Which Condiments Need to Be Refrigerated?
February 1, 2019 10:17AM CST
If you’re feeling ambitious and want to give your kitchen a Marie Kondo-style makeover, The Takeout has created a guide to where your favorite condiments should live. Here’s the breakdown:
- Mayonnaise. Anything with eggs in it has to be refrigerated, even though commercial mayonnaise may be pasteurized.
- Ketchup. If you’re “going through a couple bottles a week like a diner,” you likely can keep your ketchup on our table, well, like a diner. But, like Heinz says, the overall quality will be better in your refrigerator, where the process of degradation slows down.
- Hot sauces. If you don’t refrigerate it, you might be losing color and flavor from the stuff that’s oxidizing.” So if you’re going to use up the Tabasco in a month or two, you’re good; more like a year, and give it some of your fridge space.
- Worcestershire sauce. The sauce’s salty, acidic environment makes it fairly self-stable, to at least stay on your pantry shelf on for a year or so.
- Soy sauce, fish sauce. Soy sauce is “water activity controlled.” This means that “even though the product is a liquid, the available water in the product is tightly bound to other molecules”—in this case, salt—“so that there is not enough available water for any pathogens to use for growth.” Same goes for fish sauce.
- Mustard. Sunlight is the thing to watch out for, keeping the mustards in a cool, dark cabinet or pantry. But if you’re a rarer mustard user, only a few times a year, then keep it in the fridge.
- Honey, maple syrup. You don’t have to refrigerate honey because it has anti-microbial qualities that will keep it fresh; it might crystallize, but it won’t mold or ever go bad. Maple syrup, however, can go moldy and should be put in the fridge.
- Nut butters. Like honey, natural nut butters can get hard to use (and spread) if they’re refrigerated, so best to leave it in the pantry.
- Vinegars and nut oils. Vinegars can be pretty inhospitable environments for bacteria. So those are definitely cabinet-worthy, and other cool, dark places, far away from the light. Similarly, nut oils like almond and walnut should also be kept in a dark place, or else they’ll get rancid.
- Salad dressings, Even bottles that are shelf-stable often contain “vegetable matter” and generally should go in the refrigerator once they’re opened.