Cream of wheat is a necessity for any household. Due to its versatile taste, it can be topped with a variety of little treats to make an excellent breakfast porridge to hold you over until lunch. But if you buy cream of wheat in bulk, it can start to get dicey with the expiration dates.
Cream of wheats shelf life is very long, but it still does go bad.
What is Cream of Wheats Shelf Life?
Cream of wheat has an extraordinarily long shelf life, like most dry grains do. It all depends on if you would like to store it cooked, unopened, refrigerated, or frozen. It is helpful to note that the best by date on the cream of wheat packages and bottles is not the same thing as an expiration date.
Unopened cream of wheat left in a cool, high place on the pantry shouldn’t go bad until about eight months. This long shelf life can be shortened if it gets too hot, or if you place it on the bottom due to cross contamination. Letting something drip on cream of wheat is not recommended and can severely shorten the shelf life of the porridge.
An opened cream of wheat package has a shortened life span due to oxygen presence in the package, but still has a hearty shelf life of about 6 months. An opened cream of wheat package should also be stored around the top of the pantry due to cross contamination. If you’re worried about the cream of wheat being expired, smell the cream of wheat and inspect for any signs of mold.
What About Cooked Cream of Wheat?
Cooked cream of wheat is different due to the risk of bacteria associated with storing previously cooked food. When stored properly, cream of wheat still has an impressive shelf life when compared to other cooked materials.
If you’re looking to store cream of wheat for an extended period of time, you should put the cream of wheat in an airtight container and place it in the freezer, above any meat. What causes the danger of bacteria is the presence of moisture inside the package, so you want it above anything that has a risk of leaking onto it.
If you’re looking to eat the cream of wheat over a period of a few days, opt for the same airtight container but place it in the fridge instead of the freezer. Cooked cream of wheat can last in the fridge about 8 days, which makes it easy for meal prep throughout the week. Store it above anything that has the possibility of dripping, as you did in the freezer, to prevent any risk of bacteria.
How Can I Tell if My Cream of Wheat is Going Bad?
The best way to tell is if the cream of wheat is growing mold, or if it has a strange smell to it. The mold will be more prominent of an indicator for uncooked cream of wheat, and the smell is a giveaway for the cooked cream of wheat.
What Temperature is Safe for Cream of Wheat Storage?
Usually under 80 to 90 degrees Fahrenheit is safest.