Do sun-dried tomatoes expire?
I was wondering if sun-dried tomatoes last "forever" like, e.g., miso paste and chipotle peppers in adobo. My sun-dried tomatoes package has no expiration date, is 6 months old, contains preservatives, reads "refrigerate after opening" (which i have done), and the tomatoes smell fine, with no signs of mold. But I like to be extra careful, especially when cooking for company.
There are many ways of storing sundried tomatoes. If stored in oil, they last a really long time (because of the occlusion from air) and certainly 6 mos is okay if that is the case with yours.
If just dried and not required to be refrigerated, sundried tomatoes just continue to dehydrate as they age. Those can get hard as a rock, but you rehydrate and they are good. Those can get a stale after a few years, but, 6 mos. is okay so far as bacteria (that forms in moisture).
Because your particular package does not have an expiration date, I would say use them though they have been in your fridge after opening for 6 mos. if you see and taste no indication of mold or contamination. Same if they have no "best if used by" date.
To be absolutely sure, call or e-mail the particular producer of your sundried tomatoes. Mezzetta brand does not have expiration dates, but often say that once opened, they may last just about 2 weeks. However, they add that if you see a white mold, then please discard. In other words, they may last longer than the two weeks depending on how they were handled.
(Have you ever opened a container of cottage cheese, used some, and then placed it in the fridge upside down to get rid of the air around where it was exposed to outside elements? That upside down storage keeps it fresher for almost 2 weeks longer because of the occlusion from air.)
But, you are right, if there is no sign of mold or altered taste to a tempered palate, they are okay, especially if when you used them last, you used utensils to remove from container and not just your fingers (as there would be more germs there).
kc girl gave a horrible answer. this result comes up top in google even though it's over 6 years old.
Anyway, Sundried TOMATOES that are in oil and in opened can or jar in fridge go bad within a month !
C. Hamster Jun 30, 2011 02:15 PM
Storing Garlic in Oil - Warning! - Not Safe.
It's important to keep food safety in mind when storing garlic in oil. Low-acid foods like garlic can be a source of Clostridium botulinum bacteria which are found in soil, water, and air. Oil's oxygen-free environment is perfect for growth of this anaerobic bacteria. Garlic in oil, therefore, must be stored correctly to prevent botulism food poisoning.
Commercial garlic-in-oil mixtures are acidified to prevent bacterial growth. These products can be stored safely at room temperature. Unfortunately, acidification of garlic in homemade oil mixtures can't be recommended because no research exists to support proper procedures. Different people recommend different methods and time to acidify and it is hard to know who is right. Instead, it's best to store these hazardous oils in the refrigerator, but for a limited time only. This conflicts with the desire for long term storage.
When raw garlic is stored in oil, Clostridium botulinum bacteria can grow. These mixtures must be refrigerated to slow bacterial growth. After 3 weeks of refrigeration, the increased number of bacteria will become a food safety hazard. Therefore, these mixtures should not be refrigerated longer than 3 weeks.
When garlic is immediately removed after flavoring oil, the bacteria will not have a "food source" for growth. The flavored oil can be stored safely at room temperature.
When vegetables or herbs are dried, water will not be available for bacterial growth. Therefore, DRIED vegetables or dried herbs (including garlic) in oil can be stored safely at room temperature. Note. Tomatoes are high in acid. Therefore, plain dried tomatoes in oil can be safely stored at room temperature.
Storage Recommendations: (According to Oregon State University Extension Service).
Raw or cooked garlic and/or herbs in oil:
These mixtures MUST be refrigerated. Do not store them longer than 3 weeks in the refrigerator. (Note. Raw garlic MAY be safely stored in vinegar at room temperature.)
Dried garlic and/or herbs in oil: If oil is seasoned with dried garlic and/or dried herbs, the mixture may be safely stored at room temperature. (Refrigeration may delay rancidity, however.) "