HOME > Chowhound > General Topics >


What's the oldest thing in your fridge?

At the moment it would be a large half-empty two-year-old bottle of Frank's hot sauce. Usually I make my own so the poor sap is just sitting there in the corner...

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Ha ha great question.
    I recently defrosted my fridge and freezer so I cleaned all the old stuff out, but I have half a jar of capers that's almost two years old-due to expire in March.

    1. A small jar of capers. I remember, it was spring, and I decided I would stop hating capers. I bought them, and stuck them in the fridge, forgot about them, found them about a year later, examined the jar for an expiration date, found none, and stuck them back in the fridge. I've done this about once a year, I think, for at *least* the last five or so years. I suppose I should just throw them out, and put capers on the market list, because I do think I will now like capers.

      I moved a little over a year ago, and this list would have been scarier, but I was fairly disciplined when I cleaned out the fridge before the move. But I still brought the capers with me. I was shaking my head at myself as I tucked the jar into the cooler, but I still packed them.

      13 Replies
      1. re: onceadaylily

        Your description is HILARIOUS! It's so funny that you decided to take your little jar of capers with you when you moved. :-D

        1. re: onceadaylily

          I think the capers in my fridge are about 3 1/2 years old. Bought a huge jar when they were on sale... only to find out husband hates capers! Won't throw them out though...

          1. re: cheesecake17

            What's hilarious is that the first three to chime in all have the same culprit. Adam replied as I was still typing, so it wasn't even like my memory was jogged by his response. Damn capers.

            1. re: onceadaylily

              ha ha
              Too funny. I guess its one of those ingredients where you have to buy more than you need and then you forget about them after you prepared that dish.
              I bought them once when I made some smoked salmon canapes for a party. Have touched not them since.

              1. re: AdamD

                I just spent the last half hour digging through the internet to see if I should toss these (including a chowhound discussion that had some 'collapsed' answers, which I think was prompted by the examination of said capers circa spring 2010), and found reassuring answers, and two recipes for fried capers.

                I'm doing it. I'm frying those capers.

                1. re: onceadaylily

                  Food for thought.
                  I was just going to buy more smoked salmon or use them in an Italian style chicken braise with some tomato, oregano and garlic

                  1. re: onceadaylily

                    I was just going to get more smoked salmon or use them in an Italian style chicken braise with tomato and oregano.

                    1. re: AdamD

                      This method seemed not only suitable for a salad, but I'm hoping the frying will help with any loss of flavor or texture that my, um, aging methods may have created.

                      1. re: onceadaylily

                        When I opened the capers, the smell of acetone filled the air. I rinsed a few spoonfuls, and we each tasted one of the rinsed capers. It was mushy, and it tasted like nail polish remover. I threw them in the trash.

                        And I just realized that I threw the rinsed ones away, but put the jar back in the fridge.

                2. re: onceadaylily

                  Was just wondering about the health and safety of my antique caper jar today as well. How old can they get before I need to throw them away??

                  1. re: ette

                    I think pretty old is ok because they are either super salted or doused in plenty of vinegar. Exact timeline not sure.

                    I plan on using my capers in the next 5 minutes in a chicken dish.

                    1. re: ette

                      I did a bit of research after I smelled what prompted me to toss it (the 'nail polish remover' smell. That seems to be a smell worth taking note, as the vinegar itself has gone off, and will permeate the dishes the ingredient is used in.

                      The capers themselves had lost their firmness, and, even without that smell, would have been judged as past their prime.

                      If you open the jar, and it smells merely of the foodstuff within, and a sample caper is still firm to the tooth, then they are likely fine. The smell when I opened the jar was not something you would miss, or question. It is possible that the vinegar used in my capers was suspect, and that your capers, even at the same age, would be just fine. Trust your nose and tongue.

                  2. re: cheesecake17

                    FYI, for those who hate capers, try another jar. The last jar and of course the largest I ever bought was from BJ's and just horrible. All prior jars were quite nice.

                3. sourdough starter. started 4/2006, i think.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: eLizard

                    same here! My starter is about 8 years old.
                    I feed her weekly.

                    1. re: Novelli

                      me too...but only about 3 years old. My kombucha culture comes in second. With all the feeding its almost like a zoo in there. :)

                  2. Funny! A half-finished jar of hot sauce that says it gets better with age, but after a couple years I'm scared to see if that's true! Yet, I can't bring myself to throw it out either :)

                    1. 5-year-old A1 steak sauce? 8-year-old Worcestershire? I'm sure I have vinegars older than that.

                      1. I'm pretty sure I don't even want to know; mostly likely some Worcestershire sauce or other such thing on the side of my fridge that I don't seem to even notice when I clean things out.

                        While I was in college I lived with three other people. We first decided to separate the fridge into quarters, then discovered that didn't work so well functionally. So, we had everyone write their initials on their food. When we moved out, there were some mystery foods that no one had ever claimed, I shudder just thinking about how old they were.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: caseyjo

                          One of our favorite games in college was to play "what the f*** is this" while cleaning out the refrigerator...to funny!

                        2. The oldest, would be an almost full (minus perhaps 4) jar of marachino cherries that I bought for sundaes. They've been in there for about a year now. Which reminds me need to use them. I should make some merry cherry cheesecake bars with some of those tiny mini dark chocolate chips.

                          1 Reply
                          1. My shelves are pretty old- probably at least 10 years.

                            1. My precious plastic bag of Japanese dark (very dark, looks like chocolate) miso paste. It lasts for two-three years (I use it for a lovely cashew chicken recipe from Joyce Chen's Small Eating Place in Cambridge, MA). It usually takes me around six months to locate a replacement. It's very salty and not popular these days, I guess.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: California Sunshine

                                I have miso in my fridge that's a lot older than that. It's fine.

                              2. Molasses from a gingerbread cookie project 2 years ago. It is delicious to put a tablespoon in hot water, tastes like sweet black coffee.

                                I love capers and are among the youngest jarred items in my fridge.

                                2 Replies
                                1. re: CCSPRINGS

                                  Why are you keeping molasses in the fridge? It lasts forever in the pantry.

                                  1. re: pikawicca

                                    Habit I suppose. And whenever I use it I can repeat, "slower than molasses in the wintertime." The cliche movie phrase for "no sudden moves!"

                                2. I'm getting nervous. Have the capers et al, in fridge, but since when do you have to refrigerate Franks sauce? Anyway, I'm going to say my oldest items are a strew of asian sauces, chutney, tahini and Glace de veau Gold!

                                  6 Replies
                                  1. re: southofboston

                                    You know, I automatically put Frank into the fridge without even considering the possibility of leaving him in the pantry. Hmmmmm...

                                    I, too, love capers and use them for tapenades, wine sauces, remoulage, caper butter, risotto...

                                    1. re: chefathome

                                      You do NOT have to refrigerate Frank's, or any other hot sauce.

                                      1. re: pikawicca

                                        You're right - I don't! It's weird - I have no idea why that didn't cross my mind years and years ago. Habit, I s'pose!

                                        1. re: chefathome

                                          I refirgerate those things simply cause I have more room in my fridge than my "pantry."

                                    2. re: southofboston

                                      ditto on the tahini and glace de veau!

                                      1. re: southofboston

                                        I never knew after opening the glace de veau how long it keeps after it's refrigerated;. Does it keep for a few months like capers and such, or should it get thrown out shortly after opening?

                                        Found it! After opening it will keep refrigerated up t one year. Good to know :)

                                      2. I have a 14-month-old jar of mustard I brought back from France in my fridge. I'm assuming it's not good anymore, but I'm not certain enough to throw it away, there's no "use-by" date... and so it sits.

                                        This is what usually happens with me when it comes to condiments, come to think of it....

                                        1. There is an unopened 2 liter bottle of Coca Cola in the door that says "Holiday 2008" on the label and 3 of the old-fashioned glass bottles of Coke that have "Class of 2006" printed on them.

                                          3 Replies
                                            1. re: chefathome

                                              Well I did throw out the five year old eggs.... after watching the BF put the carton back in the fridge after I showed them to him.

                                              1. re: Firegoat

                                                Oh man- you were so on your way to thousand-year-old eggs...

                                          1. I have some balsamic vinegar that was 20 years old to start and then has been in there for 5-6 years.

                                            1. Definitely the Worcestershire sauce. This is its third apartment (and I don't move that often). The runner up is some cans of Coke that must've come free with a Chinese food delivery.

                                              I go through capers like nobody's business.

                                              1. Various hot sauces and asian condiments that are several years old.

                                                My jars of capers don't last long because I loooooove capers.

                                                1. most of my stuff dates back to my last move in 1999....
                                                  a bottle of Matouk's hot sauce
                                                  2 types of seaweed that are in generic clear plastic bags

                                                  1. A jar of chili sauce (the Canadian kind with tomatoes and mustard seeds in it) my mom made in 1993, the summer before she died.

                                                    1. Large tub of goose fat in my freezer, from an old goose confit made in 1986. Still use a bit to fry potatoes.

                                                      3 Replies
                                                      1. re: Delucacheesemonger

                                                        Very nice. In '86, I had just barely discovered leg warmers, much less confit. Or even real potatoes, mashed outside a holiday.

                                                          1. re: Delucacheesemonger

                                                            Throw in some eggs, and I'll bring the (suitably aged) wine.

                                                      2. Squid® Fish Sauce
                                                        easy five years and still 1/3rd of a bottle going strong...

                                                        1. an unopened bottle of Trader Joe's Organic Ketchup that i picked up just to have on hand in case a guest ever wanted to put it on something...i don't use ketchup. i bought it in NJ back in 2007...and schlepped the darned thing all the way to San Diego, and then here to LA. now i refuse to get rid of it on principle until someone uses it.

                                                          and yes, i know it doesn't need to be refrigerated, but it's a tall-ish bottle and i can't afford to give up valuable space for it in the only cabinets where it would fit!

                                                          1. I don't even count "condiments." I have a one year old package of Chinese sausage which CHs have just assured me are still fine. And we had one for breakfast the other day. Still alive.

                                                            1. Three year old Rose's Lime.

                                                              1. Several varieties of miso, probably about 4 years old. The sell dates are meaningless for miso - the stuff just won't go bad!