Here's How Long Cottage Cheese Will Last After You Open It

Bowl of cottage cheese with wooden spoon
Bowl of cottage cheese with wooden spoon - edchechine/Shutterstock

Anyone who's had the misfortune of smelling expired milk knows that dairy products can spoil quickly. One week you pick up groceries from the store; the next, you're fishing around for that carton of cottage cheese that's migrated to the back of the fridge, hoping it's still safe to eat. Whether you bought a tub of creamy cottage cheese to add flavor to your eggs or as a secret ingredient for mac n cheese, you need to know how long it's really going to last.

Unfortunately, remembering the shelf life of dairy products can be tricky. While your milk and yogurt might turn sour after only a week, a stick of butter or block of hard cheese will typically last much longer. Powdered versions of some dairy products are among the foods that don't need an expiration date. What about products that are sealed? Can they last past their stamped expiration date if they haven't even been opened? Whether you're trying to stop wasting food or avoid illness, it's important to be able to answer these questions. In this case, cottage cheese will only last a few weeks at most and must be handled correctly to maintain quality and prevent food-borne illness.

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Health Department Guidelines For Cottage Cheese

Milk, cream and cottage cheese in refrigerator
Milk, cream and cottage cheese in refrigerator - iprachenko/Shutterstock

After you buy a tub of cottage cheese at the grocery store, you should eat it within two weeks, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). Once you've opened the container, it should be thrown out after one week. It's important to note that cottage cheese should be disposed of after two weeks from purchase, whether or not you've had a chance to open it. In any case, the container must stay refrigerated.

In addition to the HHS guidelines, you can use another method to detect whether your cottage cheese has gone bad: your nose. When a dairy item becomes spoiled, it's due to the growth of potentially harmful bacteria. When the bacteria colonize the dish, they emit a strong odor that will be off-putting. The scent will usually be sour or rancid and readily noticeable as soon as you open the container. This growth can also alter the texture of the dish, turning it extra slimy. So, if you notice any strong smells or unusual surfaces in your cottage cheese, it's best to get rid of it.

Read the original article on Daily Meal.