How can I extend the shelf life of the yeast in my food storage?

During covid, yeast for baking bread was non-existent for months and months. When it finally came back in stock, I bought a couple small jars not knowing if I would ever see it on the shelf again.

I am nearing the expiration date on them and don’t want to have them go to waste. I’ll try and bake more bread and use it how I can, but is there anything I can do to make them last longer? They are in a sealed glass jar in a dark and cool cupboard, maybe moving them to the fridge or freezer would help?


  • Comments (6)

    • 4

      This is one of those problems where we don’t use enough of an item to keep much of a supply either. What we (she) does is just buy a few little packs of yeast at every shopping trip. They don’t cost much. They should last 4 months in the fridge and 6 in the freezer. When the tupperware thing she keeps the packs in gets full she tosses the oldest. She uses some periodically of course, trying the old dates first.

      The idea is to have enough fresh dry yeast to start a culture in the event of need which would thereafter be fed and used regularly, presumably.  You can get a wild start from whole wheat berries, grape skins (the “blush” is wild yeast), raisins, etc but it isn’t always successful. 

    • 6

      I buy the 2 lb vacuum sealed bag from Costco and keep it in the freezer in a mason jar with all the air sucked out. I’ve had it last wayyyyyy beyond 6 months. I use it up in about a year. Never saw any issues with it in the freezer.

      • 5

        I also buy the 2 lb vacuum sealed bags of Red Star from Costco.  It is printed with a “Best Buy” date that is two years after the production date.  When I open it, I move it to a jar and keep it in the refrigerator.  I have used yeast that is YEARS and YEARS past the Best Buy date and never had it fail.  (The package suggests storing it in the refrigerator “for optimum results”.)

    • 5

      We store dry yeast in the freezer with great success, though ideally, it should have been placed in the freezer when you first bought it.  Still, if it’s currently working, freezing should extend it’s life by at least several months.  It usually takes us about 4 years to go through two lbs. of yeast, so I can’t speak to how much longer than that it may or may not last, but I don’t notice any reduction in leavening capabilities after four years in the freezer.  I know that’s not really shelf life, but should work if the purpose is just to avoid wasting yeast.

    • 2

      Thank you everyone for the nice comments. I will place my current storage in the freezer to extend the life, continue to rotate through, and in the future buy smaller packets. It’s good to hear that it is still viable after the expiration date.

    • 4

      I will agree with the consensus of yeast in the freezer, I have had it still be viable long after the best by date. Another suggestion I can offer is to start a sourdough starter. It can be kept for years and kinda forces you to make a loaf of bread every week or two. Just a thought if you like sourdough bread.