Pesto can have a variety of uses, which makes the pasty sauce very popular. It is particularly well-known as a classic sauce for pasta, but pesto, for example, is also good on bread. The best seller is Pesto Genovese.
Pesto is mostly sold in jars – and therein lies a problem. A problem that also occurs when you make large quantities of fresh pesto yourself with seasonal ingredients – for example wild garlic pesto. Because often the whole pesto is not needed and then the burning question arises: How long does the pesto keep?
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How long does pesto keep?
Store-bought opened pesto can be stored in the refrigerator for 3-4 weeks. Homemade pesto also keeps in the fridge for 4 weeks. A thin layer of olive oil helps to keep it longer.
So far the rules of thumb.
But when it comes to the shelf life of pesto, general answers are never entirely accurate. Because in order to be able to determine the exact shelf life of pesto, several factors have to be taken into account.
We shall now take a closer look at these below. At the end of the article you will also learn some tricks to make pesto last longer.
How long does homemade pesto last?
Homemade pesto made from fresh ingredients is a highlight, but it also has a downside. Since the germs cannot be killed like with mass production, it does not keep as long as store-bought pesto. After production, you should immediately put it in the fridge – this is the best way to ensure the pesto’s shelf life.
Homemade pesto should keep for up to four weeks this way. A trick: Once you’ve opened the can – or jar – of pesto, you can add a bit of olive oil. This keeps the pesto a few days longer.
How long does an opened, purchased pesto last?
Once a purchased pesto is opened, it should definitely be refrigerated. Even then, you should use it up early, because it only lasts for about three to four days.
However, you can also use the olive oil trick here. If you pour enough oil into the jar to completely cover the pesto, it should keep for up to three weeks.
But: Bought pesto was very noticeable in the past. Ökotest recently gave half of the tested pesto a very bad rating.
More than half of the 20 basil pestos tested are so contaminated that they rattle through the quality test. Nine get the grade “poor”, three with “unsatisfactory”.
If germs are the problem, does cooked pesto have a longer shelf life?
How long does cooked pesto last?
Canning is an extremely effective way to preserve pesto over a long period of time. In this way, homemade pesto can be preserved for up to a year – at least if you store it in a cool place.
When boiling, various ingredients such as olive oil and basil can be added. A dash of lemon juice also makes sense because of the pesto shelf life.
Which brings us to the subject of storage. Because the shelf life of pesto depends at most on the place where it is stored.
How do you store pesto?
To store ambient pesto purchased from the grocery store or deli, it should be kept at room temperature. So that the pesto does not lose quality, it should be stored in a cool and shady place – for example a storage cellar.
Once you’ve opened the pesto, the fridge is the best place to store the pesto. The same goes for chilled and homemade pesto.
How long does pesto keep unrefrigerated?
During production, pesto is heated up to 90 degrees. This kills some germs, which significantly extends the shelf life. Therefore, in most cases, pesto does not need to be stored in the refrigerator while it is still unopened.
Jars of pesto made using this classic manufacturing process can usually be kept for up to 18 months during which it will retain good quality.
The exact pesto shelf life is also on the glass. In most cases, however, the date stated on it can be exceeded by at least a few weeks.
Homemade pesto, on the other hand, should be kept cool all the time, otherwise it will only keep for a few days and lose quality even faster.
How do you know that the quality is going downhill? We’ll look at that in the next sections.
How do you recognize bad, expired pesto?
There are a few signs you can use to tell if pesto has gone bad. The most obvious thing is when you can spot mold. You should not only look at the surface, but also the inside of the container.
Another classic: If you recognize an unpleasant or even foul smell, then you can safely dispose of the pesto.
The color also provides information about the shelf life of the pesto. For example, if the basil leaves have turned brown with green pesto, then the pesto is no longer good.
Otherwise you should above all trust your senses. Pesto is a food that spoils quickly. It is therefore not advisable to experiment – but there is nothing to be said against trying small quantities.
So that it doesn’t get that far, you’ll now get tips for a longer pesto shelf life. You can implement most of them in no time.
How can you preserve pesto?
If you want to preserve pesto, you can use a trick with olive oil. To do this, simply pour enough olive oil into the jar or container to completely cover the pesto.
In order to preserve the pesto, you can also choose to boil it down.
If you freeze pesto, you can also preserve it. When you take it out, you should let the pesto thaw in the fridge for at least 24 hours.
Tip: Green pesto loses its green color when frozen – unless you follow this simple trick when freezing pesto.
Conclusion: How long does pesto keep?
Purchased pesto usually has a long shelf life, as most of the germs are killed during production. However, it becomes problematic after opening, because then the pesto has to be put in the fridge immediately.
Even then, however, it does not keep for long, which also applies to most homemade pesto. With a few tricks, however, the pesto shelf life can be significantly extended. Therefore, you should definitely consider a few factors if you want to store pesto.