Can You Eat Hummus Left Out Overnight?

Historical records indicate that hummus originated in Egypt during the 1200s and was commonly used as a spread for flatbreads and other simple foods. Despite claims from various regions, it is widely acknowledged as a delectable dish suitable for any occasion.

It is not advisable to leave hummus at room temperature overnight as it can be contaminated with various bacteria after four hours, which can cause illness or digestive discomfort if consumed.

If you want to know the best way to store your hummus and whether it’s safe to freeze it, continue reading for all the information you need.

How Can You Tell If Hummus Has Gone Bad?

To determine if your hummus has spoiled, check its age and smell it. As hummus ages, it becomes bitter, rancid, and fermented, resulting in a strong odor. If you detect an unpleasant smell from your hummus, exercise caution when consuming it.

There is a wide variety of flavors available for hummus.

  • Chocolate 
  • Everything bagel 
  • Garlic 
  • Sour cream and onion 
  • Lemon zest 
  • Poppyseed 

Essentially, the variety of flavors available for bagels can also be found in hummus, which can complicate determining its freshness due to the mixture of scents and flavors that may overpower its natural aroma.

Garlic and lemon can be challenging to determine if they have gone bad, but there are methods to identify their spoilage.

  • Rancid scent 
  • Moldy smell 
  • Visible mold 
  • Runny or wet appearance
  • Slimy feeling

Should you observe any mold growth in the hummus container, it is advisable to discard it as consuming mold can lead to serious allergic or digestive problems.

Mold can spread through spores, so just removing it from the surface may not completely get rid of any hazardous growth.

As opposed to hard cheese, hummus has a soft texture which allows spores to spread quickly, making it difficult to simply scrape off the top layer like you would with other hard substances and cheeses.

If your hummus looks runny or wet, it may suggest that it was not stored at the right temperature, which could mean that there is a high concentration of bacteria present.

Finally, the “use by” date can be a helpful indicator in determining the freshness of hummus. While it may not be entirely precise and there is a possibility of consuming expired hummus, it should still be taken into account.

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The shelf life of hummus and its use by date depend on when it was made. If you prepare your own hummus, remember to label the container with the date of preparation, and if it has been a week since then, exercise caution before consuming it.

Does It Matter What You Dip in Your Hummus? 

While hummus is a versatile dip that can be paired with various foods, it’s important to avoid mixing it with meat and dairy products if you intend to refrigerate it later. This is because certain foods contain higher levels of bacteria that may contaminate the hummus.

If you intend to consume your hummus within a week, it is advisable to refrain from dipping certain foods such as hot dogs, hamburger meat, and fish, even though these may seem like unusual choices for hummus dipping.

It is advisable to refrain from dipping unwashed fruits and vegetables in hummus as they contain a significant amount of bacteria that can be transmitted to the food. Additionally, consuming unwashed fruits and vegetables is hazardous to health.

These foods can accelerate the spoilage of your hummus beyond its normal rate, and if you used them as a dip for your hummus, it’s advisable to discard the remaining hummus instead of preserving it.

On the other hand, if your intention is to use hummus as a dip for meats, it is advisable to take out a small portion of it and transfer it into a separate dish instead of polluting the entire container.

What Happens If You Eat Bad Hummus?

Consuming spoiled hummus can lead to food poisoning and other foodborne diseases as it may contain excessive levels of bacteria, fungal spores, and hazardous elements, resulting in symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal discomfort.

Generally, food poisoning is not usually severe or permanently damaging, and commonly results in symptoms like:

  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Dehydration
  • Cramping 
  • Dizziness
  • Confusion
  • Body aches
  • Fever

The symptoms of food poisoning are generally not serious or long-lasting. They can be caused by eating contaminated food or beverages, which contain bacteria or fungal spores in the digestive system. The most common bacteria and fungi that can grow on hummus include: 

  • Salmonella 
  • E. Coli 
  • Norovirus 
  • Clostridium perfringens
  • Staphylococcus aureus (also known as Staph)
  • Candida
  • Aspergillus
  • Mucromycetes 
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Most people who experience an infection typically have short-term symptoms, but if your symptoms persist for more than a week, it is advisable to seek medical attention as the bacteria or fungi may be particularly potent or your immune system may be weakened.

If you have a pre-existing condition, it is important to exercise extra caution as food poisoning can lead to irreversible harm to your organs or even fatality in rare cases.

How Should Hummus Be Stored?

Hummus must always be kept in the refrigerator, maintaining a temperature of 40 degrees Fahrenheit (4 degrees Celsius) or lower.

If you bought your hummus from a store, it’s advisable to store it in its original container, and if you need to change the container or make your own, ensure that it is sealed.

It is important to store hummus in an air-tight container to prevent cross-contamination from other foods or liquids in the refrigerator, such as milk, soup broth, or solid food particles that may fall into the hummus.

Using an airtight container can also safeguard your hummus from being affected by strong odors of other foods in the fridge, like onions and garlic, which can alter its flavor.

Shelf stable hummus can be safely kept at room temperature until the use-by date, provided that it is stored away from heat sources and direct sunlight, and kept dry. Failure to do so may affect its taste and hasten spoilage.

How Long Does Hummus Last?

As long as it is stored correctly in the fridge and maintained at a steady temperature, hummus can remain fresh for up to ten days. However, if left out at room temperature for extended periods or exposed to contamination, its shelf life will be reduced.

The duration of hummus depends on the kind of ingredients and preservatives utilized in it.

Original hummus has a lengthy shelf life due to its simple ingredients of chickpeas, tahini, and lemon zest, unlike store-bought varieties that often include garlic, onion, and other additives.

Some brands utilize additional preservatives like potassium sorbate, benzoate, and acids to extend the shelf life of hummus up to a week when stored in the fridge. Nevertheless, if you prepare your own or purchase a natural hummus, it might only remain fresh for 4-5 days.

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Some flavors, like artichoke and fruit-infused hummus, have a shorter shelf life compared to lemon or original hummus. It is recommended to refrigerate these varieties for no more than 4-5 days, even if they contain preservatives.

How Long Can Unopened Hummus Be Stored at Room Temperature?

It is recommended to keep an opened container of hummus at room temperature for only one hour. It is best to avoid leaving the hummus uncovered for extended periods due to the risk of cross-contamination rather than the temperature.

Hummus can remain safe for consumption up to four hours at temperatures ranging from 45-70 degrees Fahrenheit (7-21 degrees Celsius). It is recommended to refrigerate it after two hours, but if the weather is not excessively hot, it should still be safe to eat.

Nevertheless, if the temperature is between 75-100 degrees Fahrenheit (24-38 degrees Celsius), it is not advisable to leave it out of the refrigerator for more than an hour since bacteria can rapidly increase in numbers at such high temperatures.

The FDA states that the ideal range for bacteria to proliferate is between 40 and 140 degrees Fahrenheit (4 to 60 degrees Celsius). 

Shelf-stable hummus can be stored securely at room temperature, provided it is kept in a cool or dark place for best storage results.

Can you Freeze Hummus?

Hummus can be stored in the freezer for a maximum of one year, but this may lead to an unpleasant change in texture and taste. It is recommended to use a container or bag that is safe for freezing to ensure optimal results.

To freeze hummus, it is recommended to divide it into individual servings before freezing. Refreezing hummus should be avoided as it can promote bacterial growth.

To store hummus for later use, you can put individual portions in freezer-safe bags or containers. Another option is to utilize a covered ice cube tray instead of an open one.

You can also check this video about “Can You Eat Hummus Left Out Overnight?”

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