I go through food phases. I’ll have a week where all I want to eat is zucchini. Zucchini pasta! Zucchini soup! Zucchini heated up in the microwave with oil and smothered with cheese!
And then I don’t want to have anything to do with zucchini for a while.
I hate wasting food. With vegetables like zucchini, there’s a high turnover in the fridge — I can usually use all of them up before I get sick of them.
But when I go through a jam and jelly phase, I usually end up with a couple of half-open jars in the fridge for a while — for months, even — before I go through another jam binge. Once I pass month three, though, I get very nervous about the jam I have in my fridge. It doesn’t seem like something with fruit in it should be able to keep that long.
So I asked the internet:
How long can I store open containers of jams and jellies in the fridge without dying from some terrible fruit mold?
According to here:
Answers vary from 1 to 12 months. Why so much variation? The shelf life of the product is affected by many factors including these: the type of fruit, the amount of sugar and preservatives, whether it is a homemade or a commercial product, and how the product is handled by the consumer.
The Smuckers Consumers Relations phone message gives the following statistics: For unopened jars, consult the “best if used by” date. For opened jars: traditional and low sugar: 12 months; Simply Fruit and Sugar-free: 9 months; apple butter: 15 months. Note that these figures are a bit more generous than those in our chart at http://shelflifeadvice.com/content/jelly-jam-and-preserves. However, the message is that store-bought jelly, jams, and preserves are likely to last several months if properly handled in the home.
It’s a good idea to put a label on the product indicating the date it was opened, and, before consuming, to examine it carefully for evidence of deterioration, especially mold. The entire jar must be discarded if there is any evidence of mold. Mold spores that can cause serious illness can spread quickly and easily through the entire jar.
Sugar is amazing.