Jet Puffed marshmallow cream is a beloved ingredient used in desserts, hot chocolate, and as a fun snack on its own. Its light, pillowy texture makes it an irresistible addition to sweets. But because it contains dairy ingredients like milk and whey, some people wonder if it needs to be stored in the refrigerator after opening. Here is a comprehensive look at whether Jet Puffed marshmallow cream requires refrigeration, proper storage methods, shelf life, and signs of spoilage.
No, Jet Puffed marshmallow cream does not need to be refrigerated after opening. The ingredients and packaging create an environment where microorganisms cannot easily grow. As long as the jar is properly sealed and stored in a cool, dry place, it can be kept at room temperature for extended periods.
Even though Jet Puffed marshmallow cream contains dairy ingredients, it has a long shelf life due to:
- Low moisture content – Water activity below 0.80 prevents microbial growth
- High sugar content – Sugar binds with water molecules inhibiting microbial growth
- Low pH – The acidic environment prevents bacterial growth
- Preservatives – Added preservatives inhibit mold and yeast
- Air-tight packaging – Keeps out oxygen and moisture
These intrinsic and extrinsic factors work together to create an environment where dangerous microorganisms cannot thrive. As a result, refrigeration is not required from a food safety standpoint.
Low Moisture Content
Marshmallow cream contains 20% water which classifies it as a low moisture food. Low moisture foods have a water activity (aw) below 0.85. Water activity measures the availability of water that can promote bacterial, mold, and yeast growth. With a low aw, there is not enough available water for most pathogens to grow.
High Sugar Content
Sugar is hygroscopic, meaning it attracts and binds to water molecules. This leaves less water available for microorganisms to use for growth. Jet Puffed contains both corn syrup and sugar which allows it to resist spoilage.
The pH of marshmallow creme is slightly acidic, around 5.5-6.0. Most bacteria grow best at a neutral pH of around 7. The acidic environment prevents many pathogens from growing.
Jet Puffed includes both potassium sorbate and polysorbate 60. Potassium sorbate inhibits mold and yeast growth. Polysorbate 60 is an emulsifier that also has antimicrobial properties.
The sturdy plastic jar and screw-top lid prevent air from getting in. Lack of oxygen and low moisture content inside the packaging creates an environment where bacteria cannot thrive.
To get the most shelf life out of an opened jar of marshmallow creme, proper storage is important:
- Keep tightly sealed – Press lid tightly onto jar after each use
- Store in a cool, dry place – Avoid hot areas like near oven or in direct sunlight
- Refrigerate after opening if not using often – Cold temperatures prolong shelf life
- Use clean utensils – Don’t re-dip dirty utensils back into jar
- Watch for signs of spoilage – Discard if changes in texture, color, odor
With proper storage techniques, an opened jar of marshmallow creme will easily last 2-3 months at room temperature. For maximum freshness, use within 4-6 months and refrigerate after opening if you won’t use it often.
An unopened jar of Jet Puffed marshmallow creme has a shelf life of 24 months or more. This long shelf life is attributed to the product’s low moisture content, preservatives, and air-tight packaging.
Once opened, the shelf life becomes shorter but still remains stable at room temperature for an extended period. Here are some general guidelines for shelf life after opening:
- Pantry/cupboard: 2-3 months
- Pantry refrigerated after opening: 4-6 months
- Freezer: 12 months
If properly stored using the recommendations above, marshmallow creme will retain optimal flavor and texture well beyond its expiration date printed on the jar.
Signs of Spoilage
Although marshmallow creme has an extended shelf life, it can eventually spoil. Signs that your opened jar of marshmallow creme may be spoiled include:
- Liquification – Cream takes on a runny, liquid-like consistency
- Mold growth – Fuzzy mold visible on the surface
- Color changes – Cream darkens or takes on a yellow tint
- Separation – Water separates leaving a thin liquid layer on top
- Off odors – Smells sour, rancid, or unpleasant
- Off flavors – Tastes bitter, tangy, or unpleasant
If you notice any of these signs of spoilage in your marshmallow cream, it’s best to discard it. Consuming spoiled marshmallow creme can potentially cause foodborne illness.
Uses for Marshmallow Creme
Because it’s smooth, fluffy, and sweet, marshmallow creme is a versatile ingredient used in a variety of desserts and treats. Here are some of the most popular ways to use Jet Puffed marshmallow creme:
On Graham Crackers
A classic snack or dessert is a graham cracker sandwich with marshmallow creme in the middle. The crunchy crackers pair perfectly with the light sweet cream.
In Hot Cocoa
Adding a big dollop of marshmallow creme to a mug of hot cocoa takes it to the next level. It melts and incorporates evenly to create a rich, creamy chocolate drink.
On Waffles or Pancakes
Slathering waffles or pancakes with marshmallow creme is a fun twist on breakfast. It also pairs well with fruit toppings.
Blending marshmallow creme into milkshakes adds thickness, sweetness, and that signature fluffiness. It’s especially good in chocolate shakes.
As a Fruit Dip
Fresh strawberries, apple slices, and banana pieces taste delicious when dipped into marshmallow creme. The sweet cream perfectly complements the fruit.
Marshmallow creme can be used to make patties for rice cereali treats, no-bake cookies, fluffernutter fudge, and so much more. Its versatility makes it a staple ingredient in desserts and baked goods.
As a Spread
Use marshmallow creme just like you would use peanut butter or jam. Spread it on slices of bread or toast for a sweet breakfast treat or snack.
Marshmallow creme is high in calories and carbohydrates, low in protein, and contains no fiber. Here is the nutrition information for a 2 tablespoon serving of Jet Puffed marshmallow creme:
As you can see, marshmallow creme is almost entirely carbohydrates from sugar. So while delicious, it should be enjoyed in moderation as part of a balanced diet.
Jet Puffed is the most popular brand of marshmallow creme by far, but there are some comparable products to consider:
Fluff is Jet Puffed’s main competitor. It has a nearly identical ingredient list and nutritional profile. Fluff is also shelf-stable when sealed and has a long pantry shelf life.
Kraft Marshmallow Creme
Kraft makes its own version of marshmallow creme as well. It has slightly different flavors due to variations in ingredients like types of sugar. But it can be used interchangeably in recipes.
Homemade Marshmallow Creme
Making homemade marshmallow creme only requires marshmallows, milk powder, vanilla, and powdered sugar. But it won’t have the same preservatives or shelf life as commercial versions.
Marshmallow fluff is made by whipping marshmallow creme to make it lighter and fluffier. It can be used similarly but won’t hold its shape as well for things like sandwich fillings.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is marshmallow cream the same as marshmallow fluff?
Marshmallow fluff and marshmallow cream are very similar – the main difference is that fluff is an aerated version that has been whipped for a lighter, fluffier texture. Both have the same ingredients and uses.
Can you freeze marshmallow cream?
Yes, you can freeze marshmallow cream to extend its shelf life. It will last frozen for up to 1 year. Thaw in the refrigerator before using.
Does marshmallow cream go bad?
Marshmallow cream can go bad eventually if not stored properly, but it has an extended shelf life of about 2-6 months after opening because of its preservatives, low moisture content, and air-tight packaging. Discard if you see signs of spoilage.
What is marshmallow cream made of?
Marshmallow cream contains sugar, corn syrup, modified food starch, gelatin, natural and artificial flavors, tetrasodium pyrophosphate, and coloring (Blue 1).
Is marshmallow cream vegetarian?
No, marshmallow cream is not vegetarian because it contains gelatin which is made from animal bones and skins. There are some vegetarian marshmallow cremes made without gelatin.
In summary, properly stored unopened Jet Puffed marshmallow creme has a long shelf life of over two years. Once opened, it does not require refrigeration due to its low moisture content, preservatives, and packaging. With proper storage techniques, opened marshmallow creme will stay fresh for 2-6 months at room temperature. It can be used in a wide variety of desserts, drinks, snacks, and other fun treats. Just be sure to consume opened jars within a few months and watch for any signs of spoilage.