Boy do I get this question ALOT, or at least some form of it. The short answer is yes. It is food after all and all foods will eventually spoil and/or grow some sort of mold or bacteria. The better question tends to be “What can I do to make my hot sauce last as long as it can?” There’s a few simple things that can really help…
- Don’t cross contaminate! Are you opening your new sauce and sticking a finger right in there? Stop it! Are you dipping food straight into the bottle? Knock it off! Are you spreading it on bread/tortillas/whatever with a knife and then going back in for a second knife-full? C’mon now… This is the single biggest reason your sauce ends up with a fuzzy little friend inside there. Pour your sauce out of the bottle and cap it when you’re done. That’s it!
- Keep that rim clean! Now that you are ALWAYS pouring your sauce you’ll inevitably end up with some on the rim when you’re done. You gotta wipe that thing off. Right now! Do it! Every time you put that lid back on and there’s still sauce on the rim you have effectively made a bridge from the big, dirty world to the delicious mini-verse inside your bottle. That crust around the edge sure doesn’t seem like it helps keep that seal tight, does it? Nope, not at all. So take a few seconds between sauceing your burrito and closing your bottle to give that rim a quick wipe.
- Does hot sauce need to be refrigerated? This question seems to be a never ending debate among sauce fanatics on every online hot sauce group out there. It’s actually pretty simple; it’s up to you… kinda. I always go by what the bottle tells me, to be honest. For example, our bottles all suggest refrigeration after opening so that’s what I do. I tend to be more cautious and prefer a cold sauce when adding it to things so I usually refrigerate it all but that doesn’t mean you have to. Look at it this way; If the acid content is high enough and you are eating the sauce regularly, you’ll be fine but if you have something you only eat occasionally, while it’s probably fine on the counter or in the cabinet, it will still last longer refrigerated. So do what you will and if you follow rules one and two, you don’t really have to worry too much.
I hope this clears some things up and also causes me to get a ton of salty emails from people about sauce refrigeration. Thanks guys and keep it Accidentally Healthy, Intentionally Delicious.