Many of us think of ranch as a form of liquid gold, considering you can dip your pizza in it, slather it on chicken wings, and fold it into seven-layer dips. It's possible you've never pondered how long an opened bottle can last in your fridge because it was gone before the issue ever arose. But for those of us who don't gobble down our ranch in a matter of days, it's worth understanding how long it will stay safe to eat in your fridge. After all, you wouldn't want to order a pizza only to find that your tasty dipping condiment has spoiled.
Luckily, this dressing can last a good long time, as long as it's stored properly and continuously in the fridge. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), opened bottles of salad dressing can stay fresh for up to two months in the fridge. However, it's possible that ranch specifically may last for as long as nine months. It's also worth taking the dates on the bottle into account, whether they're "best by" or expiration dates. Of course, use your judgment and your senses to scan your product for signs that it has gone bad.
Read more: What Happens If You Accidentally Eat Mold?
How To Ensure Your Ranch Is Still Fresh
These dates aside, how else can you tell that your ranch is not on the road to spoilage? First look at its appearance when you open the bottle. A dressing that is in good shape will be white and creamy, but if it starts to become separated or get any darker, those are sure signs that it's time to toss it. If you see any mold growing on the bottle's interior walls, it's also time to go. But even if your ranch appears bright and mold-free at first glance, take a sniff — just like with spoiled milk, you'll easily be able to tell if it smells a little rancid. If you're willing to brave a tiny taste, a sour flavor is another surefire indicator that it's best not to consume your leftover dressing.
While sticking your bottle in the fridge alone should be enough to keep it fresh for a few months, there are a few other things to keep in mind to extend its longevity. Make sure the cap is tightly screwed on to prevent air from getting in, and when you're using the condiment, try not to double dip veggies right in the bottle. This practice can bring outside germs into your dressing, which can make it go bad faster. As long as you stick to these best practices, your opened bottle of ranch should be good for a minimum of two months, but likely longer.
Read the original article on Tasting Table.