My question is similar to this one, but about store-bought jam.

What is the shelf-life of store-bought jam – i.e. commercially prepared major brands – if not opened?

Are the processes or ingredients for preservation of mass-produced jam superior to at-home sterilization of home-made jam?

Quite simply: I have an unopened jar of jam purchased 18 months ago. Good to eat now, or not?

3 Answers 3


According to the Smucker's web site, their products will last 24 months from the date of production. They should also have a use by date on the label.

According to Shelf Life Advice, it should be good at least one year from the purchase date, although they recognize that it's not exact. I'd say that you could probably try it -- if it's unopened, the sterilization as well as the high sugar content should work in your favor. (It's also better if it's stored in a cool, dark place -- you weren't keeping it on your windowsill, were you?)

  • Coincidentally, it is a Smucker's jam :-) Thanks. Commented Aug 15, 2010 at 14:19

Jam and jelly have VERY long shelf lives both in the cupboard, unopened as well as in the refrigerator. The acidic environment and concentration of sugar make it an inhospitable environment for bacterial growth.

Typically the only changes you'll see are darkening of color (unopened in the cupboard) and possible "sugaring" in the refrigerator (development of sugar crystals). Flavor can diminish over time too. There's very little need to be concerned about it being safe for consumption....mainly palatability will be affected with age.


It took some time to get a really honest answer for jams & jellies stored on the shelf at room temp. Most said 1 year, some two. Only a couple pointed out, as above, that such preserves can (under good storage conditions) last almost indefinitely. If their seal is air tight so they are not exposed to germs in the air, and if the seal is very durable and remains undamaged, then the acid in addition to the sugar which preserves are loaded with and which is an excellent preservative, preserves can last years.

It seems obvious to me that the reason few have the courage to say that is that merely saying it might expose them, they fear (I think) to legal problems should someone open and eat their 10 year old strawberry jam. It is very possible that could be ok, but only if very specific conditions have been constantly maintained throughout the 10 years with a guarantee that no one has even slightly attempted to open it even once in that period. So . . . can't you just see the problems if you do not put all kinds of red flags around your statements when you mention that preserves can last a real long time? In today's litigious environment, I don't blame them one bit for refusing to commit themselves to the possibility of preserves lasting more than a year or so.

  • The question was, simply, "What is the shelf-life of store-bought jam – i.e. commercially prepared major brands – if not opened?" I've edited out everything that doesn't address that question. If you have a different question, feel free to ask it as a new question - but please do so in a concise, clear way. The community doesn't generally respond well to verbose questions, and things that can be perceived as ranting or demanding.
    – Cascabel
    Commented Sep 5, 2017 at 19:47

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