Whether it’s plain or packed with flavorful pieces of fruit, yogurt only keeps for a recommended amount of time before it is no longer safe to eat. While yogurt contains good bacteria, it also contains slow-growing bacteria, which, along with molds and yeast, eventually causes plain yogurt to spoil when it is stored for an extended period of time or when storage conditions are less than ideal.
Always check the expiration date on a container of plain yogurt before you eat it. Under ideal conditions, plain yogurt is safe to keep and eat up until the date stamped on the container. If the yogurt has not been stored properly, you should throw it away, regardless of the date stamp. If your plain yogurt is in a single-serve cup, you should eat it immediately upon opening the container.
In the Lunch Bag
A lunch bag exposed to temperatures of 41 degrees Fahrenheit or above for an extended period of time is a less-than-ideal place to store a container of plain yogurt. Under these conditions, the yogurt only remains safe to eat for up to two hours. If you store the lunch bag in a place where the temperatures top 90 F and above, your yogurt only keeps for one hour before you should discard it.
In the Refrigerator
If you pop a container of plain yogurt in the refrigerator, it remains safe to eat for up to two weeks, because temperatures of 40 F and below slow the growth of dangerous bacteria. Opened containers of plain yogurt are not preferred for refrigeration. The contents of open yogurt containers can be placed in tightly sealed containers that will keep the plain yogurt fresher and free of dangerous bacteria levels for up to two weeks.
In the Freezer
For long-term storage, consider the freezer. Simply pop the container of plain yogurt in the freezer as long as you haven’t opened it. If you have, scoop the yogurt into a freezer container with a tight-fitting lid and place the container in the freezer. In freezer temperatures of 0.0 F, the yogurt will keep indefinitely. Although the yogurt will remain safe to eat while frozen, taste and texture may begin to deteriorate after two months.
Yogurt in Prepared Dishes
Plain yogurt is often added to cake mixes, fruit smoothies and even salad dressings. Any uneaten portions of these recipes made with yogurt require refrigeration because of the perishability factor. How long the plain yogurt lasts in recipes depends on the foods that it’s mixed with. For instance, even though yogurt may last two weeks in the refrigerator, if the fruit only lasts for three or four days, the recipe must be discarded before the two-week period.
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