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Condiments That Do and Do Not Need Refrigeration

opinionatedchef Dec 6, 2006 06:46 AM

It seems that many people are confused about whatneeds and does not need refrigeration- in the condiments dept. Here's my go at it:

Condiments that DO NOT need refrigeration are those that are primarily made up of:

SUGAR(jams,jellies, honey, maple syrup, caro syrup, molasses etc)
or SALT: soysauce, oyster sauce,fish sauce etc.
or ACID: vinegars, mustard,hot sauce, steak sauce, worc sce.,ketchup
or ALCOHOL, except Wine: madeira,marsala, port, sherry, liquers,etc
all OILs( but those that are nut or seed based can more easily go rancid in hot weather, so best to keep refrigtd)

Condiments/sauces that MUST BE refrigated are those that are NOT primarily made up of the above ingredients AND that contain either:
VEGETABLES( i.e. vinaigrettes with garlic or shallots or onion or fresh herbs)
or FRUIT (Ponzu sauce, salad dressings w/ citrus juice or other fruit, bottled citrus juices etc)
or DAIRY (i.e.mayo or creamy salad dressings, tadziki sauce etc)
NUT OILS (refrig staves off rancidity)

I'm sure i've left out some things, but i hope this can be a helpful basic guide.

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  1. c
    C70 RE: opinionatedchef Dec 6, 2006 12:01 PM

    "mustard, hot sauce, steak sauce, worc sce.,ketchup"

    I keep all of the above in the fridge, but I think that ketchup is the only one that requires it. The tomatoes in ketchup can start to ferment and make it taste "off". In warm weather, it can actually explode when you open it.

    3 Replies
    1. re: C70
      absurdnerdbird RE: C70 Sep 28, 2011 02:10 PM

      I used to keep ketchup in the fridge. For the past few years, I keep large opened (and re-closed) containers of ketchup in the pantry, sometimes for several weeks or more. No problems, fermentation, or off taste.

      1. re: absurdnerdbird
        scubadoo97 RE: absurdnerdbird Sep 28, 2011 02:14 PM

        How about greater than 6 months without change in color, texture or taste. Bottom line is everyone has to do what they think is right and safe.

      2. re: C70
        HUNGRYMAN8 RE: C70 Jun 2, 2014 09:00 AM

        Ah no. Ketchup is cooked tomato's. No refrigeration necessary. Who likes cold ketchup on hot food anyway?

      3. pitu RE: opinionatedchef Dec 6, 2006 12:12 PM

        sugar is not a preservative
        sugar is tasty fuel for yeast and mold to eat!

        check the many reports of fuzzy maple syrup on the condimentia threads here
        if you have any doubts

        1 Reply
        1. re: pitu
          tastesgoodwhatisit RE: pitu Oct 10, 2010 08:02 PM

          Sugar *can* be a preservative, but one in large amounts. For example, jam needs to be about 67 percent sugar by weight in order to keep properly, and doesn't need to be pressure processed. If I remember correctly the physical mechanism is the same as for salt, but not as efficient as sugar is a more complex molecule (I don't have my McGee handy at the moment).

          You can get mold on the surface of opened jam, where there is more condensed water, though.

          So sugar based condiments can be stored at room temperature if the sugar concentration is high enough. I keep honey, maple syrup and molasses at room temperature, although you have to keep an eye on the maple syrup, and strain and boil if it gets mold on the top. And I have to carefully keep the outside of the bottle or I get ants.

          In general, I will refrigerate anything you stick a spoon in (vs a squeeze bottle) regardless of category, because using the spoon increases the chances of contaminating organisms being introduced. So the jar of mustard goes in the fridge, but the squeeze bottle doesn't.

          We also leave out the Tabasco sauce and Worcestershire/Tonkatsu sauce.

        2. YoYoPedro RE: opinionatedchef Dec 6, 2006 01:18 PM

          There are a lot of crossover items within your lists. E.g. ketchup contains fruit, as do jams and jellies. Both will be happy to ferment and spoil if not refrigerated. There are mold and yeast spores in the air that everything is exposed to once opened.

          From the French's Food Service website:

          Q: Does FRENCH'S® Mustard need to be refrigerated?
          A: The FRENCH'S® Dijon Mustard can lose heat and distinct flavor, if left unrefrigerated, so we encourage refrigeration. For all other mustards, refrigerating will help maintain its flavor; however, if you prefer your mustard to be room temperature, it is not necessary. There are no ingredients in mustard that spoil. "Refrigerate After Opening" is not required for food safety. It is recommended to maintain optimal product flavor.

          I would guess that this logic might apply to many of the other items mentioned, i.e. that refrigeration is not REQUIRED to retard spoilage, but it might prolong its useful life. Better safe than sorry, though. Food poisoning is no fun. As my sister-in-law, a Food Science grad from UW always said, "Life begins at 40." She was referring to 40 degrees Fahrenheit. It was a saying from a Microbiology class, I think. She was adamant about immediately wrapping and refrigerating leftovers, etc.

          1. Candy RE: opinionatedchef Dec 6, 2006 01:49 PM

            I have had good Grade B maple syrup get moldy. Mine is now refrigerated. I have 5 good mustards in my fridge. Each jar is labled refrigerate after opening. My catsup is also labled refrigerate after opening. My expensive bottle of Saba can go to mold so it stays in my fridge. My 2 bottles of Minus 8 vinegar are refrigerated, they are too expensive to take any chances with.

            1. w
              WestchesterFoodie RE: opinionatedchef Dec 6, 2006 01:56 PM

              Vinegar and alcohol stop the fermentation process. Port wine is sweet because alcohol is introduced half way through through the fermentation process. Any item with vinegar is safe to leave outside the fridge. Vinegar is so powerful that it's the primary reason people don't get salmonella with hollandaise sauce. It not only preserves the substance it's in, but destroys harmful byproducts. Minus 8 vinegar? Get that out of the fridge and keep it in the cupboard. I sip that stuff.

              3 Replies
              1. re: WestchesterFoodie
                cgfan RE: WestchesterFoodie Aug 31, 2009 10:10 PM

                Just a little side note on the vinegar: If it has been pasteurized it should be no problem. However if it has not been pasteurized, i.e. it contains a live culture or Mother of Vinegar, then unless there is no airspace in the bottle it should be refrigerated, or eventually the vinegar will simply turn to water.

                1. re: cgfan
                  mateo21 RE: cgfan Sep 27, 2011 10:41 PM

                  Huh? How does vinegar turn to water? Most vinegars with mothers are being fermented from an alcohol containing, water-based liquid into vinegar (an acetic acid, water-based liquid).

                  1. re: mateo21
                    cgfan RE: mateo21 Oct 1, 2011 02:22 PM

                    The acetic acid will eventually convert into CO2 and water so long as oxygen is present.

              2. c
                C70 RE: opinionatedchef Dec 6, 2006 02:22 PM

                Ketchup is full of vinegar and it goes very bad in warm weather.

                13 Replies
                1. re: C70
                  Andiereid RE: C70 Dec 6, 2006 02:24 PM

                  No kidding. And if you put a bottle of it in a warm place, it will explode on you. BLAM! (Happened to me at a Chili's once with a bottle that had been sitting in a sunny window all day.)

                  1. re: Andiereid
                    hotoynoodle RE: Andiereid Dec 6, 2006 04:02 PM

                    once gave a customer a bottle of ketchup for his burger. he opened it up, and smoke came out! he said, "is it supposed to do that?" i was mortified.

                    1. re: hotoynoodle
                      C70 RE: hotoynoodle Dec 6, 2006 05:26 PM

                      I worked on a patio in Toronto and our ketchups mid-summer were downright scary!

                      1. re: C70
                        fadista RE: C70 Oct 10, 2010 08:45 PM

                        Assuming non-extreme weather, apparently ketchup needs to be refrigerated if it is in a plastic bottle, but not if it is in a glass bottle. This is because the caps on glass bottles seal tighter.

                        (Source: professor who worked as consultant to ketchup company.)

                        1. re: fadista
                          bigjoker RE: fadista May 10, 2012 06:21 PM

                          I live in Michigan, and our family for years has not refrigerated ketchup, I just looked on my bottle of ketchup, when did they start putting "refrigerate after opening" on the label, I haven't looked in years, but years ago, no ketchuo had refrigerate after opening on the label.

                          1. re: bigjoker
                            John E. RE: bigjoker May 11, 2012 09:52 PM

                            I have noticed the 'refrigerate after opening' on ketchup bottles for a few years. Most of them actually say, 'for best results' refrigerate after opening. I think this is a factor of attorneys more than anything else. If the opened ketchup is dark and discolored I would not eat it.

                          2. re: fadista
                            Caroline1 RE: fadista May 12, 2012 01:05 AM

                            fadista says: "Assuming non-extreme weather, apparently ketchup needs to be refrigerated if it is in a plastic bottle, but not if it is in a glass bottle. This is because the caps on glass bottles seal tighter.

                            (Source: professor who worked as consultant to ketchup company.)"
                            * * * * * * * * * *

                            Has nothing to do with caps on glass bottles sealing better. Has everything to do with plastics -- especially the flexible type -- being gas permeable. in fact,logic says that the cap would seat tighter on plastic simply because it is more maleable than glass and will mold itself to the cap threads better. So much for the professor who worked as a consultant!

                            1. re: fadista
                              C70 RE: fadista Jun 24, 2014 08:08 AM

                              I've seen glass bottled ketchup ferment, bubble, and explode on a hot day. Fridge.

                              1. re: C70
                                John E. RE: C70 Jun 24, 2014 10:53 AM

                                Our house is climate controlled. I never refrigerate ketchup. If it were on a patio, then of course, at the end of the day, or at the end of service to a particular table, then I agree that it should be refrigerated.

                                1. re: C70
                                  HUNGRYMAN8 RE: C70 Jun 30, 2014 06:37 AM

                                  Does not mean it is bad to consume. My grandmother used to make fermented peppers in an oak barrel. After months, a layer of thick mold would form on the surface. Under that was fermented peppers. She would go through the mold layer and scoop up the healthy peppers underneath for consumption. Not sure if you know, but fermented foods are probably the best form of nutrition there is on earth. Fermentation needs to be common place once again for a healthy population instead of the plastic containers and processed foods we eat. Plastic and food or beverage does not mix.

                                  1. re: HUNGRYMAN8
                                    C70 RE: HUNGRYMAN8 Jun 30, 2014 11:13 AM

                                    It might be fit to consume but it takes on a horrible flavor, and I prefer my ketchup uncarbonated, personally.

                                    1. re: C70
                                      John E. RE: C70 Jun 30, 2014 11:29 AM

                                      How long are you leaving your ketchup in the cupboard and at what temperature for the results you have described?

                                      1. re: C70
                                        HUNGRYMAN8 RE: C70 Jul 1, 2014 06:01 AM

                                        Never had a problem with ketchup. I leave it on the counter until it is finished. Around 3-8 weeks.

                        2. OCAnn RE: opinionatedchef Dec 6, 2006 04:44 PM

                          My soy sauce says "refrigerate after opening."

                          7 Replies
                          1. re: OCAnn
                            pescatarian RE: OCAnn Dec 6, 2006 04:53 PM

                            I think that's the rule for any condiment - if it needs to be refrigerated, the label will say it does - and yes, as others have mentioned above, sugar is not a preservative and jam, etc. should be refrigerated.

                            1. re: pescatarian
                              pitu RE: pescatarian Dec 6, 2006 05:25 PM

                              as some have mentioned, there are some products labelled for the fridge (soy sauce being one of them, lots of salt) but a product that doesn't really *need* the fridge...my mom *never* but that LaChoy bottle in the fridge and here I live to tell the tale.

                              anybody know what they do in Japan with shoyu?

                              1. re: pitu
                                opinionatedchef RE: pitu Dec 6, 2006 08:58 PM

                                as with many of the condiments i have mentioned that do not need refrig, the local populace does not refrig it. that is certainly true in japan w/ soysauce. as a matter of fact, for a lot of the products i have mentioned, the whole purpose of USING a lot of them in a given country's cuisine, was that they act as preservatives and/ or preservative helpers.

                                1. re: pitu
                                  elfchild RE: pitu Nov 22, 2010 06:59 AM

                                  Soy sauce is not refrigerated in Japan. I buy a gallon to refill my bottle (lasts about a year - I'm half Japanese and cook a lot of Asian food) and refrigerate neither. I do not keep shoyu in a little ceramic serving pitcher like they do in Japan because it does evaporate and we do not use it daily. Nor do I refrigerate fish sauce which we use quite slowly.

                                  We successfully keep half a stick of butter at room temperature in a covered ramekin (the dog does not generally surf the table but butter is not safe) both in Southern CA and SC. We do not go through it quickly enough to keep an entire stick out before it tastes off.

                              2. re: OCAnn
                                cheesecake17 RE: OCAnn Sep 1, 2009 11:52 AM

                                My grandma's Costco-sized plastic jug of tofu says "refrigerate after opening." But, my smaller glass bottle- same brand- doesn't say to put in the fridge. I wonder why>?

                                1. re: cheesecake17
                                  OCAnn RE: cheesecake17 Sep 1, 2009 01:18 PM

                                  Tofu? ;)

                                  Hmmm...maybe that way, the big bottle keeps (and isn't exposed to heat, air, etc) while the small bottle is used frequently enough that exposure doesn't affect it as much.

                                  1. re: OCAnn
                                    cheesecake17 RE: OCAnn Sep 2, 2009 07:42 AM

                                    I was typing soy sauce, but thinking tofu- sorry! I meant soy sauce...

                              3. chowser RE: opinionatedchef Dec 6, 2006 05:28 PM

                                How about all natural peanut butter? Some say to refrigerate after opening, some don't but they're all the same ingredients--peanut, and maybe salt. I've kept the jars upside down to try to make spreading easier but some are hard to spread cold.

                                6 Replies
                                1. re: chowser
                                  DanaB RE: chowser Dec 6, 2006 08:30 PM

                                  Nut butters can go rancid if left too long unrefrigerated. If you use your peanut butter quickly, I wouldn't worry about refrigerating it, but if you are like me, and take around 6 months to go through a jar, by all means refrigerate it. I stir in the oil before refrigerating and separation is not a problem.

                                  As for some of the other items on the original poster's list, I would definitely NOT leave jams, jellies and natural maple syrup unrefrigerated, as they can and will grow mold if left out after opening.

                                  The only things I don't refrigerate are oils, vinegars, and some sauces -- hot sauce, steak sauce, worschestershire.

                                  Salt, sugar and honey do not need to be refrigerated.

                                  I refrigerate my mayonnaise, mustard, ketchup and open salad dressings, although you do not need to refrigerate commercial mayo (it does NOT contain dairy) and mustard.

                                  1. re: DanaB
                                    opinionatedchef RE: DanaB Dec 6, 2006 09:04 PM

                                    danab, i don't know what you mean by commercial mayo; in my bus i use large commercial jars of hellman's and it CERTAINLY contains eggs.
                                    maybe you meant to say something else?...

                                    it's so weird that so many think jams and jellies get moldy; i've never seen that in my life. i wonder if those times that jam has turned moldy- if the jar had been contaminated by something that DOES need refrigeration....like butter or something....

                                    1. re: opinionatedchef
                                      DanaB RE: opinionatedchef Dec 6, 2006 09:55 PM

                                      (1) Eggs are not dairy. (Dairy products are from cows.)

                                      (2) Commercial mayonnaise has preservatives and chemicals in it that keep it from spoiling (unlike, say, homemade mayonnaise, which contains raw eggs, which could spoil if not refrigerated). Although commercial mayonnaise does have "egg" in it, it is not raw egg and it has been treated so that it will not spoil.

                                      1. re: opinionatedchef
                                        jen kalb RE: opinionatedchef Dec 7, 2006 12:49 AM

                                        In general, jams and jellies can stay out, but its possible that they will be contaminated and mold. maple syrup sometimes molds, even in the refrig, but you can remove the mold, boil and repackage successfully.
                                        Nut oils (Hazel, walnut) need to be refrigerated, they are very delicate. small bottles help too in reducing oxidation by limiting surface area.
                                        soy - doesnt need refrig, tho sometimes I wonder whether it would last longer if put in there - its worth buying the small bottles IMO
                                        hot pepper sauces - sit on my cabinet shelves and deteriorate. Probably would last better in the fridge.
                                        Pomegranate molasses, vinegars - work fine at room temp.
                                        Tahina/sesame paste - seems to last fine a room temp.
                                        Sesame oil ditto - lasts at least 6 mo in my kitchen without refrigeration - I recently learned this after refrigerating it religiously for many years.
                                        Mustard will sit on the shelf but gradually deteriorate - the refrig slows this process materially.
                                        Honey - never any problems on the shelf - if it dries up or crystalizes, just take the metal lid off and microwave for a bit.

                                        1. re: opinionatedchef
                                          bigjoker RE: opinionatedchef May 10, 2012 06:23 PM

                                          I keep both in the fridge

                                          1. re: opinionatedchef
                                            greygarious RE: opinionatedchef Jun 24, 2014 11:46 AM

                                            IME, when I've had jams that get mold in the fridge, it's likely that a bread crumb or two have made it from knife to jar.

                                      2. BeaN RE: opinionatedchef Dec 7, 2006 12:34 AM

                                        Your mileage may vary depending on the climate that you live in.

                                        Here in the sub-tropics, many things mold that you would never see mold up north.

                                        The Two Fat Ladies didn't refrigerate their eggs, but they lived in the UK, not south Florida.

                                        1. s
                                          ShadowmancerLord RE: opinionatedchef Aug 31, 2009 09:49 PM

                                          Alright, let me set the record straight here.

                                          First of all, yes, acidic substances will not harbor bacteria. It is possible for them to grow mold, however, and they can lose flavor if left in the heat. (Like mustard and ketchup, and vinegar as well) But, usually the temperature of a house with AC is fine; I live in Florida and leave all three of these out, and never have problems.

                                          Secondly, anything with a lot of salt or a lot of sugar in it will also not grow bacteria. Bacteria cannot grow in a saline solution, or. . . whatever you call something sugary, I dunno. This would include ketchup, mustard, soy sauce, steak sauce, whatever.

                                          And, of course, mayo. The mayo you buy in the stores is made with pre-pasteurized eggs and PURPOSELY treated with lemon juice, salt, and/or vinegar, depending on the manufacturer, precisely so that it IS safe.

                                          But, yes, anything such as relish or salad dressing should be kept in the fridge, because the parts in it that are plant matter will rot over time. And juices will of course spoil; they won't ACTUALLY make you sick if you drink them (in fact, a Spanish pork recipe I've made calls specifically for sour orange juice) but they don't taste very good.

                                          12 Replies
                                          1. re: ShadowmancerLord
                                            MartinDC RE: ShadowmancerLord Sep 1, 2009 06:49 AM

                                            Condiments could go unrefrigerated if they are used up within a certain period of time. I imagine the Japanese go through a bottle of soy sauce much quicker than the typical American. My sister has an unheated kitchen in Maine, and leaves butter and freshly laid eggs on the counter (not in summer). But she cooks and bakes a lot and they don't sit around for long.

                                            But, apart from spoilage, every organic compound breaks down over time when exposed to air, light, and heat. So if it doesn't actually make you sick, you are experiencing degraded quality, less or off flavors. I've had a bottle of Swedish mustard in the fridge for about 9 months now. It's beginning to taste like chalk.

                                            1. re: MartinDC
                                              queenofzoo RE: MartinDC Oct 10, 2010 09:01 AM

                                              I am from the Mississippi Gulf Coast. I just called a casino here and the manager of one of the restaurants just told me that they DO NOT refrigerate the Hellman's Mayo.(industrial). I asked her why not, because if it has EGGS in in, it can cause tomaine, somanilla, etc. She said that it has DEHYDRATED EGGS. I always refrg. my mayo because my grandmother caught tomaine from mayo years ago.

                                              1. re: queenofzoo
                                                Sooeygun RE: queenofzoo Oct 12, 2010 01:00 PM

                                                Ptomaine poisoning is an outdated term for food poisoning from when it used to be thought the food poisoning was caused by the ptomaines (broken-down proteins in food). It is now known that food poisoning can be from a variety of bacteria like EColi, salmonella etc.

                                                And mayo probably wouldn't cause salmonella as the eggs are pasteurized.

                                                1. re: queenofzoo
                                                  hotoynoodle RE: queenofzoo Nov 22, 2010 07:23 AM

                                                  it's more often the protein coated with mayo that's the culprit: chicken/ham/egg salad, etc.

                                                  1. re: hotoynoodle
                                                    John E. RE: hotoynoodle May 16, 2012 09:03 PM

                                                    In potato salad it's the potatoes that go bad and make people sick not the mayo.

                                                    1. re: John E.
                                                      Caroline1 RE: John E. May 17, 2012 12:26 AM

                                                      Sometimes. But as the saying goes, there's more than one way to skin a cat. There are also many ways for food born illness to occupy potato salad! In the case of salmonella, for example, it can start as a small cluster of baddies in a corner of a large casserole of potato salad and grow from there. If there are enough people at the picnic and there isn't enough time for the colony to take over the whole thing, people who take servings from the contaminated spots will get sick while those who have servings from the uncontaminated areas will not. Hence the saying, "Well, it COULDN'T have been the potato salad that made you sick because I had some too and I'm just fine!" WRONG!

                                                      But there are other problems. Years ago, when I was still living in El Paso, there was a huge outbreak of botulism from my favorite Greek restaurant. A new hand in the kitchen worked late to finish the potatoes for skordalia the next day. They were in the oven baking, wrapped in aluminum foil when the rest of the staff left. When they were finally done, the employee decided it would be okay to leave them out overnight to cool because they were wrapped in aluminum foil, so he didn't bother putting them in the walk-in. As a result, I think it was three people who died and a bunch got sick from eating the skordalia the next day. The details are fading a bit in my memory, but you can find it on the web by searching botulism from skordalia, or something like that. The restaurant closed after that.

                                                      But I also got a heck of a case of tummy problems from eating cold salmon coated with mayonnaise on a flight back in the day when European airlines served food on china plates with actual silverware, and served fish on Fridays. I ate the whole thing andlived to regret it! KLM gets the credit on that one.

                                                      ANY food can make you sick or even kill you if it is not handled properly from harvest to look out tummy, here it comes!

                                                2. re: MartinDC
                                                  twodales RE: MartinDC Oct 10, 2010 08:58 PM

                                                  Love Swedish mustard....

                                                3. re: ShadowmancerLord
                                                  opinionatedchef RE: ShadowmancerLord Nov 22, 2010 05:25 PM

                                                  shadowman, that interpretation of the ingredient is faulty. sour orange is a specific type of fruit. american recipes often suggest a combo of orange and grapefruit juice to approximate the flavor of the juice from a sour orange.

                                                  1. re: ShadowmancerLord
                                                    Chowbird RE: ShadowmancerLord Jun 7, 2012 12:36 PM

                                                    ShadowMancerLord wrote:

                                                    >>(in fact, a Spanish pork recipe I've made calls specifically for sour orange juice) but they >>don't taste very good.

                                                    Er, I'll bet you my last $10 the recipe means juice from a sour orange (Seville orange), not rancid orange juice! You might be able to find Seville oranges (or canned juice) if you have a local Hispanic market. You can also usually find dried sour orange PEEL in any homebrew-supply store (the only places I've ever seen it).

                                                    1. re: Chowbird
                                                      John E. RE: Chowbird Jun 7, 2012 02:50 PM

                                                      Or mix equal parts orange and lime juice to come up with the amount of sour orange juice needed for the recipe.

                                                    2. re: ShadowmancerLord
                                                      Chowbird RE: ShadowmancerLord Oct 31, 2013 12:57 PM

                                                      Shadowmancerlord, are you sure your pork recipe calls for spoiled orange juice instead of Seville orange juice? Sevilles are a tart, bitter variety and rumored to be the secret ingredient in authentic mojo.

                                                      1. re: ShadowmancerLord
                                                        alkapal RE: ShadowmancerLord Jun 24, 2014 07:15 AM

                                                        i don't always refrigerate pickles.

                                                      2. yamarat2 RE: opinionatedchef Sep 27, 2011 09:24 AM

                                                        Oyster sauce, fish sauce & ketchup DO need refrigeration!!!!
                                                        I think it is dangerous to suggest that they don't!

                                                        7 Replies
                                                        1. re: yamarat2
                                                          ricepad RE: yamarat2 Sep 27, 2011 11:38 AM

                                                          No they don't and no it's not.

                                                          1. re: yamarat2
                                                            eatspuma RE: yamarat2 Sep 27, 2011 08:15 PM

                                                            I don't know why everyone keeps insisting on refrigerating ketchup...think about restaurants where ketchup is left out all day (I've never worked at a restaurant so I don't know if they refrigerate at night, but I doubt 24 hour diners keep their ketchup bottles on a fridge rotation) which they wouldn't be doing if it was going to become bacterially infected and give all their customers food poisoning. I keep mine in the fridge, but that's because I use it rarely and it would probably lose flavor quality, not out of a fear of it becoming poisonous. I've also read elsewhere that Heinz states ketchup should be refrigerated for quality control, not because it will spoil.

                                                            1. re: eatspuma
                                                              yamarat2 RE: eatspuma Sep 28, 2011 08:58 AM

                                                              I am new to this forum (just signed up yesterday, so I don't know how it works. Will only 'eatspuma' get a notification to this reply, or everybody who replied to the original?

                                                              I have worked in restaurants, we 'used to leave ketchup on the tables, until we noticed it got a funky, off taste & a brown tinge. It says on the bottle to refrigerate, as does Oyster sauce.

                                                              I have seen toddlers suck on the squeeze bottle, I'd hope all restaurants also clean the bottles....

                                                              1. re: yamarat2
                                                                Harters RE: yamarat2 Sep 28, 2011 09:03 AM

                                                                The bottles may say refrigerate ketchup and oyster sauce where you are in the world.

                                                                Where I am, it doesn't and I don't.

                                                                1. re: yamarat2
                                                                  ricepad RE: yamarat2 Sep 28, 2011 11:43 AM

                                                                  If somebody's been sucking on the bottle, it's not time to refrigerate, it's time to throw it out!

                                                                  My bottle of oyster sauce doesn't say to refrigerate...nor ketchup.

                                                                  1. re: ricepad
                                                                    jen kalb RE: ricepad Sep 28, 2011 06:44 PM

                                                                    neither of these items need refrigeration, but refrigeration does slow loss of fresh flavor and also color (in the case of the ketchup) Most restauants go through ketchup so quickly that this is not an issue. Last year my church put a half empty large container of ketchup in a cupboard not the refrigerator. At least 9 mo later we pulled it out - it had darkened but was completely palatable. Notwithstanding this a finicky person threw it away.

                                                                    fish sauce lasts for years with no discernable loss of quality.
                                                                    for soy sauce it seems like the major risk is evaporation - a lot of the ocntainers are not airtight so it gets all thick and murky.

                                                              2. re: yamarat2
                                                                scubadoo97 RE: yamarat2 Sep 28, 2011 02:00 PM

                                                                Have to disagree on the ketchup. It may say refrigerate but that's to preserve freshness, what ever that means and to cover their backside.

                                                              3. John E. RE: opinionatedchef Sep 28, 2011 08:31 PM

                                                                We stopped refrigerating ketchup several years ago, but still only buy ketchup that does not say 'refrigerate after opening' on the bottle. I guess we go through enough ketchup so it's not a problem. Many of the condiments listed by the OP recommend refrigeration, so in the refrigerator they go. Maple flavored syrup goes in the cupboard. Maple syrup goes in the refrigerator. Once jams and jellies are opened they must be refrigerated.

                                                                1 Reply
                                                                1. re: John E.
                                                                  Harters RE: John E. Sep 29, 2011 01:28 AM

                                                                  I rarely put jams in the fridge. The vast majority have sufficient sugar in them that I never have a problem. The exceptions which I do fridge, are the low sugar ones, like French style conserves

                                                                2. c
                                                                  cacruden RE: opinionatedchef May 10, 2012 07:37 PM

                                                                  Although not necessary, I keep most of my open condiments in the fridge.... not because I think they need to be there but even if they can be stored in the cupboard.... they last longer if they are refrigerated. That includes: soy sauces, fish sauce, seasoning sauce, oyster sauce, worcester sauce, etc.

                                                                  2 Replies
                                                                  1. re: cacruden
                                                                    ricepad RE: cacruden May 10, 2012 09:57 PM

                                                                    Something that lasts forever outside the fridge will last for two forevers inside the fridge?

                                                                    1. re: ricepad
                                                                      cacruden RE: ricepad May 10, 2012 10:13 PM

                                                                      Does not last forever, but a long time (3 - 6 months). Even so - once you open the bottle the contents start degrading in quality faster - storing it in the fridge improves quality (even noticeable if you do a taste test comparison at the end of one month). If your feeding a family, you might use it up in less than a month.... but for me.... it is longer than a month for everything except fish sauce and oyster sauce (which go the quickest).

                                                                  2. Caroline1 RE: opinionatedchef May 11, 2012 12:06 AM

                                                                    opinionatedchef, I have not read other people's replies so this has HOPEFULLY already been said: Much of your "information" about what does not need to be refrigerated is wrong. For openers, soy sauces -- even those that do not say so on the label -- should be refrigerated after opening because they are fermented but not fortified, therefore their flavors will change and "go bad" without refrigeration. To make this short and sweet, honey is the only natural food known to man that will not spoil, BUT if it is not raw natural honey, it might but it will take a long long time. I don't refrigerate all of my vinegars, but some I do. I don't want a mother forming in my balsamic! Anyway, long story short, refrigeration is not a bad thing, even for oils. You just have to bring them to room temperature for some uses such as vinaigrettes. Some oils are very expensive, others go ransid fairly fast. My dry mustard sits on my spice shelves. My wet mustards are all in the refrigerator, along with my organic ketchup.

                                                                    9 Replies
                                                                    1. re: Caroline1
                                                                      Justpaula RE: Caroline1 May 17, 2012 11:27 AM

                                                                      I recently started to keep truffle oil in my fridge out of fear that it will go rancid - I had one that smelled pretty bad and I took that as being rancid. I take it out a few hours before using (or dip in a bowl of warm water in a pinch) to un-congeal. Does this sound like the right thing to do? Will these actions affect it in a negative way?

                                                                      I also keep maple syrup in the fridge. It says to and I see no reason not to. If I am using it as a breakfast topping, I take the cap off and microwave it for 30 seconds to heat it anyway.

                                                                      Another question I have is, that my g- to salad dressing is a maple balsamic vinaigrette that I make. Since, I refrigerate two of the ingredients - maple syrup and dijon - I keep leftover dressing in the fridge too. Is this necessary? I go through periods where we have a salad every day, but sometimes much longer. How long can I let it sit out of the fridge?

                                                                      Lastly, I SO KNOW that you don't have to refrigerate ketchup, and my husband reminds me of this almost every time we use it, but I just cannot NOT keep it in the fridge. I have no idea why, but I blame my mother. ;) Keeping it in the fridge is also self-defeating because I don't even like to eat ketchup cold. :)

                                                                      1. re: Justpaula
                                                                        hotoynoodle RE: Justpaula May 17, 2012 12:09 PM

                                                                        keeping delicate oils in the fridge is fine if you don't use them frequently.

                                                                        neither maple syrup nor mustard require refrigeration. but if it makes you feel better, go right ahead. :)

                                                                        1. re: hotoynoodle
                                                                          John E. RE: hotoynoodle May 17, 2012 02:09 PM

                                                                          Real maple syrup will eventually go bad if not kept refrigerated once opened. Log Cabin and Aunt Jemima syrup is fine in the cupboard.

                                                                          1. re: John E.
                                                                            cacruden RE: John E. May 17, 2012 06:02 PM

                                                                            Yes, Aunt Jemima.... it can't go bad if it is already bad :p

                                                                            1. re: John E.
                                                                              Justpaula RE: John E. May 17, 2012 07:01 PM

                                                                              Yep, my husband's bottle of HFCS is kept in the pantry, while the real stuff my son and I use (trying to raise the kid up right, ya know?) is safely ensconced in the refrigerator door. I am quite sure that if I only made pancakes or french toast once year, hubs' bottle would not spoil at least until we retire - and we are only in our thirties. :)

                                                                              1. re: John E.
                                                                                greygarious RE: John E. Jun 24, 2014 11:56 AM

                                                                                I own a copy of The Maple Syrup Cookbook. It advises against long-term storage in tin or plastic (takes on off flavors). Maple syrup can eventually develop mold even in a glass bottle in the fridge. The book says to strain the contents through cheesecloth to remove the mold, bring to a boil, and pour into a clean bottle before returning to the refrigerator. I have done this successfully on several occasions.

                                                                            2. re: Justpaula
                                                                              Caroline1 RE: Justpaula May 18, 2012 03:19 AM

                                                                              Justpaula, I don't (yet) have any first hand experience with truffle oil (I'm still researching), but in my experience ALL cooking/finishing oils can go bad, so it sounds like you did the right thing by disposing of that particular bottle of truffle oil. Or maybe, if you hand't had it longer than six months, you might have gotten your money back.

                                                                              I do use truffle salt, and am still in the process of buying/tasting various brands in search of convincing truffle flavor without too much saltiness. Canned truffles are a poor duplication of the aroma of real fresh truffles simply because the canning process kills much of the original aroma. Of the truffle salts I've tried so far, "Fusion" brand black truffle salt comes closest to the aroma of fresh truffles, but not 100%. I'm wishing I could find a source to buy the small bits of truffles that are in most truffle salt, but I don't know whether they are using minced fresh truffles and letting the salt's desiccant qualities turn them into dehydrated bits or if there is a source to buy unsalted freeze dried bits of genuine truffles. I'm searching! I'm searching! '-)

                                                                              1. re: Caroline1
                                                                                cathyleebaker RE: Caroline1 May 20, 2012 02:21 PM


                                                                                1. re: cathyleebaker
                                                                                  Caroline1 RE: cathyleebaker Jun 3, 2012 08:37 PM

                                                                                  Fascinating! Thanks, Cathy Lee, but did you happen to notice those "minimum order" quantities? LOL! I'd have to hope my great great great grandchildrn will like them too! '-)

                                                                          2. c
                                                                            cnickolaus RE: opinionatedchef Jun 3, 2012 08:13 PM

                                                                            I refrige most everything that says so on it. Except I have a jar of natural greek honey which I hadnt realized when I bought it says refrigerate (2 yrs ago) but I guess thats ok. They found honey in Egyptian tombs still yet edible. But I dont think that anything really that says refrigerate after opening then you dont is 100% safe... Take your chances if you want.

                                                                            1. e
                                                                              easily amused RE: opinionatedchef Jun 3, 2012 08:43 PM

                                                                              Great website for those wondering...'Is it still good(tasty)?")

                                                                              1. DonShirer RE: opinionatedchef Jun 4, 2012 08:52 PM

                                                                                Just bought my first bottle of Nutella for a recipe. It's label says "Do not refrigerate or microwave."

                                                                                1. marvi51 RE: opinionatedchef Dec 7, 2012 11:41 PM

                                                                                  I have had ketchup go sour after being left out too long...and also I have had jam get moldy if left unrefrigerated and not used quickly enough.

                                                                                  1. m
                                                                                    manwithmouth RE: opinionatedchef Oct 30, 2013 04:04 PM

                                                                                    Refrigerate Blood, Fish and Mescaline. Everything else can sit on the shelf, unless you live in Africa.

                                                                                    1. d
                                                                                      denise1234 RE: opinionatedchef Jul 3, 2014 02:03 PM

                                                                                      I made canned peach honey, after it is opened do I need to refrigerate it?

                                                                                      2 Replies
                                                                                      1. re: denise1234
                                                                                        John E. RE: denise1234 Jul 3, 2014 02:24 PM

                                                                                        Yes. I don't know why some DUers here think jams and jellies do not need to be refrigerated after opening. You will get mold on your canned peach honey after opening if you do not refrigerate it. That is unless you eat all within a week or so. It also depends on the temperature at which you store it.

                                                                                        1. re: denise1234
                                                                                          HUNGRYMAN8 RE: denise1234 Jul 7, 2014 11:56 AM

                                                                                          Hmm, I know real pure honey never needs refrigeration and will last for eternity. Honey actually proves the existence of God. Real honey is an antibiotic too. So good question. As long as you did not destroy the natural properties of the honey by cooking... I would say it will last indefinitely too. Make a test. Leave some in a pantry for a year. Then do the sight, smell, and taste test. If it is the same as the fresh? You are good to go.

                                                                                        2. jrvedivici RE: opinionatedchef Jul 7, 2014 12:25 PM

                                                                                          Thanks to opinionatedchef for taking the time to put this all together. I'll tell you my little basic guide I use to tell what condiments do or don't need refrigeration;

                                                                                          I read the label.

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