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How long does fish sauce keep?

suse Jan 10, 2007 12:38 AM

I don't use fish sauce often at all, and have had a bottle in the fridge for some time. Any idea how long it keeps? In the fridge? Out of the fridge?

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    ctl98 RE: suse Jan 10, 2007 12:41 AM

    Because the fish sauce is very salty, it keeps well outside the fridge. My fish sauce is at least 6 months old and it's still ok.

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      Aaron RE: suse Jan 10, 2007 12:43 AM

      Fish sauce keeps for about a year, even more, outside of the fridge. It should not be refridgerated (I've even bought bottles that warn against it) as it can easily crystalize. Just store it in a cool and dark place. Any cabinet should do.

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        Sethboy RE: suse Jan 10, 2007 01:16 AM


        Depends if you spill it all over the backseat of the car when moving to a new place.....

        Depends if you spill it all over the cabinet where you so smartly stored it on a sheet pan so it wouldn't drip....

        Depends if you actually use it any more than once, along with the dozen other "special" Asian ingredients you bought, when you decide its just easier to go out for dinner....

        Depends if you spill it all over the house when the trash bag leaks as you throw out the rest of the bottle....

        Yes, the mythical bottle of fish sauce and I go back a long way.....


        1 Reply
        1. re: Sethboy
          FB21 RE: Sethboy Mar 13, 2007 07:42 AM

          SETHBOY! I had the backseat fish sauce incident just happen to me. HOW did you get it out???

        2. Sam Fujisaka RE: suse Jan 10, 2007 01:32 AM

          In the fridge: forever.

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            wayne keyser RE: suse Jan 10, 2007 01:49 AM

            Like Asia itself ... fish sauce is timeless.

            1. hotoynoodle RE: suse Jan 10, 2007 03:37 PM

              ditto forever. i don't refrigerate mine. if it starts to gang up on itself i just shake it really hard.

              1. notmartha RE: suse Jan 10, 2007 05:28 PM

                I had mine for at least 5 years in the fridge, which I used just 2 days ago. I don't think anything can grow in that salty mixture.

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                  Ellen RE: suse Jan 10, 2007 09:54 PM

                  It's made from decaying fish. Once fish go bad, can they get any badder?

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: Ellen
                    liu RE: Ellen Jan 12, 2007 01:54 AM


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                    cooknKate RE: suse Jan 11, 2007 02:37 AM

                    I have had mine for well over two years, in the cupboard and it's just as foul and stinky as it was when I got it. Like Ellen said, how can you tell when it's bad???

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                      suse RE: suse Jan 11, 2007 12:47 PM

                      Thanks, everybody. That was really helpful.

                      1. Das Ubergeek RE: suse Jan 11, 2007 02:43 PM

                        When the Big One hits, all that will be left is cockroaches and fish sauce. It is indestructible, inside the fridge or out. That said, the container it's IN is not indestructible -- namely, that stupid plastic flip-top will wear out after about a year. Wrap it in aluminium foil when this starts to happen else your fridge and everything in it will taste of fish sauce.

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                          ricepad RE: suse Jan 11, 2007 04:35 PM

                          Fish sauce, like herpes, is forever. I have another sad story to tell about the container tho, and NOT just the cap. The first bottle of fish sauce I bought (don't recall the brand, but it was plastic, and a tall rectangle, more or less) cracked while I was shaking it to 'reincorporate' the precipitated matter. What a stinky mess. It was a long time before I stopped smelling like a deckhand on a party boat.

                          1. bolivianita RE: suse Jan 12, 2007 12:05 AM

                            My fish sauce is so old it has started to crystalize! It still tastes fine just more concentrated.

                            1. whs RE: suse Jan 12, 2007 12:38 AM

                              A great marketing idea--sell fish sauce by vintage. Mine is 1994, a very good year. And yes, it has those little crystals at the bottom.

                              1. psb RE: suse Jan 12, 2007 01:23 AM

                                I wonder if anybody got up the nerve to try some of the
                                garum discovered in this Roman wreck:

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