The Only Way You Should Store Hot Sauce, According to Tabasco

Is there a consensus on whether it’s better to store hot sauce in the fridge or the pantry?

I think there are very few dishes that are not improved by the addition of hot sauce. Whether it be fried eggs, hot chicken, tacos, or Bloody Mary’s, I’m breaking out a bottle of hot sauce to add a zing of acidic spice and balance my meals.

I undoubtedly work my way through the bottles pretty quickly, which means I haven’t given much thought to how long hot sauce lasts, much less how to store it. As a kid, all the hot sauce was kept in the door of our refrigerator, a tradition I’ve maintained as an adult. But recently, at a friend's place, theirs was in the pantry along with other shelf-stable condiments, which got me wondering: What is the best way to store hot sauce?

I sought out some answers by chatting with the experts over at Tabasco, one of the most iconic hot sauce brands out there, to get their expertise.

<p>Simply Recipes / Getty Images </p>

Simply Recipes / Getty Images

What Is the Best Way To Store My Hot Sauce?

Tabasco recommends storing hot sauce in a cool, dry place away from sunlight, like a cupboard or pantry. In the fridge is a-OK too. “The most important thing,” they say, “is that you store your bottle in close reach so it’s easily accessible!” Agreed.

As it turns out, storing hot sauce in the fridge vs. the pantry is a personal preference. The taste won’t be affected using either storage method. “At the end of the day,” says Tabasco, “it’s up to personal preference whether you enjoy your condiment at room temperature or cooled slightly in the refrigerator.”

<p>Simply Recipes / Getty Images </p>

Simply Recipes / Getty Images

How Long Does Hot Sauce Last?

While Tabasco hot sauce is made from just three ingredients—oak-barrel-aged peppers, non-iodized salt, and distilled white vinegar—“the salt and vinegar act as natural preservatives, resulting in a shelf life of five years,” say the experts at the brand.

Curtis Braun, a food safety specialist at South Dakota State University, further explains that the acid in vinegar is what helps to keep these ubiquitous condiments shelf stable for so long.

The acid "can be used to prevent the sauce from oxidizing and also decreasing the pH." Pathogens can easily grow if the pH gets too high, so ingredients are key in determining how long your hot sauce will last. For example, hot sauces with a large percentage of fruit might turn more quickly.

How Do I Know When Hot Sauce Has Gone Bad?

Like any other ingredient in your kitchen, first and foremost, check the expiration date and use that as an indication of when it’s time to toss. Most hot sauces have a multi-year shelf life, as long as you keep an eye on the label, it is safe to consume even if its color changes over time.

Color changes can be prevented by keeping hot sauces in the fridge (especially for those fruit-heavy selections). But remember, “the discoloration process is a purely aesthetic change,” reminds Tabasco. If you see mold, it's time to toss it.

Read the original article on Simply Recipes.