How Long Does Hot Sauce Last?
How Long Does Hot Sauce Last?
Picture this: you’re cleaning out your fridge, searching for some last-minute spicy seasoning for your barbeque, when low and behold, at the back of your fridge, you find a bottle of hot sauce.
The hot sauce looks and smells fresh, but you don’t even remember when you bought it. That makes you wonder: how long does hot sauce last? And how can you tell when hot sauce is fine to eat or when it’s past its expiration?
Keep reading, and we’ll cover all those questions and more.
Does Hot Sauce Go Bad?
To put it simply, yes: Hot sauce does expire.
We understand that you might want to stock up on some bottles of your favorite hot sauce so that you will always have some on hand — and we don’t blame you! But if any of the bottles in your stockpile are past their expiration date, it’s time to toss them and buy some new ones.
When something goes past its expiration date, that means its freshness cannot be guaranteed. The safest option is to toss your old bottle and go out to buy a new one.
The Longevity of Hot Sauce
The good news is that you have plenty of time to use your sauce before it expires. Most hot sauces can remain unopened for up to two years, including our TRUFF hot sauces.
Just keep in mind that some sauces may need to be put in the fridge. Once you open any of your TRUFF hot sauces, you’ll want to refrigerate them to prolong their lifespan over the following months.
If you forget to refrigerate your hot sauce right away, that’s not a problem. Your hot sauce won’t immediately spoil. Just remember to keep it in the fridge moving forward.
Once you’ve opened and put your sauce in the fridge, you can keep it in there for six months to a year (if you don’t finish it before then).
However, if you are only an occasional hot sauce user and you’re worried you won’t be able to finish a whole bottle in that time, we’ve got the perfect solution for you with our TRUFF Mini Original Hot Sauces.
With our mini bottles, you can still have that luxurious truffle-infused flavor and not worry about how fast you’ll use it. You can keep one of your bottles in the fridge and store the rest until you need them.
Plus, the small sizes are great for taking on picnics and other food outings. Just be sure to put them in a cooler with some ice so they can stay fresh.
How Does Hot Sauce Last So Long?
Now that you know how to store your hot sauce and for how long, let’s look into why hot sauce can last as long as it does.
Hot sauce’s longevity comes from the two key ingredients in most hot sauces, which are vinegar and chili peppers.
We’ll dive into how both of these affect hot sauce differently to keep these delicious, spicy sauces fresh.
Capsaicin in Chili Peppers
The main chemical compound in chili peppers, called capsaicin, is what makes those peppers so spicy. Capsaicin also happens to have strong antibacterial properties, which means that higher amounts of capsaicin may prolong the shelf life of different foods, such as hot sauce.
Benefits of Vinegar for Hot Sauce
Vinegar is a pivotal ingredient in hot sauce because it creates that classically strong acidic flavor we all know and love — and it pairs so well with that addictive heat. Another reason that vinegar is so crucial is that it plays an essential role in the longevity of hot sauces, in or out of the fridge.
Multiple studies have shown that vinegar can extend the shelf life of a food without affecting quality or taste. In addition to doing so, vinegar has been found as an ingredient that can ward off pathogenic — meaning disease-causing — bacteria and prevent bacterial food poisoning.
Basically, vinegar serves to boost hot sauce’s shelf life and increase longevity by diminishing the presence of bacteria.
It is also worth noting that many hot sauces are fermented. This means that hot sauces undergo a preservative chemical process that breaks down their molecules and changes various features of the sauce itself. This can result in some delightful added benefits.
Fermentation can create new, unique hot sauce flavors and aromas.
Fermentation can extend the shelf life and longevity of hot sauce.
Fermentation can enhance the health benefits of the sauce.
Why You Shouldn’t Eat Expired Hot Sauce
Perhaps you’re thinking, why does this matter anyway? Maybe you just want to have your expired hot sauce and eat it too. We’re not saying you can’t, but we strongly caution you against it.
While eating expired hot sauce won’t kill you, there’s a slight chance it could cause immense discomfort. Though hot sauce has all those ingredients that contribute to its long shelf life and antibacterial strength, it’s not unheard of for expired hot sauce to be unfit for consumption.
If your well-aged hot sauce seems to have mold or something unusual around its cap or in the sauce, please don’t consume it.
How To Tell When Your Hot Sauce Is Spoiled
Mold isn’t the only indicator of when your sauce is ready to be tossed. Frankly, mold is far less likely to occur than other, much subtler signs of expiration. Here are some examples of signs that your hot sauce has expired.
1. An Off Smell
An excellent way to tell if your hot sauce is still good is just to smell it. The hot sauce may be bad if it smells different than usual, perhaps less fresh or weaker.
2. Color Change
A change in the color of your sauce can be a strong sign that it’s time to get a new bottle.
However, it is important to note that, once opened, hot sauce can oxidize naturally without being expired. This means that your sauce may turn slightly darker as exposure to air changes its chemical composition.
But if the color is significantly off and you notice any of the other changes mentioned on this list, it may be best to get rid of the old sauce.
3. An Odd Consistency
Depending on your chosen sauce, the consistency of it can be thicker or more watery upon opening. If your sauce has changed a lot from its original consistency, you might want to skip putting it on those wings.
4. A Different Flavor
As your sauce matures, the potency of the heat may decrease, and the taste might be less fresh or weaker than it was the first time you opened the bottle. You can improve this by simply shaking the bottle to ensure that the ingredients are well mixed in case they settled after sitting for too long.
Your hot sauce could also potentially increase in heat over time due as the chili peppers age.
The difference between both of these possibilities and what would happen if the sauce has expired is that expired sauce may taste different rather than just lighter or hotter. The flavor itself may be unusual — a clear sign to toss the bottle.
How To Preserve Your Sauce as Long as Possible
Now that you know how to identify when your sauce does start to expire, what can you do to prolong the longevity of your sauce? Here are some simple ways to preserve your hot sauce’s freshness and prevent it from expiring faster.
1. Clean Your Caps!
With any type of condiment, there’s often a buildup that gets left in the cap. When this happens, cleaning your cap out with a wet cloth or paper towel can ensure that this buildup does not affect the rest of your precious bottle.
2. Don’t Dip or Drop
Although it may be tempting for you to dip your favorite snack into the hot sauce container itself, we would suggest pouring it out into a bowl instead. Dipping food directly into the bottle can affect the remaining sauce and can lead to bacteria or mold.
Keep it simple by pouring out the hot sauce you want and keeping your food out of the bottle.
3. Refrigerate Your Sauce After Opening
Not all hot sauces hold true to this rule, and some may suggest simply leaving your sauce in a cool place without heavy sunlight. However, as previously mentioned, be sure to keep your TRUFF hot sauce in the fridge after opening.
What Comes Next?
So what do you do next with your hot sauce? Enjoy!
Now that you know how to eat your hot sauce safely in a way that keeps it tasty, we want you to know that we’re here to help you choose your sauce and ride that heat wave. Try some of our various hot sauces today, and don’t forget to enjoy yourself the TRUFF way.