best before use” date.

Further Reading: Food Storage Times For The Refrigerator And Freezer

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