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I don't have access to refrigeration, so I use applesauce as an egg substitute. I have a plastic can (it's got a metal & rubber lid like a Mason jar but the container is plastic) of store bought store-generic applesauce that's been sitting on a cool windowsill for... a couple months, I guess? I've used it for baking up to a couple weeks ago with no issues.

Thing is, it's been bubbling, and there was a HUGE release of gas when I opened the can this time. It smells exactly like beer. There's absolutely no trace of "rotten" smell, nor is there mold anywhere on the can - it just smells like Bud Light.

I'm extremely poor and I generally try to avoid throwing away food unless it's actually smells rotten or is molding. Considering I'll be baking a few tablespoons of it as an egg substitute... is it still even remotely safe?

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    I'm surprised it took that long. I've seen unpasteurized apple cider ferment after being stored in the fridge for a couple of weeks. If it's only fermented it should be safe, but it's not going to get any better. You're probably going to end up throwing it away, either because it explodes or it gets so disgusting you wouldn't contemplate eating it. – Ross Ridge Mar 28 '16 at 22:00
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    For a while in my life, I would eat things that I wasn't 100% sure were safe because I felt it was wasteful not to. Then I ate something that I think had mold in it that I just couldn't see or didn't notice. I can't describe how scary, unpleasant, and debilitating food poisoning can be, not to mention expensive, just rest assured that you never, ever want it. Now, "when in doubt, throw it out". I avoid waste by buying smaller amounts of food and eating everything possible before shopping again, and I plan how I'm going to eat everything I buy. – Todd Wilcox Mar 29 '16 at 12:29
  • Just a note regarding the 'cool' windowsill -- odds are, there's still sunlight (even if north-facing), so the glass jar can act as a small greenhouse. You might be better off keeping stuff in a dark place, even if it doesn't seem quite as cool. If you have access to water, and a breeze, you might want to look into making a 'zeer pot'. – Joe Mar 29 '16 at 16:28
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    "I don't have access to refrigeration, so I use applesauce as an egg substitute" - What gave you that idea? Applesauce needs refrigeration just as eggs do. It even says so on the jar... – SnakeDoc Mar 29 '16 at 17:00
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    @SnakeDoc I am not a smart man. – Schilcote Mar 30 '16 at 16:44
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It sounds like it's fermented, and more harmful bacteria or mold could definitely have grown without being visible.

So it's not safe, in that there's definitely some risk. It's hard to evaluate exactly how risky it is. It sounds like you're already routinely taking risks by eating iffy food that's not obviously rotten or moldy, so you certainly could choose to take that risk here. I'd really advise against it, though.

Remember, food poisoning isn't just about stomachaches. If you end up in the hospital, it's going to cost you a lot more than a replacement jar of applesauce.


As a side note, applesauce generally requires refrigeration. The jar you have almost certainly says "refrigerate after opening." So it may not be a good choice for an egg substitute. You might want to look into actually shelf-stable substitutes. If applesauce is working for you, flax (or chia) or mashed banana might be good options. Flax and chia are totally shelf-stable, and while bananas don't last forever you can at least buy them as you need them.

  • Applesauce cups may be another possibility - each cup should be shelf-stable, and there would be much less needing to be used up quickly once it is opened as compared to a larger jar. Or else actual egg substitute or even dehydrated egg (ie, camping supply), as both are shelf-stable. – Megha Jul 19 '17 at 20:34

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