Tabasco is just one of those ingredients that seems to last forever. We never seem pushed to check the label to see if it has gone off. We never seem to have to chuck it out. It just never lets us down. We can just use it as we need it, slowly draining the contents of the bottle over the course of months, or maybe years. Can you even remember the last time you bought Tabasco? Well, we can’t! So that got us thinking. Is it possible for Tabasco to go off? Will it improve with age? Out of sheer curiosity, we decided to go out and find the answers to these questions and more. Read on!
Table of Contents
- Does Tabasco Sauce Go Bad?
- How Do I Store Tabasco Sauce?
- Should You Refrigerate Tabasco Sauce?
- Can You Freeze Tabasco Sauce?
- How Long Does Tabasco Sauce Last?
- How Do I Make Tabasco Sauce Last Longer?
- Signs That Your Tabasco Sauce May Have Gone Off
Does Tabasco Sauce Go Bad?
Though at first it would seem that nothing bacterial could possibly survive in an atmosphere as uninviting as a spicy sauce with a vinegar base, it can happen! That being said, if the bottle is untampered with, you may well be surprised as to how long it can last. In fact, in most cases, Tabasco sauce won’t really go off as such. It is more likely that it will gradually lose potency over time and become bland and will be thrown out for quality purposes. So, it doesn’t exactly age like a fine wine then!
How Do I Store Tabasco Sauce?
Tabasco, due to its high vinegar content, preserves excellently well over long periods of time if stored correctly. Thankfully, it also doesn’t require too much special treatment, so if you follow these simple guidelines it will mean that effectively nothing can go wrong.
If you don’t regularly crack into the hot sauce, you’ll be pleased to know that unopened bottles can store for a long time. So, if you’ve bought a pack of three, you won’t need to worry about having to throw the two unopened bottles away at any point soon. The key is to store the bottles away from sources of heat and direct sunlight. Ideally, they do best in the back of a cool, dark kitchen cabinet. Here, they can effectively be forgotten about for absurdly long periods of time. However, once the bottle is opened, some extra care needs to be taken to ensure that it doesn’t spoil.
The moment a bottle of Tabasco is opened, it comes into contact with the air and the moisture of the kitchen. This unavoidably ends up speeding up the degradation of the Tabasco. Though there is nothing you can do to prevent this, you can draw out the degradation process for a good long while. A lot of people return the bottle to the kitchen cabinet after they have opened it. There isn’t anything wrong with this really, but it isn’t the best method if you want to keep it for a long time. Instead, we would recommend resealing the bottle nice and tightly and putting it straight into the fridge after use. In cold climates, the difference between the two storage techniques will be minimal, but for best results, it is best to cancel out the risk of temperature fluctuations entirely.
Should You Refrigerate Tabasco Sauce?
The straight answer to this question is that it depends. For an unopened bottle, there is no real need to store it in the fridge. However, if the bottle has been opened, it will preserve its quality and color much better if it is kept in the fridge between uses. If you get through bottles of Tabasco as quickly as you would cartons of milk, the Tabasco will store just fine in a kitchen cabinet or anywhere away from sunlight and excess heat.
With some of the more exotic varieties of Tabasco sauce, particularly those that contain fruits, these will require refrigeration full-time.
Can You Freeze Tabasco Sauce?
Tabasco contains enough preservatives that there will never be any need to freeze it. When you get to the next section on how long Tabasco sauce can last, you will understand why!
How Long Does Tabasco Sauce Last?
The simple answer to this is a really long time! Naturally, it does depend somewhat on whether the bottle has been opened or not.
As we mentioned earlier, Tabasco is a remarkably resilient sauce that can pretty much last forever without spoiling. So, in a way, you pretty much never need to worry about it. What it does do, however, is it begins to diminish in quality the further it goes past its production date. A month or two past this date is nothing to worry about, but if you have a bottle that is a decade past it, it probably won’t be worth using. The original flavor Tabasco can still last an incredibly long time though. We reckon that it is likely to be good for up to 5 years after the date that it left the factory. Other varieties will expire much quicker and should probably be made use of within a two-year timeframe. You may be wondering why we are talking in terms of a ‘production date’ as opposed to the usual ‘sell-by’ that is printed on most foods. The reason for this is that Tabasco lists the production date on all of their products.
Because of the preservative qualities of the acidic peppers and the vinegar in Tabasco, an opened bottle can still preserve quite well if stored correctly. In fact, it is better to think of this timeframe in terms of years rather than months. Should it be the case that no foreign bodies have entered the bottle at any point, we would suggest that the bottle will still be good for up to four years after the production date. With the more exotic flavors of Tabasco, this timeframe drops right down to 18 months – still a long time, if you think about it.
How Do I Make Tabasco Sauce Last Longer?
Beyond using the storage tips above, there are also a couple of handy tips that could make your Tabasco keep its flavor and quality for a crazy amount of time. The first is to do with the crust that can occasionally form around the neck of the bottle, particularly older ones. This crust doesn’t do any harm by itself, but it can build-up to the point where it stops the lid from closing fully. To prevent this, simply clean it every now and then with a paper towel. It can also be very beneficial to simply give the bottle a shake every now and then. It sounds simple, but what it does is that it stops the contents of the bottle from separating over time.
Signs That Your Tabasco Sauce May Have Gone Off
Though it is incredibly rare for a bottle of Tabasco to spoil rather than just fade away, it can happen if the bottle hasn’t been treated well. Occasionally, a Tabasco can darken in color. Though generally nothing to worry about, this will also mean that the flavor won’t be as bright as it was before. So, if faced with a bottle of brown Tabasco, it is probably best to simply replace it. Apart from that, the only real concerning thing to be on the lookout for is any form of organic growth or mold developing inside the bottle. Either this or a foul smell that doesn’t smell anything like Tabasco should let you know that some form of foreign body has gotten in there. At this point, the bottle will definitely be unappealing and probably unsafe to use. There is nothing left to do in this event other than to chuck it out.