How Long Does Lemon Curd Last?

How Long Does Lemon Curd Last?

What comes to mind when I mention the words “lemon curd” to you?

For me, I imagine spreading it thick on toast, English muffins or croissants. Or using it as a topping for pancakes, waffles or muffins. And, of course, who could forget about using lemon curd as a filling for pastries or cakes!

All right, all right, I’ll try to calm down now.

After all, if I don’t, we’ll never get around to learning how long lemon curd lasts.

For homemade lemon curd, you can expect to last (with proper refrigeration) about a week or so after you’ve made it with proper storage. For pre-packaged lemon curd, you’ll need to locate the “best by” date on the label. It should be good for up to a month after that date. Once refrigerated, pre-packaged lemon curd will last the same as homemade – about a week or so.

If you need the spread to last longer than this, freezing your lemon curd might be an option.

For now though, let get into it and learn everything we can about how long you can expect your curd to last and how to maximize the time you have.

How Long Will Homemade Lemon Curd Last?

Most recipes for homemade lemon curd will last a week or more in the fridge after you made them. Of course, that assumes you’ve stored it properly to maximize the shelf life. 

How Long Does Lemon Curd Last Unopened in a Jar?

Most commercially produced lemon curd undergoes extensive processing to ensure it remains stable and has a long shelf life.

The first thing you’ll want to do is locate the “best by” or “use by” date on the label. The chances are good that the date will be six months or a year into the future because of the way grocery stores stock their items.

That means you’ll have plenty of time to use it, although if you’re anything like us, a once opened lemon curd is a soon empty lemon curd. However, as long as you’ve not gone significantly past the “best by” date, the curd could last for another several months quite easily.

Of course, you won’t know for sure until you crack the jar open and check it, but assuming you don’t see any obvious problems like mold or strange odors, it should be just fine.

How Long Is Lemon Curd Good Once Opened?

Once you’ve refrigerated it, your lemon curd will last a week or more in the fridge and sometimes even longer.

For instance, Tiptree, a popular English manufacturer of lemon curd, states that their curd can last for up to a month once it’s been opened as long as it’s refrigerated.

Like most things, this can vary from one manufacturer to another, so refer to the labeling instructions just to be safe.

Does Lemon Curd Go Bad?

Yes, lemon curd can go bad.

However, there are several reasons lemon curd has a longer shelf life than many other types of spreads and it’s also fairly easy to tell when, or if, your curd has is no longer edible.

We’ll detail that information next.

How Do You Know if Lemon Curd Is Bad?

There are simple ways you can check to see if your lemon curd is bad.

Mostly, it involves taking a commonsense approach that relies on your eyes and nose. We’ll get to those tips in a second, but one important thing to keep in mind about lemon curd is its shelf life tends to be fairly forgiving because of the lemons themselves.

The reason is that lemon juice is a natural preservative because it contains citric acid. Citric acid is often added to pre-packaged foods, including lemon curd, to extend the shelf life even after it’s been opened.

The good news is that you won’t need to add citric acid (or other preservatives) to your homemade lemon curd since lemon juice itself does the job. It contains high amounts of citric acid naturally, about 7 to 10% on average, which makes it (along with limes) the fruit with the highest amounts of it.

That’s great news, of course, but despite the presence of citric acid, both homemade and pre-packaged lemon curd have other ingredients that can cause it to go bad. Perhaps the one that causes the most concern is egg yolks.

So whether you’ve made a batch yourself or cracked open a jar from your favorite brand, here’s some simple ways to check and see if your lemon curd is still edible.

1. Examine It for Mold or Strange Texture

If you see any mold on the surface of your lemon curd, don’t try to eat around it – throw it out. Likewise, if the texture seems off, either lumpy or runny, it’s also a good sign your curd has gone bad.

2. Take a Whiff

There’s not too much to say about this except that if you smell anything “off” (such as sourness, etc.) about the curd, do not eat it.

If, after the first two steps, things look to be okay, it’s still a good idea to take one final precaution before digging in.

3. Try a Small Taste

If you’re confident enough to do this, the chances are pretty good the lemon curd is safe to eat.

However, if after tasting, you experience any off-putting flavors like extreme sourness or bitterness, then it’s a good idea to throw it out.

Lastly, if your lemon curd is homemade, you might encounter a metallic taste. Most often, this is caused by  a reaction between egg yolks and lemons with the metal of a double boiler. While it’s not harmful, it’s not going to taste very good either, so the chances are good you’ll want to dispose of it as well.

After all, you can always make another batch or buy another jar from the store!

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