Wonder how long does Tabasco last? Let's try to find out in this post.
What is Tabasco? A Brief History
Tabasco or Tabasco sauce is a brand of hot sauce made using tabasco peppers along with vinegar and salt. But the secret to this popular sauce is that before bottling and selling, they age it for three years inside barrels made of white oak wood. As to how the sauce came to be, it all started sometime in 1867.
Edmund McIlhenny created the Tabasco sauce around that time after moving to Avery Island, Louisiana. He moved there after he lost his fortune during the War Between The States. After acquiring some seeds of tabasco pepper, he planted them in his garden. In 1897, he began to experiment with creating a sauce from these peppers.
McIlhenny first crushed some tabasco peppers, then mix them with salt found in Avery Island. After aging in jars, crocks, and barrels for a month, he added some white wine vinegar to the mixture and aged it again for another month. The result is the famed Tabasco sauce, which he then patented and marketed along the Gulf Coast.
For many Americans, Tabasco sauce is a staple in the kitchen. There are only very few households without this hot sauce in their cupboards. But many of them falsely believe one thing about the sauce – that it can last for years, maybe even forever. Is that true? Just how long does Tabasco last?
Tabasco sauce has a shelf life of several years. It doesn't matter if it's opened, unopened, refrigerated, or unrefrigerated. However, the quality of the sauce will not remain the same. Even after years of it in your cupboard, it will still be safe to consume. Only that it will lose its flavor as time passes.
This makes it important that you take note of the date printed on the bottle of the sauce. There, you will see the production date of the sauce, indicated by numbers like 06202014. This number means the Tabasco sauce was produced on June 20, 2014. That gives you a benchmark for how long the Tabasco sauce can last.
Shelf Life of Tabasco After Opening at Room Temperature
The shelf life of the sauce depends on the flavor.
- Original Flavor – can typically hold its flavor for about 5 years
- Habanero Flavor – usually loses its flavor within 2 years
- Green Jalapeno and Chipotle Pepper – begins to lose flavor after 1 1/2 years
How Long Does Tabasco Last in the Freezer
Cold temperature doesn't affect how long you can store a Tabasco sauce. It won't go bad even when you don't refrigerate the sauce, only that it will start to lose its flavor. Tabasco sauces' can retain their flavor for about 18 to 24 months, whether opened or unopened, refrigerated, or not.
Can You Use Tabasco After 5 Years?
As referenced above, the most that a Tabasco sauce retains its flavor is 5 years. But does that mean you can't consume it anymore? You can, thanks to the chili peppers and vinegar. The capsaicin in the peppers and the acid from the vinegar are excellent preservatives. It is them that prevents bacteria from growing and spoiling your Tabasco sauce.
Common Uses of Tabasco Sauce
There are a variety of ways you can use Tabasco sauce. It's a condiment that is simply amazing, so you definitely need it in your kitchen. Below are 4 ways you can use a Tabasco sauce:
- All Kinds of Sauce: You can use it to make all kinds of sauces. You can add it to a barbecue cause or a steak sauce. If you want, it can be a marinating sauce too. If it's to add a sauce to any food, this could be your go-to.
- Bloody Mary Cocktail: It's a key ingredient in the cocktail Bloody Mary, a mix of vodka, tomato juice, a bit of Worcestershire sauce, lemon juice, salt, and a quarter teaspoon of Tabasco. You'll have to stir the concoction well, then chilled and served with ice along with a slice of lime as garnish.
- Seasoning: Of course, you can use it as a seasoning for a wide array of foods. You can use it in French fries, cheese fries, salads, sandwiches, burgers, pizza, pasta, and mashed potatoes. You can either add it while cooking the dish or as part of toppings.
- Dips: Tabasco is a ready dip for various ingredients. You can use it as a dip for cheese, corn, or even guacamole. With just a few drops of the sauce, you can add some spice or kick to any food you think is a little bland. There are more ways to Tabasco sauce, depending on your creativity.
How long does Tabasco last? It can be forever, but it won't taste the same. That said, it's best to consume it within a year to get the most out of its flavor. It's unlikely that you store it for more than a year in your cupboard or refrigerator. After all, this hot sauce is quite the best in adding flavor to any dish.
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