Is it the fridge or pantry? We finally have a definitive answer.
I'm a firm believer that hot sauce should be an essential condiment in your home kitchen. I'll even declare it more important than ketchup or mayonnaise. Hot sauce is one of those condiments that can cause huge debates. One of those debates is which hot sauce brand is superior. My personal favorite is Tabasco. It has the right consistency, acidity, flavor, and heat. (Cholula is a close second.) No matter the hot sauce you gravitate towards, the second biggest debate is where to store it.
Does Hot Sauce Need to Be Refrigerated?
We asked the experts at Tabasco—the U.S.'s sixth most popular hot sauce brand owned by the McIlhenny Company—if it's really necessary to store an opened bottle of hot sauce in the fridge. Christian Brown, Agriculture Manager of the Mcllhenny Company says, "Storing it in the fridge will help slow the discoloration process but it isn’t necessary."
Where to Store Hot Sauce
According to Brown, hot sauce is primarily made from three main ingredients: peppers, salt, and vinegar. We know that salt is a great preservative because of its ability to reduce the water activity in foods, which microbes need to flourish. Vinegar is very acidic which can also steer away microbial growth. Therefore, hot sauce doesn't actually need to be refrigerated, it just needs to be stored in a cool, dry place away from sunlight like in your pantry or cupboard (just like soy sauce!).
What About Hot Sauces With More Sugar Like Sriracha?
But not all hot sauces are created equally, some differ from Tabasco when it comes to sugar content, like sriracha. However, according to Huy Fong, the leading sriracha manufacturer, it does not need to be refrigerated. Just like any other hot sauce it should be stored in a cool dark place, like the pantry. Despite the sugar content, sriracha still has antimicrobial properties in its chili peppers and distilled vinegar that prevent it from spoiling at room temperature. But you may still want to keep it in the fridge—some like the taste better cooled, and just like with Tabasco, refrigerating sriracha slows down discoloration.
The Bottom Line
What's the final answer? Well, it's both. You now know that hot sauce is just fine kept in the pantry, but for the best quality, try the fridge. At the end of the day, it is up to personal preference. For me, I keep my hot sauces in the fridge. Not only does it maintain it's bright red color, but it just tastes better. If you enjoy your condiment at room temperature, the pantry is fine too. Tabasco's recommendation: "[keep it] in close reach when you’re cooking up eggs or reheating a slice of pizza!”
Read the original article on All Recipes.