How long is jelly good for?

Elmira, NY(Zone 6a)

I have some herb jelly I made in 2008 that I forgot about in the back of my cabinet. Now someone would like it. I didn't realize how old it was. I looked at it, and it doesn't look moldy. I opened a jar and it still smells kind of like vinegar. I made this using the herb wine jelly from the Ball book. Do you think it is okay? I can make a new batch if not. Is there any risk with three year old jelly?

Waddy, KY

If it was/is still sealed and there's no off smell etc. I think it would be fine. I've had some jam at the back of a shelf 9 years old and it was fine. It'd darkened a bit but the taste was still the same.

As a kid it was not uncommon for us, if a jar of jam had mold on it, to skim down about an inch and go ahead and eat it. Maybe not good practice but none of us ever got sick.

Elmira, NY(Zone 6a)

Yeah, we used to do that too, with jam my mom made and covered with paraffin. Sometimes the paraffin would not stick and the stuff would get moldy underneath. Thing is, a friend wants this. I want to be sure it is safe to give to her.

So.App.Mtns., United States(Zone 5b)

I've eaten my own jelly that was 5 years old, with no problems.

Elmira, NY(Zone 6a)

Great! I'd rather not remake this stuff.

SE Houston (Hobby), TX(Zone 9a)

About the only thing I've ever had a problem with eating was some cheese that I cut the mold off of. I learned the mold creates a hallucinogenic effect. That explains the lightheadedness and the elephants in the room!

So.App.Mtns., United States(Zone 5b)

Some cheese molds aren't meant to be eaten. Discomfort from strongly ripened cheese is usually caused by the casein proteins which break down to amino acids; in turn amino acids can break down into amines (the small molecules that serve as chemical signals to the brain).

Cheese types like Cheddar, blue, Swiss and Dutch-Style cheese contain high volumes of histamines and tyramines, which can cause high blood pressure, headaches and even rashes to people sensitive to them.

SE Houston (Hobby), TX(Zone 9a)

Thanks, Darius.

I believe I've had that headache from eating the rind from Brie cheese. Now I know to trim it ALL off.

St. Helens, OR(Zone 8b)

Properly processed jams and jellies do not become "unsafe" over time. They were safe going in and safe coming out, regardless of how long it's been, as long as the seal retains its integrity.

What happens over time is color change (browning in certain jams) and perhaps a fading of flavor - or in an herbal jelly, if the herbs haven't been strained out, there may be some bitterness. But those are quality issues, not safety issues.

Moldy product should be discarded because the mold filaments extend invisibly beyond what you see and the mold has been associated with carcinogens. (No absolute proof yet, but a correlation). Don't just scrape off the mold.

I'm referring to jams and jellies, not hard cheeses. Those are a different thing.


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