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Ranch is probably the most loved salad dressing used by countless families in America. Its taste resembles sour cream, going well with foods like salad and chicken.
Though you can buy ranch from the grocery store, it is fun to make it yourself. You must understand how long you can keep it to prevent sickness like food poisoning. When stored properly in a well-sealed container in the refrigerator, ranch can blast up to 2-3 weeks. Learn how to create and store homemade ranch salad dressing in the provided information below.
Table of Contents
- How to Make Homemade Ranch
- How Long is Homemade Ranch Good for in Your Refrigerator?
- How Long is Store-Bought Ranch Good for?
- Signs that Your Homemade Ranch is Bad
- Be Safe with Your Homemade Ranch
How to Make Homemade Ranch
If you want to try the easiest homemade ranch dressing recipe, you can try a premade mix. Combine the packet with milk and mayonnaise to start the process. You will place the entire bowl in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes. When the mixture becomes cold, you can use it with your meals as a salad dressing.
You can also make ranch without a seasoning packet. Combine mayonnaise, milk, lemon juice, Worcester sauce, and sour cream for your liquid ingredients. After, mix in dill, parsley, chives, Spanish onion powder, garlic powder, salt, and pepper for your spices. Place the mixture in your refrigerator, chilling it until you are ready to use it.
How Long is Homemade Ranch Good for in Your Refrigerator?
After the bowl of homemade ranch chills, you can transfer it to an airtight container. Make sure to close it back tight after every use. You can typically keep your homemade ranch dressing in the refrigerator for one or two weeks when following these steps.
If you use buttermilk instead of traditional milk or milk substitute, you may be able to keep the homemade ranch for up to three or four weeks. Make sure to smell the mixture before you eat it. You will eventually start to notice curdling and yellow discoloration if the ranch sits in your refrigerator for too long.
Can You Freeze Homemade Ranch?
You can freeze homemade ranch directly in the airtight container in your freezer. You may find that the texture will be different when the salad dressing thaws. Though the homemade ranch dressing may look chunky, it will be safe to eat, as it will last in the freezer for up to four months.
If you do not want the ranch to be chunky after thawing it, pour it into an ice cube tray before freezing. After this container freezes, pop each cube into a freezer bag. Pull one out at a time, thawing it when you want to use it.
How Long Can Homemade Ranch Sit Out?
When you take homemade ranch out of the refrigerator, you can keep it out for a couple of hours. Again, it does contain a wide variety of dairy products, which are notorious for not lasting in warm environments for a long time. If the temperature in your home is quite hot, you will need to put the BBQ ranch dressing away sooner.
Harmful bacteria can grow on your homemade ranch quickly when at room temperature alone. If you eat it past the two-hour timespan, you may become sick. It is best to put your homemade ranch dressing back in a cold environment as soon as possible.
How Long is Store-Bought Ranch Good for?
If you open a store-bought ranch, you can only keep it at room temperature for a couple of hours, just like the homemade variety. Again, if you leave the salad dressing out longer than that, you risk becoming sick from bacteria growth.
Unopened store-bought ranch will last until the expiration date on the package. If you store the sealed bottle in the refrigerator after buying it, it will stay edible for up to four months after it expires. After opening the store-bought ranch, you will notice a pungent smell if it is inedible.
How Long Can Opened Ranch Stay in Your Refrigerator?
You will need to put store-bought ranch in your refrigerator immediately after opening it. Once unsealed, it will not stay good until its expiration date. The salad dressing will continue to be at its highest quality until about a month after you open the package.
You can freeze an opened bottle of ranch for two to six months in total. You will need to seal the package to an airtight place. Again, even store-bought homemade ranch dressing will start to change in texture, and the flavor will diminish over time.
Signs that Your Homemade Ranch is Bad
As mentioned, there are signs you can look out for that indicate that your homemade or store-bought ranch dressing is inedible. First, ranch dressing will start to change colors. The homemade ranch dressing will become yellow over time. The ranch dressing may even become off-white rather than the original color present when first buying or making it.
Eventually, you will notice mold growth in the container or bottle. As soon as you see these blue or green patches, throw away ranch dressing immediately. It is close to mold growth if the ranch has a pungent odor after you open it.
Symptoms You May Experience When Eating Ranch
If you consume inedible ranch dressing, whether store-bought or homemade, you will likely get food poisoning. Within six to 12 hours, you will begin to feel nauseous, and your stomach will hurt. You may eventually vomit or have diarrhea. These symptoms can last up to 24 to 72 hours, making you miserable.
You will likely also get an unmanageable headache when you have food poisoning. Depending on the bacteria you contracted, you might develop a low-grade fever because of bad ranch dressing.
Gastrointestinal symptoms also run the risk of causing dehydration. You may develop throat soreness or dizziness, making your life that much more miserable for a few days.
Be Safe with Your Homemade Ranch
Homemade ranch salad dressing is easy to make, and it tastes just as good as the store-bought variety, if not better. You have to combine dairy products like milk, buttermilk or sour cream, and mayonnaise with seasonings like lemon juice, dill, parsley, salt, and pepper.
Ranch will only last for so long in your home. When at room temperature, it will only last for a couple of hours. You can keep homemade ranch for three or four weeks in the refrigerator using buttermilk. Finally, you can even freeze the mixture to make it last you for up to four months.
Homemade or store-bought ranch has the potential of making you sick. You can get food poisoning from the bacteria that develops on the ranch dressing. You can know that the ranch is bad by the discoloration and smell. You may also notice mold starting to grow on your ranch dressing.
Does Homemade Ranch Go Bad?
Ranch dressing does go bad over time. It will only stay good for about two hours when sitting at room temperature. Refrigerate your ranch, where it should last for a week or two, though you can leave it for up to four weeks when using buttermilk.
You can also keep ranch dressing in the freezer. Make sure you place it in an airtight container to ensure the freshness lasts. Typically, it will stay edible for two to four months, though the texture is more chunky.
How Long is Ranch Good for After You Make It?
After you combine all of the ingredients for ranch, you will need to keep it in the mixing bowl in the refrigerator for 30 minutes. Transfer it to an airtight container afterward, where you can keep it cool for one to two weeks when using traditional dairy milk. If you want to use buttermilk instead, homemade buttermilk ranch dressing may last for three or four weeks.
Freeze your ranch in an ice cube tray to give it the best texture after thawing. After putting the cubes in an airtight container, your salad dressing should last for two to four months in the freezer.
How Do You Know if Ranch is Bad?
It is easy to know when ranch, whether store-bought or homemade, is inedible. It will start to turn colors, first becoming more off-white over time. Eventually, the homemade buttermilk ranch dressing will look almost yellow in appearance. You can know for sure that it is inedible at this point so that you do not become sick.
Both variants of ranch will also develop a pungent odor over time, which is overwhelming after you open the container. Eventually, it will start to grow mold. You will see the blue and green patches near the top of the mixture in the beginning.
Can Bad Ranch Make You Sick?
You will likely become very sick if you consume inedible salad dressing. You will develop gastrointestinal upset from the bacteria you take in when using the mixture. Your abdomen may experience severe pains, and you will likely become nauseous over time. This feeling will lead to a need to vomit or diarrhea.
When you have gastrointestinal upset, you may have a mild fever and a severe headache. If you frequently expel liquids from your gastrointestinal tract, you will become dehydrated. This ailment can lead to problems like a sore throat, confusion, and other more severe symptoms that could put you in the hospital.