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Feb 6, 2009 09:53 AM

does nam pla spoil?

can nam pla spoil? I bought one with an expiration date and want to know if I could use it after that date?


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  1. Never. It's already fermented what else could happen to it?

    4 Replies
    1. re: KTinNYC

      It always says to refrigerate after opening. So I assumed that something bad could happen to it... spoilage, or whatever, given that it's a fish product.

      1. re: egit

        Not always. Some brands say to refrigerate but others say not to refrigerate because salt crystals can form. Trust me, this stuff never goes bad.

        1. re: KTinNYC

          Well, since I've never used THAT much of it, I did have a bottle in the fridge that collected salt crystals in the bottom after about a year or two. Since I was moving anyway, I didn't take it with me. Thanks for the info.

        2. re: egit

          It's pretty much the distilled and salted flavor spoiled fish!

          It doesn't need refrigeration.

      2. I saw a show that showed how they make it. They clean the fish(dependent on what kind they are making), place in wooden barrels, fill with water, and put straw lid on it. Then they put outside in the elements to ferment for a long time, a year or so I believe. They then put the pour out and strain the solids from the liquid and bottle it.
        I don't believe refrigeration is required here.

        1. re: JungMann's comment, it's not spoiled, it's fermented...big difference.

          it is *possible* for fermented foods to spoil - they can become contaminated with mold or bacteria. the process of fermentation doesn't preserve food FOREVER, it just retards spoilage and greatly extends shelf-life. however, it's HIGHLY unlikely that a bottle of fish sauce is going to spoil when stored properly in the kitchen cabinet of a modern home...and there's no need to refrigerate it.

          oh, and that expiration date means nothing. in fact, most foods that bear "use by" or "sell by" dates can be eaten safely well beyond the date. we had a discussion about this last week...

          3 Replies
          1. re: goodhealthgourmet

            Yes, fermented foods can definitely spoil, but for the sake of argument, the salt content in this stuff is so high that I would imagine any living organism would find it hard to stay alive in there.

            (But don't ask me how the fermentation took place in this case then -- thinking out loud, I realise I am contradicting myself here!)

            1. re: tarteaucitron

              Fermentation in salt is how sauerkraut and kimchi are made. In fact, I was under the impression that nam pla was made from salted fish, in the same way the Romans' garum was.