Crisco shortening has become a household name for cooking or baking. A great alternative to butter, this all-vegetable shortening makes pies, cakes, cookies, donuts, and other baked goods more consistent and delectable. They also make the perfect choice for vegans and people trying to avoid fat.
It is a common scenario when cooking or baking to have a leftover shortening that you can still use for your next dish. But the question is, how long can you store an opened Crisco? Can you freeze it for your next cooking or baking session? (Read Can You Freeze Chicken Salad)
Crisco Shortening Products
For those who aren’t familiar with Crisco, they have two different types of shortening:
Crisco All-Vegetable Shortening
Available in 1 lb., 3 lbs., and 6 lbs. can, this classic canned shortening is best used for baking and frying more significant portions of pastries or food.
Crisco Shortening Sticks
The Crisco shortening sticks are your best if the canned version is too much for you. They come in 6.7 oz packet/stick and 20 oz packet/stick.
Does Crisco Shortening Go Bad?
First and foremost, knowing if a Crisco goes terrible is essential. Like other baking ingredients, Crisco all-vegetable shortening spoils too. An unopened Crisco can last up to a year or two on your pantry shelf before it becomes rancid. It may not grow mold inside the sticks or can, but the product will already lose its quality and might not be as good when used.
But if you have an already opened Crisco, it’s shelf life can last up to six months for the Crisco sticks and one year for the Crisco cans.
Signs of an Expired Crisco
Here are some tell-tale signs to know that your Crisco has already gone bad:
It doesn’t smell good
One of the most common indications that your Crisco is already bad is its foul smell. An expired shortening’s smell varies from smelling like paint, detergent, or nail polish remover. Once you notice that the scent of your leftover Crisco is already off, it’s time to throw it away.
There is a change in color
A Crisco that has turned yellow or a few shades darker with a foul smell means it’s already expired. However, there is also a possibility that it has only oxidized when not properly sealed after use. If you think your shortening is still good, you can do the same process with butter to scrape off the oxidized surface and still use the rest.
It has grown molds
If you notice that your shortening is already growing molds, don’t even try to scrape it and use the remaining parts. Proceed to throw it away!
It already doesn’t taste good
One surefire way to know if a Crisco is already bad is to taste it. We might not recommend making a taste test since it can make your tummy feel sick, but an already bad taste means it’s already expired.
Can You Refrigerate Crisco?
Yes, you can refrigerate Crisco, but not necessary.
As stated on Crisco’s website, they recommend storing Crisco in your pantries since shortening stays safe at room temperature. It also stays safe at room temperature even after you open it. Just note that shortenings are fat-based products; hence, they benefit from cold temperatures like butter. (Read Can You Freeze Soda)
Reminders When You Refrigerate Crisco Shortening
There are some things you need to keep in mind if you store a leftover Crisco:
- Make sure you store your Crisco in a cool and dry place. Avoid leaving it where it is exposed to direct sunlight or near any sources of heat.
- Whether it’s canned or sticks, keep them tightly sealed and well-wrapped after using.
- If you have to use the shortening, take it out of the fridge for at least 30 minutes to return to room temperature before using it again.
- Remember that keeping a Crisco in the fridge can make its consistency firm, so you might have difficulty achieving that flaky pie crust once refrigerated.
- Make sure you use a clean spoon to scoop the shortening and never double dip to avoid contaminating the Crisco.
Can You Freeze Crisco?
Yes, you can freeze Crisco shortening sticks and Crisco shortening cans. It is the best way to extend the shelf life of your Crisco compared to just storing it in the fridge. In this way, you can keep an opened shortening for longer and use it for later.
Reminders When Freezing Crisco
Take note of these reminders if you plan to freeze Crisco to keep it for longer:
Place the leftover Crisco in a freezer bag
Make sure to keep your leftover shortening in its original packaging. If you will freeze them, store them in a freezer bag for the best protection.
Portion it before you freeze it
The best way to store your shortening is to freeze it in smaller portions so you will only take out enough when needed without thawing out the whole leftover shortening.
Use ice cube trays
You can use an ice tray if you plan to use shortening in the future in small amounts. After freezing it overnight, you can then store it in freezer bags.
You can store more significant portions directly in a freezer bag or airtight containers.
Label your containers
Labeling your freezer bags or containers with date, weight, and contents can help you identify which you should use for your next dish. It will also help you remember which of the leftovers will expire faster than the other portioned frozen shortening.
Pros of Freezing Shortening
- Freezing shortening helps it last longer, especially if you plan to use it in your following baked goods
- Keeping it in the freezer can help prevent the growth of bacteria and mold
- The cold temperature can help keep the shortening from separating
Cons of Freezing Shortening
- Extreme cold temperatures can make the shortening prone to freezer burn
- Once it gets freezer burnt, it can alter the texture and taste of the shortening
- Repeated freezing and thawing of the leftovers can cause separation and alteration in flavor
How Do You Thaw a Frozen Crisco?
You can quickly thaw it by popping it on a plate and letting it defrost itself. Thaw it inside a refrigerator than on your kitchen counter for best results. You can go for the latter if you need to thaw the shortening quicker.
Can You Refreeze a Thawed Crisco?
Yes, you can refreeze a thawed Crisco, but we don’t recommend it. An already defrosted shortening is already prone to spoilage and can even be freezer burnt, making you feel sick once consumed. This is why it’s recommended to portion out the leftover shortening before freezing it, so you will only thaw what is needed rather than softening the whole leftover.
Frequently Asked Questions
Still got questions about Crisco and other related matters? This might help:
How long does Crisco last?
An unopened Crisco can last for about a year or two. Once opened, a canned Crisco can last for a year, and a stick of Crisco can last for about six months as long as stored correctly.
Can you freeze lard?
Yes, you can freeze lard. You can freeze it in the same way as shortening.
Can you freeze pastry made with shortening?
Yes, it is possible to freeze a pastry made with shortening. However, it might lose some of its flakiness once frozen. (Read Can You Freeze Pastrami)
How long does shortening last in a freezer?
A frozen Crisco can last for up to a year in the freezer. You can still use it even after a year, but it might have already lost its moisture and consistency.
What are the indicators of a spoiled Crisco?
A change in smell, color, and taste are typical indicators of a spoiled Crisco. If these signs exist, it’s time to throw that shortening away.
Can Crisco make you sick?
Yes, taking a spoiled Crisco can make you sick. You may encounter digestive problems from rancid shortening. Rancid shortening can also grow bacteria that can lead to food poisoning.
What is the best alternative for Crisco?
The best alternatives are lard, butter, and margarine. There is also a butter-flavored shortening that you can use. Just note that there are adjustments you should follow if you choose to use a substitute for shortening.
Freezing Crisco is a great way to store it, but it’s not always recommended. Shortenings are best used when opened; using them way past their freshness can cause them to lose their consistency.
Always remember that there will always be pros and cons in using a frozen Crisco. While it might not be as great, it’s good to know that you can preserve an opened Crisco. As long as you follow the steps in properly storing it, no leftovers are going to waste!