If you have a box of baking soda in your pantry, you may wonder, “does baking soda go bad?” And if it does, how can you tell? There’s an easy answer to these questions that you’ll find very helpful!
Let’s also talk about how it works and the difference between baking soda and baking powder. Then, we’ll be able to determine the best way to store it and what to do with it when it's not as potent any longer.
Does baking soda go bad?
Baking soda is good to eat indefinitely, however, it does lose its effectiveness over time.
You can expect it to be potent in an opened box for six months and unopened box for two years.
There are some rules to store it and an excellent way to test if your baking soda has lost its potency. Don’t throw it out if it has; there are still some great uses for it.
What is it, and how to use it?
Let’s talk about what baking soda actually does, how to use it, and how it differs from baking powder.
Baking soda is a leavening agent used to make your baked food rise (hello, pumpkin muffins). When activated using acid, it releases carbon dioxide, which bubbles to the surface and creates air in the food. This air is what pushes the dough up, makes it rise, and makes it lighter.
While baking soda is activated using a liquid acid like lemon juice or vinegar, any moisture activates baking powder since it already has powdered acid mixed in.
For this reason, baking powder is stored in an airtight container or plastic bag so that no moisture gets in. You’ll notice that baking soda is stored in a cardboard box since it’s not activated by moisture from the air.
How to test if it’s still good to use
With these steps, you can easily test to see if it will make your food rise enough. Keep in mind that you can still eat it if it’s not as potent; it just won’t make your bread rise much.
To test your it, follow these steps:
- Pour a small amount of baking soda into a bowl. There’s no need to measure it.
- Squeeze in some lemon juice or pour some vinegar into the bowl.
- Stir the powder and liquid acid together.
- If it bubbles vigorously, it’s still good. If it’s a little lackluster, don’t worry, you can still use it for other tasks.
What to do with old baking soda
If you’ve tested it and it’s not bubbling as much as you’d like, you can still use it as a cleaning product in your home.
Baking soda is a natural way to clean your dishwasher, washing machine, unclog drains, oven, stovetop, and stainless steel, freshen up your refrigerator, etc. You can even use it to whiten your teeth!
How to store it for the best results
To make sure your baking soda stays good for baked goods for as long as possible, be sure to keep it dry and away from acids.
This shouldn’t be a problem if you keep it on a shelf in a cupboard, but make sure that the cupboard isn’t above a dishwasher or the stove. The steam from these can moisten the box and make it lose its potency faster.
The good news is that it never actually goes bad! Even when it has lost its full bubbly power, you can still eat it. It’s best to use it within six months after opening the box and within two years if it’s unopened.
Baking soda creates carbon dioxide when activated, which forms bubbles in food. These bubbles make the dough rise. It’s possible to use it after losing some of its strength, but it won’t make the dough rise quite as high.
Be sure to store the box in a cool, dry place where it can’t accidentally come in contact with acid, and you can use it indefinitely for either baking, science experiments, or cleaning your home.