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How To Store Shortening Long Term How To Store Shortening Long Term


How To Store Shortening Long Term

Written by: Ethan Hayes

Learn the best methods for storing shortening long term in this informative article. Discover tips and tricks to keep your shortening fresh and usable for extended periods.

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Shortening is a versatile ingredient used in a variety of baking and cooking recipes. Its creamy texture and rich flavor make it a popular choice for creating flaky pastries and tender cakes. However, if you find yourself with a surplus of shortening or simply want to stock up for future use, it’s important to know how to store it properly to maintain its quality and freshness.

In this article, we will delve into the details of storing shortening long-term. We’ll explore the importance of proper storage, factors to consider before storing shortening, recommended storage conditions, alternative storage methods, and tips for prolonging its shelf life. By following these guidelines, you can ensure that your shortening remains usable and delicious for an extended period of time.

So, let’s dive in and discover the best ways to store shortening for long-term use!

Key Takeaways:

  • Properly storing shortening is crucial for maintaining its quality and flavor over time. Understanding the importance of long-term storage, choosing the right containers, and following recommended storage conditions are key to ensuring the usability of stored shortening.
  • Prolonging the shelf life of stored shortening involves proper sealing, avoiding cross-contamination, and following storage guidelines. Additionally, disposing of expired shortening responsibly is essential to minimize environmental impact and ensure proper waste management.

Understanding Shortening

Before we delve into the topic of long-term storage, it’s important to understand what shortening actually is. Shortening is a type of fat that is solid at room temperature and is commonly used in baking and frying. It is typically made from vegetable oils, such as soybean, palm, or cottonseed oil, which undergo a process called hydrogenation.

The purpose of shortening in baking is to create a tender and flaky texture in pastries, biscuits, and other baked goods. It achieves this by interfering with the formation of gluten, which is responsible for making dough elastic and chewy. By preventing the gluten strands from developing, shortening helps to create a delicate and crumbly texture in baked goods.

Shortening is also valued for its high smoke point, which makes it suitable for deep-frying and sautéing. Its ability to withstand high temperatures without breaking down or producing smoke makes it a preferred choice for achieving crispy and golden results.

When it comes to purchasing shortening, you’ll find it available in solid form, usually in tubs or blocks. It has a smooth and creamy consistency, making it easy to work with in recipes. Additionally, most commercial shortening products are already hydrogenated, making them shelf-stable and long-lasting.

Now that we have a basic understanding of what shortening is and its role in baking and cooking, let’s explore the importance of proper long-term storage to maintain its quality and freshness.

Importance of Long-Term Storage

Proper long-term storage of shortening is crucial to maintain its quality, flavor, and texture over an extended period of time. Whether you have excess shortening that you want to keep for future use or you simply want to stock up during a sale, taking the necessary steps to store shortening correctly can prevent it from going rancid or losing its desired properties.

One of the main reasons why proper storage is important is to prevent the shortening from becoming rancid. Like other fats and oils, shortening can undergo a process called oxidation when exposed to air, light, and heat. This can result in off-flavors, a change in texture, and even spoilage. By storing shortening in suitable conditions, you can slow down the oxidation process and prolong its shelf life.

Another advantage of long-term storage is the convenience of having shortening readily available when you need it. Instead of making frequent trips to the store or worrying about running out of this essential ingredient, storing shortening in bulk allows you to save time and effort in the long run. It ensures you always have it on hand for your baking and cooking needs.

Additionally, proper long-term storage can help you save money. Buying shortening in larger quantities, especially when it’s on sale, can be more economical. It allows you to take advantage of discounts and promotions, giving you more value for your money. Plus, with proper storage, you can ensure that the shortening remains usable and doesn’t go to waste.

By recognizing the importance of long-term storage, you can make the most out of your shortening supply and ensure its freshness, quality, and taste for an extended period.

Now that we understand the significance of proper storage, let’s explore the factors to consider before storing shortening for the long term.

Factors to Consider Before Storing Shortening

Before you start storing shortening for the long term, there are a few important factors to consider. These factors can greatly influence the shelf life and quality of the stored shortening. Let’s take a closer look at what you should keep in mind.

Expiration Date:

Before storing shortening, check the expiration date on the packaging. Shortening typically has a long shelf life, but it’s always best to use it before the expiration date to ensure optimal quality. If the shortening is already close to its expiration date, it’s better to use it up rather than storing it for an extended period.

Quality of Shortening:

The quality of the shortening you plan to store is crucial. Make sure the shortening is fresh and free from any signs of spoilage or off-flavors. If the shortening has a strange smell, unusual texture, or is past its best quality, it’s advisable not to store it for an extended period.


The type of packaging also plays a role in the storage of shortening. If the shortening is still unopened and in its original packaging, it is likely to have a longer shelf life. However, if the shortening has been opened, it’s important to transfer it to a suitable airtight container to prevent exposure to air and moisture.

Storage Space:

Consider your available storage space before storing shortening. Ensure you have enough area to store the containers of shortening properly. Make sure the storage area is cool, dark, and away from direct sunlight or heat sources. Avoid storing shortening in areas prone to temperature fluctuations, such as near the stove or oven.

Usage Patterns:

Take into account your usage patterns and frequency of shortening in your recipes. If you frequently use shortening in your baking and cooking, storing larger quantities makes more sense. However, if you rarely use shortening, it’s better to store smaller amounts to ensure freshness and avoid waste.

By considering these factors, you can make informed decisions and set yourself up for successful long-term storage of shortening. In the next section, we will explore the best airtight containers suitable for storing shortening.

Airtight Containers for Shortening Storage

When it comes to storing shortening for the long term, choosing the right type of container is essential. Airtight containers help protect the shortening from exposure to air, moisture, and other contaminants, ensuring its freshness and quality. Here are some recommended options for storing shortening:

Glass Jars:

Glass jars with tight-fitting lids are an excellent choice for storing shortening. They are non-reactive, so you don’t have to worry about any chemical reactions with the shortening. Glass is also transparent, allowing you to easily identify the contents without needing to open the container. Make sure the jars are thoroughly cleaned and completely dry before transferring the shortening into them.

Plastic Containers:

Food-grade plastic containers with secure lids are another viable option for storing shortening. Look for containers made from high-quality plastics that are specifically designed for long-term food storage. Make sure the containers are sturdy and can withstand temperature fluctuations without warping. Avoid using containers made from low-quality plastics that may release harmful chemicals into the shortening over time.

Metal Cans:

Metal cans, such as tin or aluminum, can also be used for shortening storage. Ensure that the cans are clean, have a tight-sealing lid, and have an internal lining to prevent any interaction between the shortening and the metal. Metal cans are durable and provide excellent protection against light and air. However, keep in mind that they may not be transparent, making it harder to see the contents without opening the can.

Vacuum Seal Bags or Containers:

For those who want to take their shortening storage to the next level, vacuum sealed bags or containers can be a great option. These specialized containers remove air from the packaging, ensuring airtightness and minimizing the risk of oxidation. Vacuum sealing can extend the shelf life of the shortening and maintain its freshness for even longer periods. However, keep in mind that vacuum sealing equipment may be required for this method.

Whichever type of container you choose, ensure that it is clean, dry, and specifically designed for food storage. Label each container with the date of storage to keep track of its freshness. Store the containers in a cool, dark place away from direct sunlight or heat sources to maintain optimal conditions.

In the next section, we will discuss the recommended storage conditions for long-term shortening storage.

Recommended Storage Conditions

To ensure the best possible storage conditions for your shortening, it’s important to follow these recommendations. By providing a suitable environment, you can prolong the shelf life and maintain the quality of the stored shortening.


Shortening should be stored at a cool and consistent temperature. Aim for a temperature between 50°F (10°C) and 70°F (21°C). Avoid storing shortening in areas that are prone to temperature fluctuations, such as near stoves, ovens, or windows. Extreme temperature changes can affect the texture and quality of the shortening.

Light and Heat:

Protect the stored shortening from direct sunlight and heat sources. Exposure to light and heat can speed up the oxidation process, which can lead to rancidity. Store the containers of shortening in a cool, dark cupboard or pantry that is away from any sources of heat or light.

Air and Moisture:

Minimize the exposure of shortening to air and moisture. Both air and moisture can trigger oxidation and spoilage of the shortening. Ensure that the containers are airtight, with secure and properly fitting lids. Avoid placing the containers in areas with high humidity or near sources of moisture, such as sinks or dishwashers.

Separate from Strong Odors:

Shortening has a tendency to absorb strong odors from its surroundings. To prevent any unwanted flavor transfer, store shortening away from strong-smelling substances like spices, onions, or cleaning products. Keeping it separate from these odorous items will help maintain its original flavor and quality.

By following these recommended storage conditions, you can keep your stored shortening in the best possible state. However, it’s important to note that even with the right conditions, the storage duration should be within the recommended shelf life of the specific brand or type of shortening.

Now that we have covered the recommended storage conditions, let’s explore some alternative methods for storing shortening.

Alternative Methods for Storing Shortening

While using airtight containers is the most common method for storing shortening, there are a few alternative methods you can consider. These methods provide additional options for storing shortening, especially if you have limited storage space or prefer a different approach. Let’s explore these alternative methods:


One alternative method for storing shortening is freezing. Freezing shortening can significantly extend its shelf life, allowing you to store it for an extended period. To freeze shortening, transfer it to a freezer-safe container or wrap it tightly in heavy-duty foil or plastic wrap. Make sure all air is removed to prevent freezer burn. Frozen shortening can be thawed at room temperature or in the refrigerator when you need to use it. Keep in mind that thawed shortening may have a slightly different texture, so it’s best to use it in baking or cooking rather than for spreading on bread.

Dividing into Small Portions:

If you find yourself needing small amounts of shortening for your recipes, consider dividing a larger quantity into smaller portions. This method allows you to store the shortening in smaller containers or even ice cube trays. By doing so, you can easily take out the required amount without having to thaw a large batch. This method works well if you frequently use small quantities of shortening or prefer the convenience of portioned servings.

Reusing Original Packaging:

Another alternative method is to reuse the original packaging for storing shortening. If the shortening comes in a tub or block with a resealable lid, you can wash and dry it thoroughly before refilling it with additional shortening. This method allows you to preserve the original packaging and take advantage of its airtight properties. Just make sure to label the container with the date of storage for reference.

Cold Storage:

If you live in a cooler climate or during the winter months, you can take advantage of cold storage options. For short-term storage, you can keep the unopened containers of shortening in a cool garage, basement, or unheated pantry. However, keep in mind that cold storage is not suitable for long-term storage, as fluctuations in temperature and humidity can affect the quality of the shortening over time.

These alternative methods offer flexibility and versatility when it comes to storing shortening. Choose the method that best fits your needs and available resources. However, always consider the recommended storage conditions and shelf life guidelines to ensure the freshness and quality of the stored shortening.

In the next section, we will provide some useful tips for prolonging the shelf life of your stored shortening.

Tips for Prolonging Shortening Shelf Life

If you want to maximize the shelf life of your stored shortening, there are a few tips you can follow to ensure its freshness and quality. By taking proper care of the shortening, you can extend its usability and avoid any potential spoilage. Here are some tips for prolonging the shelf life of your shortening:

Keep it Sealed:

After each use, make sure to seal the container of shortening tightly. Properly sealing the container will prevent air, moisture, and contaminants from entering and causing the shortening to deteriorate. Check the lid or cover to ensure it is secure before storing it away.

Avoid Cross-Contamination:

When using shortening, avoid mixing it with other ingredients or using utensils that have come into contact with other substances. Cross-contamination can introduce contaminants and affect the quality of the shortening. Use clean, dry utensils when scooping out shortening from the container.

Avoid Double Dipping:

Double dipping occurs when a utensil that has touched another food item is dipped back into the shortening container. This can introduce unwanted substances and compromise the integrity of the shortening. Make sure to use separate utensils or clean them thoroughly before each use.

Store in Small Portions:

If you frequently use small amounts of shortening, consider storing it in smaller portions. This way, you can minimize the exposure of the entire supply to air and moisture. Storing in smaller portions also allows you to defrost only the amount you need, reducing waste and maintaining freshness.

Keep Away from Heat Sources:

Avoid storing shortening near sources of heat, such as stoves, ovens, or direct sunlight. Heat can accelerate the oxidation process and contribute to the spoilage of the shortening. Keeping it in a cool and dark area away from heat sources will help preserve its quality.

Regularly Check for Signs of Spoilage:

Periodically inspect the stored shortening for any signs of spoilage, such as off odors, mold growth, or changes in texture. If you notice any abnormalities, discard the shortening immediately. It’s better to be cautious and throw it out if there are any doubts about its quality.

Follow Storage Guidelines:

Always follow the recommended storage conditions and guidelines provided by the manufacturer. Different brands or types of shortening may have specific requirements for optimal storage. Adhering to these guidelines will ensure that you are storing the shortening correctly and maximizing its shelf life.

By following these tips, you can prolong the shelf life of your stored shortening and maintain its freshness and quality. However, keep in mind that even with proper storage, the shortening will eventually expire. So, be mindful of the expiration date and try to use the shortening before it reaches its limit.

In the next section, we will discuss how to properly dispose of expired shortening.

How to Properly Dispose of Expired Shortening

When shortening reaches its expiration date or becomes spoiled, it is important to dispose of it properly. Improper disposal can lead to clogged drains, environmental damage, and unpleasant odors. Here are some guidelines for the proper disposal of expired shortening:

Cool and Solidify:

If the expired shortening is in a liquid state, allow it to cool and solidify before disposal. Place the container in the refrigerator or another cool area until the shortening solidifies. This will make it easier to handle and dispose of properly.

Seal in a Bag or Container:

Once the shortening has solidified, transfer it to a sealed bag or container. This will prevent any leakage or spills during disposal. Make sure the container is tightly sealed to avoid any odors or contamination.

Dispose with Solid Waste:

Expired shortening should be disposed of with your regular solid waste. Place the sealed bag or container in your garbage bin designated for general waste collection. Check the guidelines of your local waste management authorities to ensure you are following proper disposal procedures for your area.

Recycle the Packaging:

If the shortening was stored in a container that can be recycled, make sure to rinse it thoroughly before recycling. Clean containers help prevent contamination in recycling facilities and ensure proper recycling procedures are followed.

Avoid Pouring Down the Drain:

It is important not to pour expired shortening, whether liquid or solidified, down the drain. Shortening can solidify and cause clogs in drains and pipes, leading to plumbing issues. Additionally, pouring shortening down the drain can harm the environment when it enters water systems.

Consider Donation or Composting (if applicable):

If the shortening is minimally expired but still usable, you may consider donating it to local community organizations or food banks. Some institutions may accept non-perishable food items, including shortening. Additionally, shortening may be compostable in certain regions or through specialized composting facilities.

By following these disposal guidelines, you can ensure that expired shortening is discarded properly, minimizing any potential negative impact on the environment and infrastructure.

Now that we have covered the proper disposal of expired shortening, let’s conclude our article.


Properly storing shortening for long-term use is essential to maintain its quality and freshness. By understanding the importance of storage and following the recommended guidelines, you can ensure that your stored shortening remains usable and flavorful for an extended period.

We discussed the fundamentals of shortening, its role in baking and cooking, and why long-term storage is important. Factors to consider before storing shortening, such as expiration dates, quality, and packaging, were highlighted to help you make informed decisions.

Moreover, we explored the various airtight container options for shortening storage, including glass jars, plastic containers, metal cans, and vacuum-seal bags or containers. Each option provides a secure and protective environment for the shortening, preserving its integrity and flavor.

Recommended storage conditions, such as temperature, light, and moisture control, were emphasized to maintain optimal freshness. We also provided alternative methods for storing shortening, such as freezing and dividing into small portions, for those seeking additional storage options.

To prolong the shelf life of stored shortening, we offered helpful tips, including keeping it sealed, avoiding cross-contamination, storing in small portions, and maintaining proper storage conditions. Following these tips will aid in prolonging the usability and flavor of your stored shortening.

Lastly, we discussed the importance of proper disposal of expired shortening, including cooling and solidifying it, sealing it in a bag or container, and disposing of it with solid waste. These practices prevent environmental damage and ensure proper waste management.

In conclusion, by adhering to the recommended storage guidelines, utilizing suitable containers, and practicing proper disposal methods, you can confidently store shortening for long-term use. This will not only save you time and money but also allow you to always have this versatile ingredient on hand for your baking and cooking adventures.

So, take the necessary steps to store shortening properly and enjoy the convenience and deliciousness it brings to your culinary creations!

Frequently Asked Questions about How To Store Shortening Long Term

What is shortening and why is it important to store it long term?

Shortening is a type of fat commonly used in baking and cooking to create a flaky texture in pastries and to add richness to dishes. Storing shortening long term is important to maintain its freshness and prevent it from going rancid.
How should I store shortening to ensure its long-term freshness?

To store shortening long term, it’s best to keep it in an airtight container or resealable plastic bag to prevent exposure to air and moisture. Store it in a cool, dark place such as a pantry or cupboard away from heat sources.
What is the shelf life of shortening and how can I extend it?

The shelf life of shortening is typically 1-2 years if stored properly. To extend its shelf life, you can also refrigerate or freeze it. Just make sure to bring it back to room temperature before using it in recipes.
Can I store shortening in the freezer, and if so, for how long?

Yes, you can store shortening in the freezer to prolong its shelf life. It can last for up to 3 years in the freezer if properly sealed and protected from freezer burn.
Are there any signs that indicate shortening has gone bad?

Yes, if shortening develops a rancid or off smell, changes in color, or develops an unusual texture, it’s best to discard it as it may have gone bad. Always check for these signs before using stored shortening in recipes.

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