6. Hot Sauce
Unless your hot sauce is homemade, we don’t recommend storing it in the refrigerator, as this can make the flavour taste weaker – and who wants that? The whole point of hot sauce is to add a dash of punchy flavour and according to hot sauce specialists, keeping it in the cupboard helps to maintain its potency.
With that being said, there’s still a lot of debate about this issue, particularly as refrigerating hot sauce can help to prolong its life expectancy and improve its colour. Ultimately though, most hot sauces have both high levels of vinegar, which contains acid, and large quantities of salt, which means they will last for ages, even out of the fridge.
Vinegar creates acidity and according to one Japanese study, it has the power to lower levels of food-borne pathogenic bacteria, while other research shows that salt is a natural preservative that protects foods like parma ham from strains of botulinum toxin. Acid and salt together make a powerful antibacterial blend – one where bacteria like Clostridium botulinum can’t thrive! The exact amount of time your hot sauce will last unrefrigerated depends on the type of sauce it is – some will only last 6 months, while others, like Louisiana Hot Sauce, can last up to 5 years.
Aside from homemade hot sauce, which should always be refrigerated, there are some other exceptions – and that’s if your sauce has been fermented, has an oil base, or contains egg or mayonnaise. If this is the case, then it’s important to refrigerate it immediately, to prevent toxic pathogens from growing.