Ranch dressing is one of those condiments with endless uses. Not only is it a perfect salad dressing, but ranch is also great in pasta salad, serves as an excellent dip for veggies, and can even add extra flavor to burgers. However, if you open a large bottle of ranch and can't use it all immediately, how long can you expect it to last? When properly stored in the refrigerator, creamy salad dressings like ranch can last about two months.
Of course, proper storage is crucial. Ranch should be refrigerated after opening because it contains perishable ingredients like buttermilk, which has a high moisture content and is prone to spoilage. Since perishable ingredients can become unsafe to eat after two hours at room temperature, refrigerating this dressing is essential to keep it fresh. Additionally, keep in mind that homemade ranch may have a shorter shelf life than store-bought varieties, as it doesn't contain preservatives.
Homemade Ranch Dressing Expires More Quickly
Assuming you buy a bottle of ranch from the store, the two-month shelf life is accurate. However, the shelf life shortens for most homemade ranch recipes. This is because, without any preservatives, an ingredient like fresh buttermilk won't last more than a couple of weeks. To be safe, most homemade ranch recipes recommend keeping it in the refrigerator for up to two weeks, but keep in mind that the shelf life could be even shorter if you make the dressing with Greek yogurt. Greek yogurt can last up to two weeks in the fridge, but it's advisable to check its quality after about one week to ensure it's still good to eat.
If you're looking for uses for your ranch dressing beyond the obvious, try drizzling it over herb-roasted potatoes or cauliflower, or even using it as part of a chicken, bacon, and ranch dip.
How To Tell If Ranch Dressing Has Gone Bad
It's always smart to write the opening date on the side of a bottle for anything that might spend a couple of weeks in your refrigerator. But if you can't remember when you opened that bottle of ranch, there are a few ways to test if your food has gone bad: texture, smell, and taste. If the texture changes and the ranch starts to separate, that's a sure sign it's too old. Additionally, your nose is a helpful tool here. Ranch normally has a pleasant smell, so if it develops any kind of foul odor, it's likely past its prime.
If you can't determine its quality from its texture or smell, you can also taste the dressing to see if it still tastes high quality. Of course, try just a tiny amount to ensure you're not consuming too much if it has gone bad.
Read the original article on Daily Meal.