You can't beat the convenience of a one-pot meal like curry! However you like, curries can be customized, allowing you to create meals tailored to your taste. But besides that, there are some key points associated with curry powder and paste.
To answer one of the lingering questions, does curry paste go bad? Yes, like everything else, it is also susceptible to spoilage. Whenever you open the jar of Thai curry paste, it eventually goes bad, so try to use it within a month and refrigerate immediately. The paste will keep fresh for 3 to 4 weeks in the fridge, but the flavors start to deteriorate after that timeframe. On the other hand, Thai curry paste left unopened for at least three years will not spoil.
Even so, this short answer falls woefully short of satisfying your curiosity. Thailand's curry paste needs to be better understood, and some of the risks could accelerate deterioration. Besides that, there can be differences between Thai curry pastes made from green, red, yellow, and other colors.
Therefore, this piece explores the complexities of curry paste. Having a passion for good food, the content of this post will be of interest to you.
Curry paste, what exactly is it?
Curry pastes, which are highly flavorful in Thai or Indian cuisine, are extremely popular. Cooking curry involves simmering chilies, spices, and aromatics with coconut milk or broth.
There are several types of curry pastes, which are structured based on color, for instance:
- The green curry paste derived its color from fresh green chiles, such as serrano. These pastes are usually the hottest.
- A red curry paste is made of dried red chili peppers; they are also spicy but less than green pastes.
- Yellow curry paste contains turmeric - an Indian curry powder with a mild spice level - as the primary coloring agent.
In general, curry refers to spicy, sauce-based dishes originating from India, Thailand, and many other Southeast Asian countries.
Spices are the foundation of curry, but their exact proportions are not known. There is no one-size-fits-all curry. You will fill your meals with rich, multi-layered flavors right away. It is possible to use curry paste or curry powder at home to make it faster.
Does curry paste go bad?
As a rule of thumb, curry paste has a long shelf life, but if not handled correctly, it can go bad. The first step toward spoilage is staleness, which will lead to the loss of flavor.
Due to the moisture present in curry paste, mold can grow on the paste, rendering it completely unsanitary. As spoilage continues, mold forms. If you keep it refrigerated, you might have to wait months to reach that point.
Canned and jarred foods benefit greatly from temperature and humidity-controlled drawers in refrigerators. When curry paste is in your refrigerator, you can keep it in this drawer. If you preserve the curry paste for a bit longer, you may be able to reuse it before it grows mold or begins to smell bad.
Therefore, it is unwise to use curry paste once its taste or color has changed. Even though you are careful, food poisoning is still possible.
What if I use expired curry paste?
The consensus is to avoid using expired ingredients. It's pretty accurate. However, it isn't the case with all products.
If we take curry paste as an example, there may be some exceptions. Unlike other food products, curry paste is still edible after expiration. It is essential to be aware of certain things to avoid wasting this food product.
To begin with, discard the expired curry paste if you found it open sooner than it was supposed to be used. After all, the flavor and taste may have diminished with time.
Aside from that, without proper storage, bacteria may grow under the lid. To prevent food poisoning, throw away any foods that have been breached before the expiration date.
In contrast, cooking is still possible with expired tub paste that has not lost its seal. In this case, the flavor and taste are not affected.
To stay safe, refrain from using expired products, whether curry paste is involved. Taking this measure will keep you healthy.
Can curry paste be stored long-term?
What is the shelf life of these curry paste jars? Curry paste will keep for approximately 3 years or longer in ideal conditions. How long it lasts depends on the manufacturer and, obviously, your usage of the curry paste.
Generally, the shelf life of curry paste is impacted depending on whether you have opened it or not. We must examine the various states and conditions under which a curry paste will last to understand better.
It helps to have a date stamp on curry to keep tabs on the freshness (because, well, flavor depends on freshness), but you could, in a sense, use the paste beyond its expiration date.
1 For the sealed, unopened jar
For two years, unopened curry paste will keep in a cool, dry place, like a kitchen cabinet or a cupboard. Refrigerate it once opened, and it will keep up to three months. Each bottle is stamped with its best by date.
As long as the tub or jar remains not opened, they should be okay. A possible explanation is the preservation of curry paste. In the end, what matters most is that the goods remain at the right temperature.
The storage condition dramatically affects the shelf life of a product. Similarly, keeping it in a low-humidity environment is crucial.
By storing it this way, you are guaranteed long shelf life for your curry paste. On the other hand, despite not being opened, the shelf life of food is drastically reduced in high humidity conditions.
2 When opened, how long does curry paste last?
The longevity of Thai curry paste depends on the brand and ingredients used. Many types of curry paste available remain fresh for up to four weeks after opening. Curry paste undergoes rapid deterioration after unsealing.
The flavor of this paste persists for over four weeks before it diminishes. But once past the expiration date, it will become evident that unsealed tubs no longer taste the same. It goes from tasty to bland, as if the flavor has wholly subsided. Some might, however, find it increasingly acidic or unappetizing.
The restriction is designed for consumers' safety, as it usually is. A lot of moisture is present in curry paste, which is problematic. Given its high moisture content, you should refrigerate curry paste shortly after opening to keep food bacteria from forming.
I typically transfer the paste into a glass container before storing it in the fridge as a further step. Since glass won't leach into the paste, the taste will not be affected.
As a trial run, I've been experimenting with the curry paste that I already used for cooking a month ago, and it's still tasty. It seems to have stayed fresh since it was refrigerated.
How to store curry paste properly
With proper storage, canned foods will keep for a long time. It's a widely accepted belief; however, its validity is heavily dependent on the manufacturer responsible for sealing the bottle.
The long-term storage of curry paste in a warm, humid environment may not yield the desired results. Ideally, keep the curry paste in a cool, dry place free from moisture and heat, preferably in a cupboard. If you breach the container, refrigeration is imperative to preserve its freshness.
Two things can happen if you store unopened jars long-term.
- Over time, the metal on the jars may become corroded. The presence of humidity encourages rust.
- Popping causes pressure loss and compromises the airtight seal. If you intend to consume an old jar of Thai curry, it should be intact before consumption.
Storing in the refrigerator
Transfer the curry paste to a glass jar or BPA-free plastic container if there are any leftovers. Put a spoon to work, mix the paste well, flatten it out, and lay a cling wrap on top. So, there won't be any air bubbles, and the top surface area gets reduced.
The less exposure to air, the longer the product will last (decreased risk of oxidation and mold). Put the lid on and close it tightly. Storage in this manner is ideal if you intend to keep the paste for 3-5 days.
Note:In my experience, if you intend to refrigerate the paste for several weeks, it is best to drizzle a little oil on top before putting the lid on. About ½ to 1 cm of vegetable oil is enough to coat the entire surface (thereby creating a layer of insulation), keeping the paste safe from oxidation.
Storing in the freezer
To successfully freeze curry paste, you need to take a few measures. I prefer to do it in batches when it comes to freezing food. If you double or triple the recipe, you will have enough curry pastes or sauces, so you can prepare Asian food whenever you want.
For an easy way to save paste, the trick is to divide it into individual servings. The following are two easy and practical ways of freezing curry paste.
1 Ice cube tray
There is a possibility that curry may stain plastic, so before scooping it up, gently spray your ice cube tray with oil or wipe the surfaces of your tray lightly with oil. This method will keep the trays stain-free and facilitate the removal of frozen paste.
Spread the paste on the trays and stick them in the freezer for 2-3 hours (at least). Pop them out upon freezing the cubes and transfer them to a Ziptop bag or freezer-friendly container. As needed, take one cube at a time. If frozen separately, the cubes will not adhere together.
2 Plastic Wrap
Let me show you another option if ice cube trays aren't available. Lay a piece of plastic wrap flat on your work surface. Prepare individual portions of curry paste and divide them into small dabs on the plastic wrap (spaced approximately 5 cm apart).
Place another plastic wrap on top of the curry paste afterward. Using your fingers, press down around the edges of each ball and cut between each portion using scissors.
After cutting these out, wrap the curry paste in plastic to prevent leakage. By casing all your curry paste balls separately, you can store them in freezer-safe bags and pop them in the freezer.
3 Zipper bag
To store curry pastes, I pack them into zippered freezer bags. Put the curry paste inside a heavy-duty container designed for the freezer so it will not pick up freezer odors easily.
Flatten the Ziploc bag uniformly, then zip it up. Expel as much air as you can from the bag before sealing. Divide them with a ruler to form "sections" that make it easier to remove portions.
How to thaw frozen curry paste in 3 ways
Prepare the frozen paste as your recipe calls for, drizzle it with oil, and allow it to defrost during the cooking process. Ensure the temperature is low enough to prevent the aromatics from burning.
If you plan on preparing frozen cubes or spheres, defrost them the night before.
Allow it to thaw at room temperature; you should only have to wait one or two hours for it to unfreeze.
Does curry paste need to be refrigerated?
Refrigeration has proven to be very useful in many families. In addition to extending the shelf-life of our foods, it guarantees they won't spoil soon after opening. We refrigerate food in several ways to ensure that flavor and taste are maintained.
In light of this, would it be sensible to ask whether it is necessary to refrigerate curry paste? If so, how long should it be refrigerated?
A refrigeration system keeps other foods fresh in a similar way. After opening a jar of curry paste, you don't need to use it immediately; instead, store it in the refrigerator.
Keeping the curry paste refrigerated will preserve the flavor, and you will prevent the bacteria from flourishing since heat and moisture can exacerbate their growth.
As time goes on, the flavor gradually fades away. You can extend its shelf life by refrigerating opened curry paste for up to one month. It is best only to reuse the curry paste within this time frame.
If curry paste goes bad, how can you tell?
Whether something is bad or not can be determined from many perspectives. A wide range of determinants are in play most of the time, and various factors impact them.
Nonetheless, this is not the topic we are exploring here; instead, we will discuss the warning signs that your curry paste is spoiled.
You can use several signs to determine if curry paste has gone bad.
1 The taste of the curry paste is off
A bad curry paste tends to have this quality. This off-taste contradicts the primary purpose of the paste, which is to enhance the flavor of foods, so when the taste has faded, the paste has lost its value. Using curry paste again would be wasteful.
2 Having a dull taste
A bland curry paste will eventually taste flat. In time, it turns sour and gives off a bitter taste. In this case, find a new jar or tub.
3 Too much moisture
Curry comes with a bit of moisture, which is understandable. However, this moisture is only sufficient to keep the contents moist. Any time your curry paste starts releasing too much liquid, it's time for you to replace it.
Overall, the factors listed above indicate that the paste is no longer safe. If you see a combination of these signs, your curry paste probably isn't up to snuff.
Besides the obvious signs that it is bad, there might also be other signs to look for. If you find your curry exhibits unusual characteristics, you should avoid it without hesitation.
It is imperative to refrigerate the container as soon as the lid is opened and the airtight seal is broken. Although you can keep the food in the refrigerator for months, the flavor gradually diminishes after two to three weeks.
When storing it, glass works best; however, BPA-free plastic isn't entirely harmful. If the brand comes in a tub encased in plastic, you can keep it by scooping the paste into a tightly fitting glass jar with a lid, and it will last longer in the fridge.
Following is a quick recap of all the information presented in this post:
- Thai curry paste remains fresh for several years when unopened
- Once opened, the shelf life of curry paste is between two and four weeks
- Once expired, curry paste starts releasing too much liquid as it spoils
- You should store Thai curry paste in glass jars.
How to store curry paste to extend shelf life (How to Guide)
Storing in the Fridge:
- Put a spoon to work, mix the paste well, flatten it out, and lay a cling wrap on top. So, there won’t be any air bubbles, and the top surface area gets reduced.
- Put a date label before storing in the fridge.
Storing in the Freezer:
a.) Using the Ice Cube Tray Method:
- Before scooping up, gently spray some oil or wipe the surfaces on the ice cube tray lightly with oil. This method will keep the trays stain-free and facilitate the removal of frozen paste.
- Spread the paste on the trays and stick them in the freezer for 2-3 hours (at least).
- Pop them out upon freezing the cubes and transfer them to a Ziptop bag or freezer-friendly container. Put a date label and store in the freezer.
- As needed, take one cube at a time. If frozen separately, the cubes will not adhere together.
B.) Using the plastic Wrap Method:
- Lay a piece of plastic wrap flat on your work surface.
- Prepare individual portions of curry paste and divide them into small dabs on the plastic wrap (spaced approximately 5 cm apart).
- After cutting these out, wrap the curry paste in plastic to prevent leakage. By casing all your curry paste balls separately, you can store them in freezer-safe bags and pop them in the freezer.
- Put a date label and store in the freezer.
c.) If Using Ziploc Bag
- Put the curry paste inside a heavy-duty container designed for the freezer so it will not pick up freezer odors easily.
- Flatten the Ziploc bag uniformly, then zip it up. Expel as much air as you can from the bag before sealing.
- Divide them with a ruler to form “sections” that make it easier to remove portions.
- Put a date label and store in the freezer.