By Carrie Havranek
Greek yogurt. It’s just so versatile. We love it as a dip, we love to eat it with fruit and a little bit of granola, and a swirl of honey. It can work well as a marinade, or a base for a dressing. It is a staple in so many of our fridges.
But let’s be honest. Sometimes it gets lost in the fridge after we open it. (This is also why I stopped buying sour cream unless needed for a recipe). Sometimes, when we do uncover it, while rummaging for other things, we open it up and it looks and smells a-ok, but the sell-by date has passed. Or there’s some pinkish or black mold growing around the rim. It’s so tempting to just scrape it off and use it anyway because we don’t want to waste food, right? (Or we’ve got a recipe we need it for ASAP!) And what impact does the fat content have on usability? What’s the best way to proceed here?
We asked Amanda A. Kostrol Miller, RD, LDN, advisory board for Fitter Living, for her input.
Can We Rely On Our Powers of Observation?
“Regardless if there’s no mold that you can see or smell, consume Greek yogurt within 1 to 2 weeks of opening it. So, if you had 1 serving and let the rest sit in the fridge, throw it out if there’s signs of spoilage or if it’s been more than 2 weeks since opening,” she says.
What About Those Moldy Spots?
And about those pink and black spots of mold that tend to gather around the lid and the sides of the container?
If you see those, it’s a goner. Yogurt is a soft food, and because of that, it’s “easier for mold to penetrate to other parts of the container.
(It’s also why, generally speaking, you can cut a piece of mold off a hunk of hard cheddar or Parm and still use it; it’s less likely that the mold has found its way to parts unknown in the cheese because it’s much harder.)
Does Fat Content Impact Spoilage?
We also wondered whether it mattered if your yogurt was nonfat, low-fat or whole milk. Does one spoil faster than another?
“There’s inconclusive evidence to show that the fat content (or lack thereof) in dairy makes it last longer. Always base your timing on the stated dates on the label,” she says.
If you’re still not sure?
“A good rule of thumb is ‘When in doubt, throw it out.’ This is especially important for at-risk or immunocompromised populations. It’s not worth the risk of food poisoning,” she says.
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