Q:

Does vegetable shortening go bad?

A:

Vegetable shortening goes bad after around a year. The best way to store it is in a tight container, in a cool and dry place.

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Vegetable shortening is an excellent alternative to animal-based versions for vegetarians. Rather than using animal fats, it uses soybean oil, vegetable oils and cottonseed oils, which are hydrogenated until they are solid. Although it has little flavor, it is ideal for baking foods that are flaky, such as cakes and pastries.

People who want to store vegetable shortening can keep it in a dry place that is at room temperature for up to a year. It remains in a solid state when stored at room temperature.

Individuals who are looking for an alternative to vegetable shortening may wish to try Crisco, which contains fewer trans-fats. Vegetable shortening is made of trans fats, which can cause a range of adverse health conditions. Another alternative is to try vegetable shortening that is made from palm oil.

Individuals who do eat an animal-based diet may consider other shortening alternatives. Both butter and margarine remain solid at room temperature, and both last for a few months without spoiling. Alternatively, there is coconut oil, which can last as long as two years without spoiling.

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    What is hydrogenated vegetable oil?

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    Hydrogenated vegetable oil is oil from a plant source which has been processed to have more hydrogen than is naturally present. This changes the properties of the fat and makes the oil solid at room temperature. It also lends the oil a longer shelf life.

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    Does shortening expire?

    A:

    The shelf life of shortening depends on the type of product that it is, but shortening does expire; for example unopened cans and shortening sticks have a shelf life that is about 2 years from the manufacturing date, while an opened can of shortening will last about a year, but shortening sticks will only last about 6 months. Key indicators of shortening are color, smell and taste. If any of these are off, the shortening has likely gone bad and should be discarded.

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