Another Sriracha shortage is upon us, and it seems like everyone is already hoarding bottles at the stores. (*)
If you are one of these people and you’re planning to stock up on a lot of bottles, then you need to learn how to store this popular condiment properly.
One of the most famous storage questions we’ve received is: do you need to refrigerate Sriracha?
- Do You Need to Refrigerate Sriracha?
- Why Sriracha Doesn’t Have to Be Refrigerated?
- But Here’s a Good Reason Why You Would Want to Refrigerate Sriracha
- How to Use and Store Sriracha to Prolong Its Shelf Life?
- The Bottom Line
Do You Need to Refrigerate Sriracha?
No, you don’t have to refrigerate Sriracha. According to the manufacturer, the best way to store Sriracha bottles is to keep them in a cool, dark, and dry place—at room temperature. (*)
However, this storage instruction applies only to the original Sriracha recipe. If you bought other variants of Sriracha like Sriracha Mustard or Sriracha Mayonnaise. This is because other Sriracha types contain less-than-stable ingredients that may affect the sauce’s stability.
But since temperatures normally fluctuate, it may range from 68 degrees Fahrenheit to 72 degrees Fahrenheit.
Why Sriracha Doesn’t Have to Be Refrigerated?
The main reason why Sriracha doesn’t have to be refrigerated is because it contains shelf-stable ingredients.
To be honest, it takes a lot for hot sauces to spoil, and it’s all because of the sauces’ main ingredients—chili peppers. Capsaicin is the substance that is responsible for the hot pepper’s spicy kick.
But aside from that, it’s also known for its excellent antimicrobial property. (*) This means that it has the ability to prevent the growth of bacteria which causes the sauces to spoil.
The ingredient that gives Sriracha its unique tangy taste is distilled vinegar. This is actually a well-known natural preservative which inhibits the growth of microorganisms, thereby, extending its shelf life.
Aside from these two ingredients, Sriracha also contains a large amount of salt. Fortunately, this ingredient is also a well-known preservative.
Salt is known for reducing the water activity in foods, lowering the risk of bacterial growth and unwanted chemical reactions. (*)
Among all the Sriracha variants, it’s the original recipe that has the longest shelf life. That’s because it contains only a few ingredients and most of which are shelf-stable.
As a rule of thumb, the more ingredients a variant has, the lower shelf life it will have. This is most especially true if the sauces contain unstable ingredients like cream, milk, fruits, and many more.
But Here’s a Good Reason Why You Would Want to Refrigerate Sriracha
Even though Sriracha is recommended to be stored at room temperature, the company can’t guarantee that its texture and taste will stay the same after some time.
Due to the oxidation process, Sriracha stored in the pantry may undergo the following changes:
Sriracha features a vividly bright red to orange shade. But once opened, the sauce will be exposed to air which will cause its color to darken slightly. After a few weeks to months, the sauce will take on a darker red hue.
As the Sriracha ages, it may also thicken a bit. This is most especially true if the bottle hasn’t been shaken or moved for a long time.
These changes are actually okay. Thicker or darker Sriracha are still safe for consumption, but it can significantly affect the appearance of the sauce and the dish you’ll put it into.
If you want to prevent your Sriracha from darkening or thickening, refrigerating it is the way to go. Because of the lower temperature inside the refrigerator, you can be able to maintain its original consistency and color.
With that said, refrigerated Sriracha will definitely have a better taste, appearance, and texture as compared to Sriracha stored at room temperature.
How to Use and Store Sriracha to Prolong Its Shelf Life?
If you want to ensure that the sauce will retain its freshness for as long as possible, here are some of the things you need to do:
Keep Sriracha in a dark place.
The sauce should be stored away from direct light. That’s because exposure to light can cause oxidation, the process that changes the sauce’s color from vibrant to dark.
Place the sauce in either a pantry or a cupboard.
Since there are little to no chances of temperature fluctuations in these places, these are the best storage options for the sauce. However, you need to make sure that these are located far from heat sources like the stove, open, or any opened kitchen windows.
Close the cap tightly.
Aside from preventing the air from entering the bottle, closing the cap will also protect the sauce from condensation and moisture which can increase the risk and rate of spoilage.
Avoid dipping and dunking the tip of the bottle in the food (and vice versa).
Prevent direct contact between the tip of the bottle and food items at all costs to avoid cross-contamination.
Instead, what you can do is transfer only the amount of sauce that you need in a saucer or bowl before dipping the food item in it.
After that, throw out any leftover sauce in the bowl. Never pour the contaminated sauce back into the bowl.
The Bottom Line
Do you need to refrigerate Sriracha? According to the manufacturer, you don’t have to. However, keep in mind that this rule only applies to the original Sriracha recipe. If you have other Sriracha variants that contain unstable ingredients, it’s best that you store it inside the refrigerator.
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