Tabasco sauce is a brand of fermented hot sauces, invented by the McIlhenny Company in 1868. The sauces are produced from a wide variety of tabasco peppers.
Tabasco sauce can be enjoyed with burritos, tortilla chips, and loaded fries. But as versatile as it is, you’re probably here because you’ve forgotten about a half-empty bottle of Tabasco sauce and you’re wondering if it’s still good.
Here’s the summary: Tabasco sauce stays good for at least 5 years, whether it’s been refrigerated or left out in the pantry at room temperature, opened or unopened.
How To Tell If Tabasco Sauce Has Gone Bad
Tabasco sauce is made from vinegar and peppers. The acetic acid of vinegar and the capsaicin of the chilies act like preservatives and limit the growth of bacteria.
But Tabasco can spoil if the bottle is left unsealed for a long time or if there is a problem with the seal of the cap.
Therefore, first start by checking if there’s a problem with the bottle. If it’s damaged in some way, so air, moisture and bugs may have got to your Tabasco, it’s best to throw your bottle out.
Your Tabasco sauce might turn to a brownish or a dark red color. That shouldn’t worry you since it’s natural for the sauce to change color due to light exposure over time. The mustard and chilli peppers in the sauces tend to turn darker with time.
You can prevent that by appropriately storing the sauce in a cool place dark place, away from direct sunlight.
Although Tabasco sauce can safely be consumed after many years and rarely spoils, if it has developed organic growth, odors, or clumpy texture, you should discard it.
More often that not, though, you’ll probably just be throwing old Tabasco sauce away for quality reasons, rather than because it’s actually gone bad.
How Long Can Tabasco Sauce Last?
Tabasco sauce isn’t going to go bad, but it will begin to lose some of its flavor after a few years. The best way to gauge this is by checking the label on the bottles.
On the label, you’ll see a production date, instead of an expiration date. It is sometimes printed on the bottle in the form of a series of numbers. Now, follow these rules:
- The original Tabasco sauce will be delicious for a good 5 years after production, provided you’ve stored it well. More on that in a bit.
- Flavored Tabasco sauce, like the Habanero, Chipotle Pepper, and Green Jalapeno Pepper flavors, will only last for 1.5 years from production.
But again, there isn’t any hard and fast rule not to consume the sauces after the time frames mentioned above. You can use the sauces as long as you find the flavor agreeable; if not, just chuck it out.
How To Store Tabasco Sauce
You can store Tabasco sauces just like any other hot sauce out there. Consider the following storage tips to elongate the best quality of your sauce.
- Unopened sauce bottles should be kept in dark, cool places like kitchen cabinets.
- For better results, store an opened Tabasco bottle in the fridge with the cap sealed tightly. Make sure you always refrigerate an opened bottle if you live in a hot and humid area.
- The fancier varieties (containing fruits and veggies) of Tabasco sauces should always be refrigerated.
- Try to limit the crusting on the mouth of the bottle since the buildup allows the bacteria to grow. Make sure you clean off any excess with a paper towel after each use.
- It’s best to shake up the bottle before each use to get the best of the flavors and avoid separation issues. It is natural for the bigger particles to settle down at the bottom of the bottle.
To Sum It Up
Unopened Tabasco can last up to 10 years or more since the vinegar and peppers in it act as preservative agents.
Opened Tabasco sauces develop a deeper color and taste than the original flavors and color. It is best to refrigerate Tabasco once the bottle is opened to help retain its best quality. You can throw away any Tabasco sauce if it has lost its flavor for quality purposes.