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Cooking with sherry. How long do you keep the bottle for after using it?

michele cindy Mar 31, 2011 07:30 AM

I occasionally cook with a recipe that calls for a few tblsps of sherry. I run out, buy a bottle, and then a few months go by until I need to use it again. I have no plans to drink it so it just sits in the fridge until I need a few more spoonfuls. How long does a bottle keep in the fridge? If it isn't too long, what do you do in order to not have to buy a whole bottle every time you just need a bit of it?

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    escondido123 RE: michele cindy Mar 31, 2011 07:50 AM

    I buy a bottle about every six months. Use it only for cooking so the rest of the time it sits in the frig. Works for me.

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      Harters RE: michele cindy Mar 31, 2011 09:20 AM

      Dunno how long it'll last. Mrs H drinks it as an aperitif from time to time, so there's always a bottle in the cupboard. We probably buy a bottle every three months or so.

      1. Akitist RE: michele cindy Mar 31, 2011 09:44 AM

        You have it backward. Develop a taste for sherry and occasionally use it for cooking.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Akitist
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          Ricardo Malocchio RE: Akitist Mar 31, 2011 10:11 AM

          Shhhhhhh. Nothing to see here, folks. The only stuff worth drinking are overpriced Cali cabs and their globalized cousins. Just keep buying the cooking sherry on odd occasions and leave the other stuff to we old maids and stuffy british gents who can't believe the deals we're getting.

        2. paulj RE: michele cindy Mar 31, 2011 09:45 AM

          For your purposes it will keep indefinitely. Some places talk about using it up within a matter of weeks or less, but they are concerned about optimal flavor for drinking.

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            healthybeet RE: michele cindy Mar 31, 2011 09:47 AM

            It will definitely last, closed tightly in the fridge, until the next time you use it for cooking.
            But sherry can be substituted with dry red or white wine, wine vinegars, chicken stock and white vinegar in equal amounts, orange juice, and some even say, vanilla extract.

            4 Replies
            1. re: healthybeet
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              escondido123 RE: healthybeet Mar 31, 2011 10:00 AM

              Orange juice for sherry? I can't imagine that giving you the same flavor.

              1. re: escondido123
                The Professor RE: escondido123 Mar 31, 2011 10:30 AM

                I agree...OJ certainly wouldn't be a very good substitute, neither would the vinegar in that concoction.

                For cooking, I stay away from the "cooking sherry" in the supermarket which has salt added to it. I buy inexpensive Gallo or Taylor sherry and use that. It doesn't sit in my cupboard for very long, but even if it did I wouldn't worry about it. At 16+% alcohol it has prety good keeping quality and since sherry typically already has a slightly oxidized tang to it, that's not a worry either.

                At less than $6 for a 750ml bottle of inexpensive sherry, I cant see any point in using substitutes (unless of course there is an issue with having alcohol in the house).

                1. re: The Professor
                  michele cindy RE: The Professor Mar 31, 2011 11:56 AM

                  Taylor, that's the one I always end up buying.

                  1. re: michele cindy
                    byrd RE: michele cindy Apr 2, 2011 12:58 PM

                    Gallo and/or Taylor dry sherry are considered condiments in my shelf; right next to the Lee & Perrins, Old Bay, Tabasco, Colemans, Maggi et. al. venerable brands...

            2. Will Owen RE: michele cindy Mar 31, 2011 01:15 PM

              It's fortified, so as long as you don't put it out in the sun or leave the cork off you could probably just keep it in the cupboard, if it's amontillado or sweeter. I'm partial to the bone-dry finos, which I like to drink very cold, so mine lives in the door of the fridge. I think of it as a less-powerful alternative to the martini, meaning I can have two before dinner if I want …

              I don't cook with it that much anyway, though if we can afford the calories I'll take having some sherry in the fridge as a good excuse to make some Tetrazzini. Off the bat, I can't think of another dish I use it in.

              2 Replies
              1. re: Will Owen
                mamachef RE: Will Owen Mar 31, 2011 02:13 PM

                I bought a bottle of good sherry once to make a turtle soup, couldn't handle the turtle soup, and didn't use the sherry until we discovered that it was a pretty nice after-dinner sip. Oh, and I used a splash of it in a Seafood Newburg.

                1. re: mamachef
                  The Professor RE: mamachef Apr 2, 2011 07:43 AM

                  I've had it in turtle soup as well...but if you don't care for turtle soup, you can use it the sherry the same way as a finishing touch for any dark roux based gumbo (especially a seafood one).

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                Breezychow RE: michele cindy Mar 31, 2011 02:30 PM

                Not only does sherry last indefinitely, but there's zero reason to keep it in the fridge. It will last indefinitely right in the pantry or liquor cabinet, the same as other fortified wines like Madeira & Marsala. Free up space in your fridge & keep it somewhere else.

                7 Replies
                1. re: Breezychow
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                  sedimental RE: Breezychow Apr 2, 2011 07:48 AM

                  Yes, I keep mine in the cupboard. I also use sherry for creamed soups.

                  1. re: sedimental
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                    Val RE: sedimental Apr 2, 2011 01:42 PM

                    Yep, I live in SWFL and sherry is okay on a dark shelf with the cork even in this climate. I really love it for Asian stir fries. Not crazy about drinking it...even the driest I've been able to afford, an actual Spanish sherry (fino?), is too sweet for my palate. That's okay...it's calories I don't need...

                    1. re: Val
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                      Breezychow RE: Val Apr 2, 2011 03:05 PM

                      Yup - most of mine ends up in Asian dishes, but I also believe that any seafood bisque or newburg sauced dish is sacrilige without it. : )

                  2. re: Breezychow
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                    Chef Jimmy J RE: Breezychow Apr 3, 2011 04:48 AM

                    Good call! The reason for the production of these fortified wines in the first place was preservation. Let's add Port and Vermouth to the list...JJ

                    1. re: Breezychow
                      Will Owen RE: Breezychow Apr 4, 2011 04:57 PM

                      As I noted above, there IS one good reason to keep it chilled, and that's if it's the bone-dry kind and you want to have it ready to drink. Warm fino may be better than none, but it's much more pleasant ice-cold. Then if you want to cook with it, it's easy just to pour it in a glass cup and nuke it.

                      Following up on those earlier remarks, I ran out that evening and bought some, and used about half a cup, not in tetrazzini but a similar noodle dish somewhat resembling that. The rest I have been following my own advice with, and having a pre-dinner glass instead of a martini.

                      1. re: Breezychow
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                        miriamjo RE: Breezychow Apr 4, 2011 06:00 PM

                        I have never even thought of putting sherry in the fridge. It keeps forever (unless you use a lot in cooking, as I do). Seafood dishes, Asian dishes and do try a splash in your split pea soup.

                        1. re: miriamjo
                          Delucacheesemonger RE: miriamjo Apr 4, 2011 06:25 PM

                          l disagree, they oxidize as do regular wines. The dry lose their brightness and nuance more quickly than the sweet , but both fade relatively quickly. They can be used for cooking, but after a bit will not be much fun for drinking.

                      2. Kajikit RE: michele cindy Apr 2, 2011 06:16 PM

                        Judging by my parents' experience it keeps practically forever. We never kept it in the fridge either, just in a cool dark cupboard. It's not something that's highly perishable or in need of refrigeration. It took a year or two to get through a bottle and I can't ever remember having to throw one out unfinished. (this goes for both dry and sweet sherries, we used both...)

                        And never ever EVER buy the abomination labelled as 'cooking' sherry, or 'cooking' wine for that matter. Ugh.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: Kajikit
                          The Drama Queen RE: Kajikit Apr 2, 2011 09:11 PM

                          I use both sherry and port the same way. Either one makes a great little drink with a plate of assorted cheeses and fruits. And sometimes I actually cook with it. LOL.

                          Seriously, I put a little sherry or port in my French Onion Soup and it gives a great flavor. If you make seafood bisque a little sherry takes it from good to great. Try it.

                        2. saltwater RE: michele cindy Apr 17, 2011 12:08 AM

                          If you are just using it to splash down the sides of your wok, it will be fine enough for months. If you want to drink it, sherry seems very perishable (to me). Measure it in days, unless it is sweet.

                          I don't think it will keep indefinitely, even if all you are doing is putting it in a stir fry. You'd have to taste it to know when, but it eventually seems to me to completely lack merit.

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