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The Lowdown on How to Store Condiments

We set the record straight on fridge vs. pantry and how long condiments keep.

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Photography by: Johnny Miller

Everyone knows that condiments have expiration dates, but anecdotally, we’ve seen people spout all sorts of advice on where and how long you should store them. Should they be refrigerated or left at room temperature? Is the expiration date flexible? We decided to end the debate by getting the official word. According to Argyris K. Magoulas at the Office of Public Affairs and Consumer Education in the USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service department, “Most condiments are very stable foods. The refrigeration called for is more for qualitative reasons.”

 

With that in mind, the department developed recommendations for storing all kinds of food and beverages, including condiments. Magoulas also made clear that these guidelines strictly apply to store-bought, commercial products, not homemade, which spoil much more quickly. As food lovers, why wouldn’t we want our condiments to taste as fresh as possible? Here’s how and where to store everything from mustard and mayo to ketchup and soy sauce.

 

Mustard: Unopened, store 1 to 2 years in the pantry. Opened, store 1 year in the fridge.

 

Mayonnaise: Unopened, store 3 to 6 months in the pantry. Opened, store 2 months in the fridge.

 

Ketchup: Unopened, store 1 year in the pantry. Opened, store 6 months in the fridge.

 

Soy sauce: Unopened, store 3 years in the pantry. Opened, store 1 month in the fridge.

 

Barbecue sauce: Unopened, store 1 year in the pantry. Opened, store 4 months in the fridge.

 

Jarred horseradish: Unopened, store 1 year in the fridge. Opened, store 3 to 4 months in the fridge.

 

Vinegar: Unopened or open, store 2 years in the pantry.

 

Worcestershire sauce: Unopened or open, store 2 years in the pantry.

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