When we think of this ingredient, we are always amused by the fact that so many more of us are into using it than can pronounce it, and for good reason! It is one of the most versatile sauces out there. It is magnificent whether deployed as a little drip on a toasted cheese sandwich or as part of a barbecue. Many of us even end up throwing a few drips of the stuff into chili and into spaghetti dishes. But yet, we struggle to pronounce it at the best of times and haven’t got a clue how to store it at the worst of times.
For many of us, it’s an ingredient that we buy that kind of just sits about for an indefinite amount of time, a few drops taken here and there. We just don’t really think or worry about it as it seems to last for ages without going bad. It just seems like that kind of ingredient that is potent enough to take care of itself. Well, the good news is that it does kind of keep for a long time. However, if you’re like us and have a bottle lying around that you can’t remember buying, we may have some bad news for you. So, if you want to know more about this incredibly unique and incomparable sauce, read on!
The Best Way to Store Worcestershire Sauce
The good news about Worcestershire sauce is that, due to the fact that it is high in sodium, it is actually quite easy to store. This is because the same sodium which serves to add flavor also manages to act as a preserving agent. As such, you should store it in much the same way as you would a soy sauce or a tabasco. The elements you want to keep it away from are sunlight and excess heat. Naturally the best places to do this are in the pantry or in any kitchen cabinet.
As soon as a bottle of Worcestershire sauce is opened, it comes into contact with an element which starts the countdown timer for its expiry – air. So, when storing an opened bottle, we also need to minimize its contact with air. Always seal the bottle as tightly as possible before putting it away. In terms of where to store it, we would have a slight preference for the fridge. Here, an opened bottle of Worcestershire sauce will last for up to a year. So, if you’re using it at any rate of regularity, the mystery bottle of Worcestershire in the fridge may well be just fine!
It is also worth noting that an opened bottle of Worcestershire won’t expire all that quickly if it has simply been returned to the cabinet or pantry. This is due to the fact that some of the ingredients present in Worcestershire have preservative qualities. For example, sodium and vinegar can last pretty much indefinitely and have no need to be refrigerated. Because of this, if you expect to get through a full bottle relatively quickly, the larder is also a viable place to store the bottle.
How Long Does Worcestershire Sauce Last?
You may not be all that surprised to hear that Worcestershire sauce has an incredibly long shelf-life. Even the date printed on the bottle can point to the fact that it can last for up to 3 years if stored correctly. However, we figure that there is absolutely no reason why this lifespan couldn’t be expanded by an extra year. Provided that the bottle hasn’t been damaged and the seal is intact, there should be no problems. In fact, it may well be fine for an even longer period of time than this. Given that a large quantity of the ingredients are relatively immune to spoilage, it is much more likely that your sauce will simply begin to diminish in quality instead. So, in terms of picking a date that accurately reflects when a bottle of Worcestershire goes off, the task is nearly impossible. In some case, a bottle nearly a decade old could still taste fine. In other case, this may not prove true. For that reason we would recommend sticking to the guideline date of up to a year beyond the sell-by date.
Once opened, a bottle of Worcestershire sauce won’t exactly begin to go off rapidly. More so, it will begin to lose all of its unique flavor qualities at an accelerated rate. In this sense, it is probably best to use an opened bottle of Worcestershire sauce within the timeframe of a year or so if stored in the pantry. Stored in the fridge, this timeframe can be extended to as long as 3 years. Given that is entirely possible that the contents may well be unspoiled after this period of time, our next section will teach you to recognize the signs that the sauce has expired.
Signs That Your Worcestershire Sauce May Have Gone Off
As we have mentioned before, it is pretty rare that a Worcestershire sauce will fully go off. It is much more likely that it will lose its flavor. Regardless, seeing as it can happen, here are a few signs of spoilage to look for. The first sign to look out for is one you should be able to notice by simply opening the bottle. After a while, a spoiled Worcestershire sauce will begin to release gasses. So, if your bottle makes an audible popping noise while it is being opened, this can indicate that the contents are no longer good. If in any doubt, if there is also a very sour odor emanating from the bottle or any mold, the bottle should be discarded immediately. Asides from these signs, all we can really advise is to have a little taste of the sauce before using it. If it has passed the other tests, the worst that could happen is that it will simply taste a little lackluster. At this point, though it is most likely safe, there is no real point in using it as it won’t add any flavor to the overall dish that you are cooking.
Can Worcestershire Sauce be Refrigerated?
As far as unopened bottles go, there is really no point in storing them in the fridge as it won’t do it any favors. However, once the bottle is opened, the best course of action is to refrigerate it thereafter. By doing so, you can make an opened bottle of Worcestershire last up to three times longer. There is never any occasion to store Worcestershire sauce in the freezer and we wouldn’t recommend it in the slightest!
Worcestershire Sauce Storage, Sell-by Dates, and Other Related Questions
Is Worcestershire sauce vegan?
Unfortunately not. The traditional recipe for the sauce contains either anchovies or a fish sauce. However, there are plenty of recipes online for vegan Worcestershire sauce which actually taste quite close to the real deal!
Is Worcestershire sauce healthy?
Given that Worcestershire sauce is a fermented food, which are generally quite healthy, one could easily be lead to expect that it would also be healthy in the same way as kimchi. Unfortunately this is not the case. The benefits of the fermentation process are effectively overruled by its high sugar and sodium contents.