Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > General Topics >
Mar 25, 2007 03:34 PM

Anchovy Paste in a tube

Does anyone know how long an opened tube of anchovy paste will last in the fridge? Mine does not have an expiration date.


  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. I can tell you that I keep mine a long time.....6 months maybe more I'm kind of thinking thats gross now that I think about it but its never seemed at all off. It is somewhaty preserved in oil and not getting much air exposure since its in a tube??? I would think it would stink and the natural oils would have a rancid turned smell. Its quite unpleasant when it does go.

      1. re: Sam Fujisaka

        I wonder why stuff in a tube keeps so long. Tomato paste is like that too.

        1. re: rworange

          Anchovie paste because it has ~30% salt....nothing ("bugs") will grow at this level.
          Tomato paste because it has >25-35% of tomato "solids".....this means v. low water activity (water "available" for "bugs" to use and grow).....nothing will grow without water.....this is even more true if products are kept cold.....

          1. re: rworange

            No oxygen, no oxidization; adjusted pH, no microbial invasion,

            1. re: Sam Fujisaka

              Nope....just salt...once opened the container it's not hermetic so oxygen is is also above high acid specs (>4.6) so that's not a factor and "bugs" are already in the product..i.e. microbial invasion has already taken place....

              1. re: Pollo

                I should correct that the above refers to anchovie case of tomato paste the pH is at or below 4.6 so the "acid" factor comes into play and prevents some of the "bugs" from growing...

                1. re: Pollo

                  It's effectively anerobic--can't get enough oxygen into a capped tude.

                  1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                    Yes, if the tube is unopend then the contents could be anaerobic or at least microaerophilic...all depends on how the product was produced and placed into the final container (tube)...however, the fact remains that what keeps any of the "bugs" from growing is the salt content.....

          2. re: Sam Fujisaka

            Concur - I have had some tubes fall and get lost while other tubes are opened and used. I think I found one that was two years old and I used it with confidence with no one dying and no change in flavor.

          3. Thanks everyone! I am now more confident in making many more caesar salads without the thought of sending someone to the hospital!


            1 Reply
            1. re: bookwormchef

              You almost 100% OK if you use anchovies....ancient product/manufacturing technique...there was an "incident" few years back with flat anchovies packed in oil when swallen cans were found...turns out the problem was enzymatic...not microbial.

            2. (Bumping this old thread)

              I have a tube of anchovy paste that I I believe I bought in June 2004 - I'm really good at remembering dates, the "code" on the tube has an "04" in it, and I remember buying it because I was obsessed with Caesar salads during May & June 2004 - so I'm pretty sure it's been in the fridge for 5 1/2 years!

              Since the Caesar salad obsession, I've used it only a few times over the years, mostly to give a punch of umami to things. Last weekend, I partied A LOT with some friends from college. Since we were out of booze, I didn't mind anybody raiding my cabinets & drinking the old bottle of sake - we'd make Chow's Table Manners column proud... LOL!) For the munchies, I heated up some Aldi-brand frozen chicken fingers and made a dip out of ketchup, mayo, a squirt of "Rooster" sriracha sauce... and a pea-sized squirt of anchovy paste - even though I thought that might screw it up... Instead, the ANCHOVY PASTE "made" the dip! I tried it by myself again last night (sober this time around) without the sriracha, and the anchovy paste definitely made the ketchup-mayo mix incredibly good - it's my new "secret sauce" I guess. As Emeril would say, BAM, it kicked it up a notch. Or as Guy Fieri would say, it took it to Flavor-town! HAHA...

              So anchovy paste definitely has lasted a long time in my fridge. YMMV, but I haven't gotten sick and it doesn't have an "off" taste to it at all after all these years.

              6 Replies
              1. re: deibu

                That may be, but I compared anchovy paste to canned anchovies a long time back and concluded that anchovy paste is the fish equivalent of Spam. Yes, it tastes like anchovies, so would work ok in a Caesar dressing, but I suspect it's mostly bits and pieces and shreds of anchovies that don't make it into the can. It's clearly inferior to canned anchovy fillets, so I don't care how long it lasts. A tin of anchovies costs less than $2, how much can you save using that stuff?

                1. re: Zeldog

                  Others of us live where a tin of anchovies costs $10.

                  1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                    Sam, aren't there massive schools of anchovies swimming off the Pacific coast of South America? Are your's imported?
                    Edit: From googled info, it seems that anchovies caught off Chile and Peru are use more for fish meal than human consumption.

                  2. re: Zeldog

                    You're right - but how long it lasts makes a difference to me (since I wouldn't go through a tin of anchovies quickly at all now), and when I made Caesar salad dressing 3 or 4 times a week for about 8 weeks straight, the paste was more cost-efficient... I've made a Caesar saladt probably once since I made myself OD on OCD eating habits.... I think I actually DID look for a tin at the time I bought the tube, but the only one they had at Publix was around $5 ot $6. I love anchovies too - but I cannot stand the smell of a half-eaten tin of them in the fridge even the next day. Not for any rational reasons at all though - I just remember one too many leftover pizzas w/ anchovies that were delicious when they were fresh, but they tasted like skunky salty fishy cheese-bread the next day even after removing the anchovies before reheating... I 'm not big on anchovies for that silly reason..

                    I guess the spam comparison has a little validity though. On a fancy-schmancy crostini hors-d'oeuvres, cheap crap sucks. But, on a Ritz cracker, to me nothinf beats potted meat product food!

                    1. re: deibu

                      In case you get anchovies again, put the remainder in a glass jar. The odor is contained and the fish lasts for a while.

                      1. re: deibu

                        i put a dab of anchovy paste in devilled eggs and beef stew and just about anywhere a kick-up in the flavor need to be had. on the other hand, i too have lost mine in the fridge for unknown periods of time and still used it with good results. they do fall in behind things pretty easily..... my problem now is living in an area where i don't often find it available. i prefer the tube! and no one has ever identified the secret ingredient in my devilled eggs! ever.... but they do eat 'em up!