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๐Ÿค” Does Cream Of Tartar Go Bad? ๐Ÿค” Here’s The BEST FAQ For Answers!

Have you ever wondered does cream of tartar go bad? If you have, then you are not the only one. Here we have the best FAQ to help answer your questions.

If you’re fond of baking, then it’s highly likely that you have some cream of tartar in your kitchen.

You may have bought a can of cream of tartar about a year ago to use in a recipe.

And since you only need a teaspoon or two of this at a time, you may also have put the rest away.

Now that you need cream of tartar for another recipe, you remember that you bought a can of it a year ago and wonder, does cream of tartar go bad?

This question is not as rare as you may believe it is since people buy this ingredient for one use and then forget it exists until they need it again a few months down the line.

With the can in your hand, you ask, can you safely use your old stock of cream of tartar, or should you buy a new can?

Does cream of tartar expire?

And if it does, can I use expired cream of tartar?

To help you better understand this oft-neglected ingredient, here is some useful information about the cream of tartar and a list of questions with answers that will remove any doubts you may have about this white powder.

Let’s get started!

Table Of Contents

Interesting facts about cream of tartar

Contrary to its name, cream of tartar isn’t a cream but rather, it’s a fine, white powder with the scientific name potassium bitartrate.

It’s an ingredient regularly used by bakers to help stabilize the bubbles formed when egg whites are beaten.

It’s also considered an essential ingredient for creating airy meringues, fluffy chiffon cakes, and impressive soufflés.

While it is the go-to ingredient for making fabulous cakes and pastries with an airy texture, cream of tartar actually has lots of other uses.

For one, it’s used to give snickerdoodles a chewy texture and tangy flavor, and this is because cream of tartar inhibits the crystallization of sugar in this treat.

Also, if you run out of baking powder, it’s okay.

Simply mix a little baking soda and cream of tartar together, and you’ll have yourself some leavening!

Besides, it’s interesting to note that a little bit of this powder can be used to help vegetables retain their vibrant colors when they are boiled.

Oh, and by the way, it also has great cleaning properties when combined with acids like vinegar and lemon, like baking soda.

You can combine this powder with water and use it to give your aluminum and stainless steel pots a magnificent shine.

Do you want to remove those annoying silver streaks on your white plates caused by steak knives and other stainless steel utensils?

Place some cream of tartar on these streaks, add a few drops of water on top, and scrub until the lines disappear.

You can also add it to vinegar and use it as a scrub for porcelain tubs, sinks, and other ceramic surfaces.

Does cream of tartar have a taste?

Now, you may also be thinking about the taste of this powder and what flavor it imparts to the food you use it in.

So, to address the question of “what does cream of tartar taste like?” 

The answer is yes, it does.

When you taste a tiny bit of it, you’ll get an acidic and somewhat tinny flavor on your tongue.

When used in food, it gives these a slightly lemony flavor, somewhat akin to buttermilk.

Just be careful about using too much of it or trying more than just a dab when testing its acidic flavors.

Ingesting too much of this substance can lead to hyperkalemia, an ailment characterized by abnormally high levels of potassium in the blood.

So, when you accidentally add too much cream of tartar to a recipe, don’t worry.

There are a few ways to fix this.

First, you should try to remove as much of it as you possibly can.

If you can’t remove all of it safely, you can augment the recipe and double (or triple) the amount of the other ingredients to compensate for the amount of potassium bitartrate you added in.

If this isn’t doable, the best thing to do is to throw out the entire thing and start over again.

Some of the symptoms that are caused by hyperkalemia include palpitations, stomach cramps, and weakness in the muscles.

So, it’s best to start over when you botch a recipe than to risk it when you add in too much cream of tartar.

Does cream of tartar go bad?

So, going back to that recipe you’re thinking of trying and the can of cream of tartar that you found in your cupboard.

You’re seriously contemplating using it but aren’t sure if it’s safe to do so.

You don’t know how to tell if the cream of tartar has gone bad, so you check to see if the can has an expiration date.

Most cans and boxes of cream of tartar don’t have an expiration date, but they do carry a “best-if-used-by” date on them.

This means that if you want the full potency of the cream of tartar that you bought, you should use it on or before the date indicated on the package.

How long does cream of tartar last?

It has been said that you can still use your cream of tartar up to six months after its best date has passed.

If this indicated date on your can has already passed, you can still safely use the cream of tartar in it, but you can’t expect it to have the same effect it had when you first bought it.

Can I use expired cream of tartar?

Yes, you are free to use expired cream of tartar just ensure that you do a quick test to know if the ingredient is still effective for your baking recipes.

To do this; mix a pinch of baking soda and half a teaspoon of cream of tartar into a half cup of warm water. 

If you notice that this results in the formation of froth or bubbles, this means the ingredient is still usable.

Can you tell if cream of tartar has gone bad?

Since cream of tartar doesn’t have an expiration date and can be used even after the “best by” date has passed (albeit with lower efficacy), how do you know if your batch is safe to use or not?

Well, if you’re thinking of using that can of cream of tartar you find in your kitchen, there are a few telltale signs that should discourage you.

So, how can you tell if the cream of tartar has gone bad? Here are some indicators:

  • It has formed into clumps
  • There are specks of black mold in the powder
  • It has taken on a slightly yellowish tinge
  • The cream of tartar no longer has a slightly acidic smell

If you notice these characteristics in the cream of tartar that you’re holding, you should throw it out and buy a new batch.

How to store cream of tartar?

If you’re planning to extend the shelf life of cream of tartar as long as possible, then the best way to store the ingredient in your cupboard. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Place your cream of tartar in an airtight container. 
  2. Put it in your cupboard, preferably away from sunlight.

Tips on storing cream of tartar

Now, it may seem like a huge waste to throw out an entire can of relatively unused cream of tartar, but if it shows signs of spoilage, then it must go.

You can prevent such waste from happening if you simply follow a few simple rules for storing it properly.

  • Try to keep your opened container of cream of tartar sealed correctly in an airtight container.
  • Keep it away from moisture.
  • Store it in a cool, dry place, away from direct sunlight and any heat source.
  • When storing, keep in mind that the longest it can be kept safe for use is approximately four years, which is the average shelf life of cream of tartar as posted by most manufacturers for this item.

Does cream of tartar need to be refrigerated?

The answer is no, it doesn’t need to be refrigerated, but you can place it in your freezer to make it last longer.

Just make sure that when you’re planning on freezing cream of tartar, you place it in an airtight, moisture-proof container.

You can also place it in a freezer bag before chucking it into your ice chest.

A rule of thumb to remember when storing cream of tartar is to keep it the same way you would baking powder and baking soda.

Also, always check the condition of this substance before adding it to anything.

As indicated above, if you see any of the telltale signs of spoilage, throw it out and buy a new can.

The bottom line

From creating jiggly sponge cakes to a show-stopping baked Alaska to a sophisticated chocolate souffle—the cream of tartar helps make these recipes relatively easy!

Just be careful how much you use and when you use it.

And if you have any doubts about the freshness of your cream of tartar or even about whether or not it can bear a best-by date, it’s always best to play it safe.

Throw the old batch out, run to the grocery store (or order online), and just buy a new can of this functional powder before trying new recipes that call for its use.

How To Store Cream Of Tartar 🤔

How To Store Cream Of Tartar 🤔

Planning to extend the shelf life of cream of tartar as long as possible? Then store the ingredient in your cupboard!

Ingredients

  • Cream of tartar
  • Airtight container
  • Cupboard

Instructions

  1. Place your cream of tartar in an airtight container. 
  2. Put it in your cupboard, preferably away from sunlight.

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