Some natural foods aficionados believe that yogurt can stay safe at room temperature for several hours. Although this may be true, how long can yogurt sit out exactly? You should know the answer so you don’t end up eating a bad yogurt, which can be dangerous to your health.
I love eating yogurt but sometimes I forget to return the leftovers back in the refrigerator after opening it. One would reckon that since this is a dairy product, it can go bad quickly. Here are things you should know to help you figure out how long you can allow your yogurt to sit out without spoiling.
What Is Yogurt?
Yogurt is a milk made from the [bacterial fermentation] () of milk. During the lactic fermentation, lactose is converted into simple sugars and then into lactic acid. The development of lactic acid provides the acidity which produces the thick texture of yogurt.
If you like to make your own homemade yogurt, watch this video.
Since yogurt technically comes from milk, it is rich in protein and other milk nutrients, such as magnesium, potassium, and vitamin B12. If you’re lactose intolerant, yogurt can be your helpline to meet your daily needs of calcium. The probiotics found in yogurt can offer several health benefits, such as healthy digestion, reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes, and boost the immunity system.
So, How Long Can Yogurt Sit Out?
According to FoodSafety.gov, yogurt shouldn’t remain at room temperature over two hours. This rule also applies to the rest of dairy products, like milk, cream, and evaporated milk. If your yogurt sits out above 40 degrees Fahrenheit for more than two hours, it’s advisable to discard it.
Now, if the temperature of your home is more than 90 degrees Fahrenheit, yogurt can sit out no more than one hour. On the contrary, food science expert Jeff Potter believes that yogurt can be left outside the refrigerator for eight hours because the temperature where the microorganisms grow isn’t quite alright. The only problem that you have to deal is the warm taste which can be unpalatable for some people.
The Risks Of Eating Unrefrigerated Yogurt
Leaving your yogurt at room temperature for too long may harbor microbial contamination which can lead to food poisoning. You can tell that your yogurt has been contaminated with bad bacteria if you see molds growing on the surface. Several symptoms of yogurt-related food poisoning include diarrhea, abdominal cramps, and vomiting.
The signs of food poisoning may manifest a few hours after consumption. The symptoms may start with the hardness of breathing and abdominal discomfort. The first thing that you should do when you feel any symptoms of food poisoning is to cleanse the stomach by drinking 3-4 glasses of water.
Signs That Your Yogurt Has Gone Bad
To check the signs of yogurt spoilage, you can rely on your senses. We know that yogurt tastes naturally sour but if the sourness is already very strong, then chances are your yogurt has gone bad. Any bad smell can be assumed as a manifestation of product spoilage.
Now, watch the yogurt closely. If you see an increased volume of liquid and some lump sediments at the bottom of the container, then they indicate the first signs of spoilage. You can tell that your yogurt has completely gone bad if you see the formation of mold on the surface. If you see any of these signs, it’s best that you discard the yogurt right away.
Proper Storage Of Yogurt
Unopened yogurt can last in the refrigerator 2-3 weeks or in the freezer for 1-2 months. Once opened, you can store it back in the refrigerator for seven days or in the freezer for one month. To store your already opened yogurt properly, reseal it with the foil or keep it tightly closed in a separate container.
The cover will keep the moisture and other contaminants out from your yogurt keeping it fresh longer. Although freezing your yogurt will keep its taste for several months, the texture may become watery when thawed. If you don’t like to taste the watery texture, you can stir it with other ingredients in a recipe or smoothie.
After reading the whole article, you must have figured out by now how long can yogurt sit out. Although some people say not more than eight hours, you shouldn’t take chances and stick to the basic rule of not more than 1-2 hours. The dangers of eating a spoiled yogurt may pose serious risks that are too high to be ignored so make sure you refrigerate your yogurt at all times.
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