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How Long Is Borscht Good For?

From tabletop to fridge to freezer, we’re dishing up the scoop on how to keep your borscht fresh and ready to chow down on.

Borscht: this hearty, colorful soup, teeming with tender beetroot and a variety of vegetables, is the quintessential comfort food for nippy winter evenings, or whenever you crave a taste of the Slavic kitchen.

Its medley of beetroot, vegetables, and, in the case of some recipes, meat creates a dish that’s not only deeply satisfying, but also incredibly beneficial for your health.

But despite the alluring appeal of borscht, you might not always be able to polish off the pot in one sitting (trust me, I’ve tried!). So you might be pondering—how long can borscht stay fresh? Does it deepen in flavor over time, or does it start to lose its gusto as soon as it cools down?

And when it comes to keeping that leftover borscht fresh for another comforting meal, what’s the best way to store it? Is it best placed in the fridge, or can it endure the freeze of the freezer?

If you’ve got these kinds of questions stirring up in your mind, read on; we’ve got all the answers you need.

How Long Borscht Lasts

How long borscht lasts depends on how you store it.

Generally, if you leave borscht out, it will only stay good for 1 to 2 hours. When refrigerated, it can last for 3 to 4 days. And if you freeze it, it will maintain its quality for about 3 to 4 months.

Left Out: 1–2 Hours

If you leave borscht at room temperature, it can last for about 2 hours. However, on hot days when it’s 90°F (32°C) or higher, borscht only stays good for about 1 hour.1United States Department of Agriculture (2023, March 24). What is the “2 Hour Rule” with leaving food out? AskUSDA. Retrieved July 19, 2023, from https://ask.usda.gov/s/article/What-is-the-2-Hour-Rule-with-leaving-food-out

Refrigerated: 3–4 Days

If you keep borscht in the fridge, at a temperature of 40°F (4.4°C) or below, and store it in a jar, food container, or the original bottle or carton in case you bought it from the store, it will last for about 3 to 4 days.2U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (2021, September 20). Cold Food Storage Chart. FoodSafety.gov. Retrieved July 19, 2023, from https://www.foodsafety.gov/food-safety-charts/cold-food-storage-charts

Frozen: 3–4 Months

Technically speaking, you can keep frozen borscht for as long as you want because freezing pauses the growth of bacteria.3U.S. Department of Agriculture (2013, June 15). Freezing and Food Safety. Food Safety & Inspection Service. Retrieved July 19, 2023, from https://www.fsis.usda.gov/food-safety/safe-food-handling-and-preparation/food-safety-basics/freezing-and-food-safety With that being said, it is best to eat it within 3 to 4 months to enjoy it at its freshest and highest quality.

How to Keep Borscht Fresh

Borscht truly excels when it’s warm and teeming with the rich flavor of beetroot and veggies.

If you’re not planning to relish your borscht right away, you need to understand how to store it so it stays fresh and doesn’t turn bad.

Here’s the lowdown:

Storing Borscht in the Fridge

Firstly, pour your borscht into a clean, sealable container.

Glass containers such as mason jars are great, but if you don’t have one available, any food storage container with a secure lid will suffice. Then put it in the fridge.

Try to eat the borscht within 3-4 days. The chill in the fridge slows down the bacteria that lead to spoilage, but it can’t halt their growth altogether. Sooner rather than later, the borscht will go bad.

Freezing Borscht

If you’ve cooked up a hefty batch of borscht and can’t eat it within a few days, or you want to save some for a future meal, then freezing is your top choice. You’ll need a clean, airtight, freezer-safe container that can stand the cold of the freezer.

Make sure to leave about an inch of space at the top of the container as the borscht will expand when it freezes. This process could take a few hours. When you’re ready to enjoy it again, move the frozen borscht to the fridge about a day before.

And that’s all there is to it—borscht is relatively easy to store and it’s a joy to have some at hand for those crisp winter evenings or when you’re feeling peckish.

A bit of diligence in storage ensures each serving is as enjoyable as the first one, so don’t bypass these steps!

How to Tell If Your Borscht Has Gone Bad

Alright, so you found a long-forgotten container of borscht stashed in the back of your fridge?

Or are you just unsure if it’s still safe to eat? Like any soup, borscht can spoil if it’s been sitting untouched for too long, and trust me, eating spoiled borscht is not a fun experience. As a matter of fact, it can give you food poisoning.

Here are some signs that your borscht might have gone off:

  • Time: If your borscht’s been left out for more than 1-2 hours or stored in the fridge for over 3-4 days, it’s safer to throw it away, even if it seems okay. Harmful bacteria don’t always affect how our food looks, tastes, or feels.4Jarvie, M. (2015, October 22). Food spoilage and food pathogens, what’s the difference? MSU Extension. Retrieved July 20, 2023, from https://www.canr.msu.edu/news/food_spoilage_and_food_pathogens_whats_the_difference
  • Smell: Fresh borscht has a hearty, inviting aroma. If you open your container and it smells weird or unpleasant, it’s time to say goodbye to your borscht.
  • Color: Good borscht usually has a vibrant, appealing hue. If it’s turned darker or looks odd, better to play it safe and discard it.
  • Texture: Borscht should have a pleasant consistency with pieces of vegetables and beetroot. If it’s slimy or overly thick, your borscht might be past its best.
  • Taste: This should be your last resort. If your borscht passes the other checks but tastes strange or sour, it’s time to let it go.

Remember, when in doubt, throw it out! It’s always better to stay on the safe side. Borscht is easy to make, so there’s no need to take unnecessary risks.

Just cook up a new batch and enjoy the robust, comforting flavors of this traditional Eastern European dish.

Wrapping It All Up

And that’s the scoop, home cooks!

This is your go-to guide to not just savoring this robust, satisfying soup, but also ensuring it stays as fresh as the day you cooked it, for each and every serving.

Keep in mind, whether you’re storing your borscht in the fridge or the freezer, preserving its freshness for those cold winter nights is a piece of cake if you follow the straightforward storage steps we’ve provided.

And always remember, if your borscht seems a bit off—whether in smell, color, texture, or taste—it’s always safer to toss it.

Know your author

Written by

Dim is a food writer, cookbook author, and the editor of Home Cook World. His first book, Cooking Methods & Techniques, was published in 2022. He is a certified food handler with Level 1 and Level 2 Certificates in Food Hygiene and Safety for Catering, and a trained cook with a Level 3 Professional Chef Diploma.