Ever go to a friend’s house and notice that their peanut butter is in the fridge? Or that it isn’t? No need to feel self-conscious, there’s oodles of varying information about condiment storage out there. Ease your mind with this refrigeration guide for a dozen of the most popular condiments.
If unopened, a bottle will last you a full year in a cabinet. Once you pop the top, you have about a month to use it all at room temperature, but you’ll add another five months by refrigerating.
You should pay attention to the “Best by” date on your jar of mayo. Unopened, you can go up to four months past it, but you should definitely refrigerate it once opened for three months of delicious sandwiches and “salads.”
Mustard can go two full years unopened without you having to break a sweat and it lasts about one year in a refrigerator. On a counter or cabinet, however, you can stretch a solid two months.
Photo: Elite Millennial
In the cupboard, PB will go nine months unopened and three months opened without any issues. Refrigeration only tacks on about a month, but should be considered if you’re consuming natural peanut butter because the oils will begin to separate at room temperature.
Photo: Harvest to Table
These guys will give you a full year to enjoy them, regardless of where you put them, but refrigerating them immediately will help, ahem, preserve the flavor.
Unless you’re immediately freezing it, salsa should be enjoyed within the first two weeks it was made/bought. Jarred salsa can last 18 months on a shelf, but only one month in the fridge once you’ve started to dip your chips.
Maple/Chocolate/Caramel Syrup and Honey
Refrigerate? Only honey and maple syrup.
Whether or not it’s open or cooled, you’ll get about a year from any syrup of your choice. If temperatures in your home significantly fluctuate, you should at least slide the maple syrup and honey into the fridge door to prevent fungal growth.
As long as it’s vinegar based, your favorite hot sauce will give you three spicy years out on the counter. Why would you try to cool it off?
Photo: Microbial Foods
In Korea, there’s no such thing as “bad” kimchi. Since it’s already gradually fermenting, the flavor profile is constantly changing. Kimchi over two years old is considered a potent delicacy and used to make different dishes than “fresh” kimchi. It’s mostly up to your personal tastes as to how long you keep your kimchi, but a stable temperature is so important, there’s actually a specific refrigerator produced for its storage.
You should definitely enjoy any open dressing within a month, especially if it’s dairy based. Most dressings will give you a full year on the shelf, unopened.
Three years unopened in your pantry and two years of use in your fridge? This fermented sauce is the superhero of all condiments. Once open, it can last a couple of months on the counter, particularly in stable temperatures.
Photo: Serious Eats
Shelf life jumps from one to four months once you open a bottle, but if you’re stockpiling for the zombie apocalypse, there’s one full year of BBQ sauce ahead of you.