General Question

ibstubro's avatar

What bottled condiment sauces do you believe/know require refrigeration?

Asked by ibstubro (18765points) May 18th, 2015

I recently threw a bottle of hot sauce away. It was in the cupboard as I believed it indestructible, but, over time, it darkened, then started separating.

Today I opened a bottle of soy sauce and it didn’t fit in the door of the fridge. The label didn’t mention refrigeration. Should I make space in the fridge?

I know sauces with tomato (BBQ, steak, cocktail, ketchup) darken in color and taste, but what about the more liquid, acid-based sauces?

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20 Answers

JLeslie's avatar

I put almost every condiment in the fridge once opened. The only exceptions in my house are balsamic vinegar and oil (I don’t think of oil as a condiment, but I’ll go ahead and list it). Soy sauce is out at restaurants so it seems like it could be left out? I’m not sure.

kritiper's avatar

Pure mayo doesn’t need refrigeration. Neither does soy or Worcestershire. And vinegar, if that counts as a condiment.

JLeslie's avatar

Worcestershire I keep in the pantry. I forgot about that.

Cosmos's avatar

Depends on the climate you live in because heat will adversely affect many sauces. If in doubt refrigerate because it’s unlikely that the cool temperature will have an adverse effect. Soy sauce will become bitter if not kept refrigerated.

Buttonstc's avatar

Dark Sesame Oil must be refrigerated as it will go rancid fairly quickly regardless of the season. That doesn’t mean it’s unsafe to use but just very unappetizing. If you’ve ever opened a forgotten bag of potato chips way past their expiration date, that’s the unmistakable smell and taste of rancid (from the oil in which they’re fried.)

The problem you mention with the hot sauce I think was primarily due to it separating out from emulsion but wpuld likely be safe to eat.

Hot sauces are generally acid based and therefore not easy to spoil. That’s why Ketchup is ok in spite of containing a pretty hefty amount of sugar. All the Vinegar acts as a preservative. Same with commercial Mayo.

I have never heard nor experienced anything about Soy Sauce turning bitter if not refrigerated and I usually have a lot of it on hand.

Why would it turn bitter? The traditional method (used from antiquity) for making soy sauce has it sitting and fermenting in the hot sun on rooftops for ages and it gets pretty damn hot in many Asian countries. I should think sitting in the normal temperature home would be a relief if anything :)

Do any Asian people you know routinely refrigerate their soy sauces?

2davidc8's avatar

In general, if a condiment has a lot of salt (for example, fish sauce, soy sauce), or a good amount of acidity (for example, all the various kinds of vinegars, balsamic, wine, rice, etc.), it doesn’t need refrigeration, because the salt or vinegar acts as a preservative.

Pachy's avatar

I keep them all in the fridge once I’ve opened them including mustard, ketchup, soy sauce, A-1, Worcestershire, etc. Habit that goes back to childhood.

cazzie's avatar

Soy, vinegar, Worcester sauce don’t need refrigeration.

There are oils that go off quickly and the process is slowed by keeping them in a cool dark place. (long chain fatty acids are sort of my thing…)

Ketchup is usually pretty safe, but that icky stuff that builds up around and dried at the top should be wiped away. My kid likes cold ketchup, so we keep it in the fridge.

Generally, if it has a high percentage of water and sugar (and many do) it will grow microbes. Bacteria will grow in the water and sugars make yeasts and other molds very happy. When there is enough vinegar and salt, the pH will protect the solution from growing the most harmful of the nastiness.

As far as mayo goes, I’d be careful. Follow what the brand says on the container. They have different amounts of salt, sugar and liquid but are made from raw egg. I would read what is recommended on the jar or bottle. You also need to remember that mayo is made from different types of oil and depending on the freshness of that oil, it can oxidize quickly. It is better to keep real mayo in a cool dark place, like your fridge, but leaving it out overnight once won’t kill it. I’m just saying that best practices to keep it good tasting, I keep my real mayo in the fridge.

Vinegar, soy sauce and alcohol are all made by fermentation. They do not need refrigeration, but some tastes are better served cold. I like my beer or white wine chilled, but my soy sauce and sake warm.

marinelife's avatar

All of them last longer and do better with refrigeration once they are opened.

filmfann's avatar

My kids know one good way to freak me out is to leave Mayonnaise out on the counter, even for 5 minutes. Mayo has egg in it, and my old friend Sally Manilla will get you if you leave it out.
Most steak sauces need refrigeration, but you don’t need to keep Soy Sauce cool. I keep most condiments in the fridge, just to be careful.

cazzie's avatar

@filmfann store bought mayo is made with pasturized eggs. Only way you’d give yourself Sally Manilla is if you put store bought mayo on a sandwich made with infected meat. Or kissed your dog after it bathed in the local infected duck pond.

rojo's avatar

Like @JLeslie if I open it I keep it in the refrigerator. Not only does it help preserve it but I know where to find it when I want it.

ibstubro's avatar

I’m having internet problems and I’ve typed and lost 2 answers to this question. Maybe later. Thanks all!

Coloma's avatar

Yep, everything in the fridge, tabasco, ketchup, mustards, salsas, hot sauces,soy sauce, horseradish etc.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Just to be safe, I put it all in the fridge.

ragingloli's avatar

When in doubt, all of them.

sahID's avatar

Everything stays in the fridge except for vinegar & extra virgin olive oil.

ibstubro's avatar

I think I’m going to kick the soy and Worcestershire out. I just don’t have the room since I only use them a few times a year. I have to have 3–5 kinds of mustard in the door at all times.

Mayo and things that get multiple dips with a knife that also swipes yeasty bread will definitely stay. I have trouble with tomato-based products getting dark even in the fridge, so ketchup and BBQ sauce stay.

JLeslie's avatar

@rojo That bit about finding it is valid. I have been known to put an unopened ketchup or mayo in the fridge so my husband doesn’t think we are out of it. He isn’t likely to look in the pantry, he’s more likely to just think we’re out of it.

ibstubro's avatar

Yes, @JLeslie, if I’m the one to ‘call it’ and throw a condiment container out, I put an unopened one in the fridge.

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