Ending the Debate: The Best Place to Store Condiments

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Ketchup

Ketchupskodonnell
Like many condiments, ketchup can be stored either in the refrigerator or on the shelf even after it’s been opened. If you don’t use it regularly, however, opt for the fridge. Unopened ketchup will last at least a year. Once opened, it should be used within a month if stored in the cabinet or within six months if stored in the refrigerator.

Mayonnaise

MayonnaiseiStock/Suzannah Skelton
Unopened mayonnaise stored in the pantry should ideally be used by the “Best By” date on the package (but in most cases will still be good for up to four months after that date). Mayo is made from eggs, so it must be refrigerated once it’s been opened. A jar will last up to three months in the refrigerator and should never be left on the counter for more than an hour or two.

Mustard

MustardiStock/NoDerog
One of the heartier condiments, unopened mustard can still be used after two years on the shelf. Once opened, a jar can be stored for up to two months in the cabinet and a full year in the fridge.

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Peanut butter

Peanut butteriStock/traveler1116
Unopened jars can be stored in the cabinet for up to nine months. Opened jars are fine for at least a month on the shelf, and considerably longer in the refrigerator.

Jams, jellies, and preserves

Jams, jellies, and preservesiStock/akiyoko
Unless they’re homemade or the label instructs otherwise, unopened jars can be stored for at least a year on the shelf, though they will last longer and taste better if refrigerated. Once opened, they’ll last another year in the fridge.

Soy sauce

Soy sauce iStock/BrianMcEntire
When it comes to condiments, soy sauce goes the distance. An unopened bottle will last up to three years on the shelf, while an opened bottle can remain in the fridge for up to two years. (Opened soy sauce can be stored on the shelf for a short time, but it lasts far longer when refrigerated.)

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Barbeque sauce

Barbeque sauceiStock/Carolyn Woodcock
BBQ sauce can remain in the cabinet for a year unopened. Once opened, bottles can be stored up to a month on the shelf and up to four months in the refrigerator.

Capers

CapersiStock/Floortje
Unopened jars of capers packed in brine can be stored on the shelf for up to three years before opening, and up to a year in the refrigerator after opening.

Cocktail sauce

Cocktail sauceiStock/cveltri
Store unopened cocktail sauce in the pantry for up to a year and a half. Opened jars can remain on the shelf for up to a month, but will last four months or more in the refrigerator. (Note: Never dip seafood directly into the jar or pour sauce that has come in contact with seafood back into the jar.)

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Vegetable oil sprays

Vegetable oil spraysiStock/littleny
Handy spray cans of most varieties of oil will last up to two years in the pantry.

Salsa

SalsaiStock/Donald Erickson
Bottled salsa will last up to 18 months on the shelf and up to a month in the refrigerator. If transferred to a freezer bag or air-tight container, it can be frozen for another two months. Fresh salsa should be opened within two weeks or frozen for up to two months. Once opened, eat it or freeze it within a week (ditto for homemade). Sources: StillTasty.com, WebMD.com

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26 thoughts on “Ending the Debate: The Best Place to Store Condiments

  1. I agree that all of this could have been put on one page and saved the wear and tear on an old lady’s patience.

  2. Bread that has dried out a little, sometimes seems more moist again after freezing. But do not refreeze bread or other food items as this breaks down the proteins and they spoil very rapidly. Do not store paints where they will freeze. They will still be viable if mixed up well, but again, the proteins break down in the pigments and the colors will be lighter and no longer useful for touch up.

  3. Bread that has dried out a little, sometimes seems more moist again after freezing. But do not refreeze bread or other food items as this breaks down the proteins and they spoil very rapidly. Do not store paints where they will freeze. They will still be viable if mixed up well, but again, the proteins break down in the pigments and the colors will be lighter and no longer useful for touch up.

  4. Bread that has dried out a little, sometimes seems more moist again after freezing. But do not refreeze bread or other food items as this breaks down the proteins and they spoil very rapidly. Do not store paints where they will freeze. They will still be viable if mixed up well, but again, the proteins break down in the pigments and the colors will be lighter and no longer useful for touch up.

  5. I agree with the people who said youwast our time with 11 separate pages to download when it could all be on one page ..less the pic’s maybe.  I suppose it’s okay for jokes and the like but not for a list of useful information.  Although I really like most of the stuff that you do a lot of the time I simply hit delete because I don’t have the time or the patience to wait for ? pages to download.   Think about it!

  6. Nuts!  How do you think people stored this stuff before regrigeration?  All of them will last much longer than this article says – at least on the planet I live on!

  7. I handle most of your mentioned products as indicated except peanut butter and soy sauce. My peanut butter seems to stay good in my pantry for up to a year opened. I keep soysauce sauce in the pantry for several years opened.

  8. I used to worry about mayo & food poisoning as my mother-in-law has never kept her mayo in the fridge.
    The woman is 90,healthy,& has never gotten sick from any food.Guess she knows a few things.

  9. Thank you for the good tips,thats great. I needed these good tips as I often wondered just how long they would last.Thank you so much.I wondered about peanutbutter as we use alot of it,even our dogs are begging us for their share,also about Mayo,I was never sure. You made my day and many thanks again                            
    Very sincerely, Janie Stover

  10. Last coment referred to oil, but could apply to most anything that can go unrefrigerated.  I’ve never had Soy sauce go bad on the shelf.  Guess cooking destroys any germs, and I never use it “cold”.    A lot of Mayo isn’t really mayo with eggs. Real mayo is probably responsible for most cases of summer food poisoning.   If all else fails, READ THE BOTTLE for storage instructions.

  11. Buy in smaller quantities if you can’t use it before it goes bad, or just leave out what you can use quickly, and refrigerate the rest.  Actually, cloudy is just partially solidified, and it clears up when it’s warmed. This is not a problem

  12. What about olive oil?  That’s been a problem for me.  It seems to go bad if stored on the shelf after opening and gets cloudy if stored in the refrigerator.  Any suggestions?

  13. Actually, as long as mayo is *never* refrigerated, it doesn’t have to be refrigerated once open. It is only if it has been refrigerated once must it then continue to be refrigerated.

    1. This makes no sense at all.  Love to learn the reasoning behind this theory. 

  14. Is it a good idea to regrigerate or freeze bread/rolls/tortillas? I had heard it was bad to do so because of the yeast.
    Austin

    1. It is fine to refrigerate or freeze baked goods.  The problem with refrigerating them is that they dry out quickly.  That isn’t the case with freezing so wrap them well and freeze rather than storing in the refrigerator.

  15. Waiting for 11 pages to load for a tiny blip of info anyone who can read (as in, off the labels of said condiments) is a serious WASTE OF TIME. STOP posting your brain candy on umpteen separate pages. ITS UNNECESSARY. Yoour ADS load just fine on A SINGLE PAGE.

    1. Totally agree! Put it all on one page and stop wasting my time.

  16. the photo is NOT of a vegetable oil spray can. So how long can vegetable oils in bottle be kept?

  17. Oil should be stored in a cool place, preferably on a lower shelf as heat rises. If not stored in a cool place the oil will go rancid fairly quickly, especially if opened.

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