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Ahh, hummus (or is it houmous? Or maybe humus?…let’s stick with hummus). Possibly the closest a savory snack can get to heaven on earth.
Someone emailed the other day and asked me, “How long does hummus last?” I’ve never thought about it before. I’ve never had to!
So, how long does hummus keep? Despite my bewilderment at how anyone could leave a tub of this creamy chickpea treat for long enough to worry about it, I thought I’d do a bit of digging to find out what the shelf life of hummus actually is.
For those of you who are in a rush, here’s the low down:
HOW LONG DOES HOMEMADE HUMMUS LAST?
Around a week. Some people state they still enjoy their hummus after 10 days, but I’d err on the side of caution and stick to seven days or less. Make sure you store it properly, though (see below).
HOW LONG DOES STORE-BOUGHT HUMMUS LAST?
Store-bought hummus will have an expiry date on the packaging. That being said, your hummus will usually be good for four to six days past the expiry date, even after cracking the seal. Use your senses – sight, smell, taste – to ensure that you’re hummus is still fresh enough to eat.
It’s worth remembering, though, that most store-bought hummus will be often be loaded with salt and other preservatives so that supermarkets can keep them on the shelf for longer. While this may be convenient, it’s not exactly healthy, so you should try and make your own hummus whenever possible.
HOW LONG DOES FROZEN HUMMUS LAST?
Freezing hummus will extend its shelf life to six months, but it’s texture will change somewhat with time. Also, the longer you keep hummus frozen, the more flavor you’ll lose. See below for more on how to freeze hummus.
How to store hummus
Obviously, as with any foodstuff, when it comes to the question of does hummus go bad?, a lot depends upon how you store it.
Does hummus need to be refrigerated?
In short, yes. However, you should really be getting your hummus out of the fridge before eating it – room temperature is where you’ll get the most from the ingredient’s flavors.
Take your dip out of the refrigerator around 30 minutes before you’re ready to dive in (I know it’s difficult to wait that long, but trust me) and you’ll enjoy it far more than if you eat it stone cold.
Preparing hummus for refrigeration
There are several things you can do to improve the shelf life of your hummus. First of all, glass containers work better than plastic ones, but they need to have an airtight seal.
For extra protection, a layer of saran wrap (cling film) will increase the seal further when placed between the containers edges and the lid.
Another tip you can use is to drizzle a small amount of olive oil over the top of your hummus before placing it in the refrigerator. This additional layer will not only help protect the hummus from any air it would otherwise have to contend with, but also help keep it moist too.
Serving with olive oil is considered essential by some, so you’ll be saving yourself a job when it comes to eating time as well!
Can you freeze hummus?
Okay, maybe the box above should have come with a spoiler alert! But, if you are still wondering, “Can I freeze hummus?”, the answer is yes, you can!
However, hummus does change a little once frozen, and the longer you leave it, the more noticeable that change becomes.
That being said, when you have an excess of this wonderful spread it’s handy to know that you can stick a batch in the freezer to enjoy at a later date.
Preparing hummus for freezing
Now we’ve answered the can hummus be frozen question, we need to move on to how to do it properly. Here’s what you need to know.
To get the best results, place your hummus in a clean, freezer-safe container that has an airtight seal (remember, air is the enemy when it comes to freezing any food). Leave a little gap between the top of the hummus and the lid as you’ll find that the dip will expand a little when frozen.
Just as when you refrigerate your hummus, drizzling a little olive oil over the top will help seal it further and prevent too much moisture escaping when in the freezer. Don’t go overboard, a thin layer of oil is perfectly fine.
If you have a lot of hummus (lucky you!) to freeze, it’s a good idea to do so in small batches. This allows you to take out what you need without wastage whenever you’re ready to enjoy your favorite chickpea snack.
To defrost, you ideally need to plan ahead a little. Get the frozen hummus out of the freezer the day before and place it in your fridge. Giving the dip 24 hours allows it to defrost slowly and steadily, resulting in better taste and texture when you come to eat it.
When you’re ready to eat, give the mixture a good stir to ensure all the oil within the hummus is properly combined with the solids. Freezing can cause hummus to separate a little, so don’t forget this step.
If your hummus has been in the freezer for a little while, you may find it has lost a little zing. To perk things up a little, add some extra ground spices – a little cumin, paprika, freshly ground black pepper, etc. – or even combine with some finely chopped onions, peppers, or garlic to bring a little life back to your dip.
So, that’s that! Now you know how long hummus lasts and the best ways to store it. All that remains now is to tuck into your favorite chickpea dip…enjoy!