Shelf Life

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How long can foodstuffs last? That’s a question many homeowners in the Upper Valley are asking now that they are spending considerably more time at home and preparing meals. The longevity of different condiments, jams, jellies, dips, sauces and similar items depends on if and when they are opened and how they are stored.

You can better track the useful life of the contents of your refrigerator and pantry by labeling jars and bottles with the date that they are opened. Don’t rely on use-by dates to determine useful life if something has already been opened. Store items that don’t need to be refrigerated before and after opening in a cool, dark place advises the Ohio State University Extension. Avoid storing foodstuffs in a warmer cabinet, in the oven, dishwasher or near the refrigerator exhaust.

Certain items that are typically stored in the pantry can have their freshness extended if they are stored in the refrigerator. These include: mustard, mayo, barbeque sauce, ketchup, soy and teriyaki sauces, Worcestershire sauce and salsa. Refrigerating sauces and condiments helps to maintain their freshness for longer periods. It’s more about taste than shelf life.

If you believe that many products can be used past their expiration dates, always check for suspicious odors, discoloration, mold or other signs that the product has gone off.

The following guidelines were derived from information on Foodkeeper (it has an app you can use to track), and Kansas State University Cooperative Extension.

ProductUnopened and Unrefrigerated Shelf LifeOpened and Refrigerated Shelf Life
Barbeque Sauce1 year4 months
Chutney1 year1 to 2 months
Hoisin Sauce18 to 24 months3 to 6 months
Honey2 yearsStore in pantry
Horseradish12 months (if refrigerated)3 to 4 months
Hot Sauce9 to 12 months6 months
Jams, Jellies, Preserves6 to 18 months6 to 12 months
Jarred Pesto6 to 9 months7 days
Jarred Spaghetti Sauce18 months4 days
Ketchup1 year6 months
Maple Syrup12 monthsLonger if refrigerated
Mayo3 to 6 months2 months
Mustard1 to 2 years1 year
Oyster Sauce18 to 24 months3 to 6 months
Natural Peanut Butter1 year3 to 4 months
Regular Peanut Butter6 to 9 months/1 year (if refrigerated)2 to 3 months (in pantry)/3 to 4 months (if refrigerated)
Pickles1 year1 to 3 months
Relish2.5 years9 months
Salad Dressing10 to 12 months1 to 3 months
Salsa1 year1 month
Soy or Teriyaki Sauce3 years1 month
Tahini1 year3 weeks
Vinegar2 years1 year
Worcestershire Sauce1 year1 year


For additional guidance for storing your food, organizing your kitchen or creating the kitchen your dreams, call our showroom at 603-448-9700 or send us an email

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