Believe it or not, Kool-Aid powder has been around for nearly 100 years, and in that time, it has become a staple of many people’s pantries. You might well have a box sitting in the back of your cupboard right now that has been there since who even knows when.
But do you need to throw it out? Does Kool-Aid even expire? I’m here to tell you everything you need to know.
Kool-Aid powder does technically expire but can often be safely consumed after its expiration date as long as it is unopened and there are no signs of spoilage. The expiration date denotes how long the manufacturer believes the product will be at its best quality and is not a marker for food safety.
In this article, we will discuss whether or not Kool-aid expires, discuss how to store it, and how to tell if it has gone bad.
Does Kool-Aid Powder Go Bad?
When Kool-Aid powder is stored correctly, it is very unlikely to go bad. It contains citric acid, calcium phosphate, ascorbic acid, artificial flavor, salt, BHA, and sometimes sugar (depending on the variety). In their dried form, none of these ingredients have the potential to grow bacteria.
How Long Does Kool-Aid Powder Last?
This is kind of like “how long is a piece of string”? There really is no single answer to how long your Kool-Aid powder will last, but it is most likely going to be for years. There are even reports of people drinking Kool-Aid powder from the 1980s and having no ill effects at all!
Your Kool-Aid powder will have an expiration date, but this doesn’t tell you when your Kool-Aid powder stops being safe to drink. There are different types of expiration dates.
Some that are usually found on meats, medicines, dairy, etc., are use-by dates, and these tell you the date when it is no longer safe to eat or drink the product—eating the food after this date puts you at risk of food poisoning.
Kool-Aid powder will have a best-before date, and this date just tells you when the manufacturer thinks the product won’t be at its best anymore. This could mean that the flavor won’t be as nice or that the colors won’t be as vibrant, but it doesn’t mean that it won’t be safe to eat or drink.
How to Store Kool-Aid Powder
While it is true that your Kool-Aid powder will probably be safe to use well past its expiration date, this is only the case if it is stored properly. It only stays safe while it is in its dry form, and if any moisture reaches the powder, it will start to go bad.
Therefore, it is crucial that you keep your Kool-Aid powder in a dry place where the chances of any water being spilled on it are very low. You will also need to make sure it is well away from anywhere that insects could get to it as they can burrow in and contaminate the powder.
Should I Store Kool-Aid Powder in the Fridge?
There isn’t anything stopping you from storing your Kool-Aid powder in the fridge, but there is no real need to do so.
Because it is dry and sealed, the powder is already in a state where bacteria can’t get to it and grow. So keeping it at a refrigerated temperature isn’t necessary.
It could also be possible that there will be times when the inside of your fridge could get quite humid, and this will risk introducing moisture to your Kool-Aid powder, which will stop it from being preserved.
How Long Can You Keep Kool-Aid in the Refrigerator?
If you don’t finish all of your Kool-Aid drink and you want to save some for later, it is always a good idea to pop it in the fridge. The lower temperature will slow down bacterial growth, which means your Kool-Aid will be safe to drink for longer.
Kool-Aid drink will last for about five days in the fridge, but you should always check to make sure it hasn’t gone bad before drinking it. If you can see any visible mold, or if it smells/tastes wrong, it is usually best to throw it away and make some more.
How Does Kool-Aid Go Bad After It’s Made?
To make a Kool-Aid drink out of Kool-Aid powder, all you need to do is add water (and sugar if your powder is the type without sugar). As soon as that water and sugar are introduced together, you have created an environment that bacteria will love. What this means is that your Kool-Aid will now have a limited shelf life. The more bacteria that grow in your Kool-Aid drink, the faster it will go bad.
How Would I Know if Kool-Aid Powder Has Gone Bad?
While it is pretty unlikely that your Kool-Aid powder will go bad, there is still a chance that something could go wrong.
Before you make up a drink with your Kool-Aid powder, it is always a good idea to check that the packaging hasn’t been damaged in any way. If it is damaged, there is a chance that water could have gotten into the Kool-Aid powder, and if that happens, bacteria could have begun to grow. If the powder is clumped together when you open the packet, this is an indication that water has gotten in.
If there is any visible mold or if your Kool-Aid powder smells “off,” take this as a sure sign that it should be thrown away. You should also check for any evidence of insect infestation.
Is It Safe to Drink Expired Kool-Aid Powder?
Generally speaking, yes, it should be safe to drink Kool-Aid powder that is past its expiry date. The expiry date doesn’t tell you when the Kool-Aid powder stops being safe to drink. It only tells you when it might not be quite as tasty as it was before. As long as there are no signs that water has got into the powder, it smells and looks normal, and the packaging hasn’t been damaged, you can go right ahead and make a drink with it.
Can Kool-Aid Jammers Go Bad?
Kool-Aid jammers usually have an expiration date of 12-18 months, but again, this doesn’t necessarily mean that they will be unsafe to eat after that. Because they are completely airtight in their packaging, it is very difficult for bacteria to get in and spoil the drink.
Before you drink it, you need to make sure that the packaging hasn’t been damaged. If any holes have been made in the packaging, this will allow bacteria to get in, and the drink could have spoiled. If the packaging is bulging, deformed, or dented, or if there are any leaks, this can indicate that the seal isn’t airtight, and this means that bacteria could have got in.
Also, make sure that it doesn’t smell rancid or off and that you can’t see any visible mold. If it tastes wrong or disgusting, you should put it straight in the trash can.
Just because your Kool-Aid powder has passed its expiration date, this doesn’t mean that you need to throw it out. It is usually completely safe to still use it, as long as it is unopened and there aren’t any signs that it has spoiled (e.g., mold).
It might not taste quite as nice as it did when it was first bought, but it won’t make you ill.
The most important thing you can do is keep your Kool-Aid powder away from water. As soon as any water reaches the powder, bacteria can start to grow, and it will begin to go bad.
Once you make your Kool-Aid drink, you can keep it in the fridge for about five days. Expired Kool-Aid jammers are usually OK to drink too, but again, check that the packaging hasn’t been damaged and that there aren’t any signs it has gone off.
I hope this article has been helpful!
Thanks for stoppin’ by.
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Anne James has a wealth of expertise in a wide array of interests, including quilting, cooking, gardening, camping, and making jelly.
She has a professional canning business and has been featured in the local newspaper, and has been her family canner for decades. Anyone growing up in the South knows that there is always a person in the family who has knowledge of the “old ways,” and this is exactly what Anne is.
With over 55 years of experience in these endeavors, she brings a level of hands-on knowledge that is hard to surpass.
Lovingly known as “Jelly Grandma” by her grandkids, Anne hopes your visit here has been a sweet one.