How Long Does Fermented Hot Sauce Last? – You Should Need to Know

What can give an extra kick to your regular meals and snacks? Let me guess your answer; it’s the fermented sauce, right?

Fermented hot sauce is a great ingredient to add to the dining table, making your ordinary food extraordinary. You can make them with a base of vinegar, peppers, and other spices. However, one common question is, “how long does fermented hot sauce last?”

While the store-bought sauce is fermented for about three months, you can store it in the refrigerator for several years. However, the longer you ferment your hot sauce, the more flavorful it will be, improving the shelf life. So, follow a calculated recipe while making it at home to keep it longer.

Since shelf life depends on fermentation’s duration, how long does fermented hot sauce last? Let’s find out the answer.

Sauce Type Room TemperatureFridge
Unopened hot sauceAround 1 year– 
Opened hot sauce6+ months1+ years
Homemade hot sauce– 1-3 weeks
Homemade fermented hot sauce1 month2-3 months
Store-bought fermented hot sauce1-2 years

How Long Does Fermented Hot Sauce Last?

How Long Does Fermented Hot Sauce Lastc

Fermented hot sauce lasts longer than regular hot sauce because the fermentation process breaks down some of the acids in the peppers.

The time that fermented hot sauce lasts depends on how it was fermented and stored. Some companies use vinegar to preserve their sauces, while others just add salt to the brine.

Usually, the fermented hot sauce may last 6 months to 2 years, depending on the fermentation process and time.

You may ask – how long will fermented hot sauce last in the fridge?

Normally, the manufacturers ferment the sauce for at least three months before releasing it to the market. This way, the sauce may last 1-2 years on the shelf. And maybe more time if refrigerated.

On the other hand, if the hot sauce is fermented for 7-14 days, it can be stored for up to one year in the refrigerator.

So, if you make the fermented hot sauce home, you should follow a calculated recipe to preserve it for a certain time.

How to Increase Fermented Hot Sauce’s Shelf Life?

How to Increase Fermented Hot Sauce's Shelf Life

The shelf life can vary depending on how long the peppers were allowed to ferment and the storage temperature. Storing fermented hot sauce in a refrigerator will extend its life, while storing it in direct sunlight will decrease it.

To extend the shelf life, it is best practice to culture the hot sauce at room temperature. You can culture for 5 to 7 days until you see the peppers become dull.

Usually, the main part of fermentation takes 1 to 2 weeks, but you can ferment for a few more weeks to increase the flavor and shelf life.

Adding more vinegar also helps extend the shelf life by keeping the pH level low. It helps to stop further fermentation and preserve the hot sauce for longer.

Moreover, vinegar also helps to thin the sauce.

Also, the right salt-to-water ratio is another key to making the perfect fermentation and shelf life.

You must also add a little salt to your hot sauce. It will help the vinegar stay fresh longer.

When it comes to storing, you’ll want to store your fermented hot sauce in a sealed container. It will help keep the ingredients fresh in the sauce longer.

How Do You Tell If A Hot Sauce Is Fermented?

Usually, the label should tell you if the hot sauce is fermented. However, if you find an old bottle of hot sauce in your home without a label, you have to taste the sauce and see its condition.

So, what does ferment hot sauce taste like?

Fermented hot sauce is a little sourer than regular hot sauce. During fermentation, the bacteria normally consume carbohydrates and sugars, which eventually reduce the sweetness. The result is a sour and acidic flavor.

Moreover, the fermented hot sauce is milder with less heat. So, if your hot sauce is mild, acidic, and sourer, it is fermented.

What Does Fermented Hot Sauce Smell Like?

As you already know, it is made by fermenting fresh hot peppers with spices. The resulting sauce has a unique and sour smell that can vary depending on the ingredients used.

However, the smell of the fermented hot sauce is often described as pungent, spicy, and similar to vinegar.

Some people may find the smell and flavor of fermented hot sauce unpleasant. But, depending on the ingredients and the level of fermentation, the smell might change over time.

Can Fermented Hot Sauce Go Bad?

We know that fermented hot sauce can last up to a year or two if appropriately stored in a cool place. However, there is a small chance that it can go bad.

It can go bad if not stored correctly, which can cause food poisoning. It is essential to know the signs and symptoms of spoiled fermented sauce. If the hot sauce smells rotting or has an off odor, it is probably not safe to eat.

How To Tell If Fermented Hot Sauce Is Gone Bad?

How To Tell If Fermented Hot Sauce Is Gone Bad

Since the fermented hot sauce has a longer shelf life, it is normal to forget when you have opened it. So you should understand if the sauce is safe to eat. However, there are many ways to determine if the sauce has gone bad.

The most accurate thing is doing a pH test. You can use a pH strip to check the pH level of the stored hot sauce. If it is still acidic, you can eat it. But make sure the pH is less than 3.5 before you eat it.

If the pH strip shows higher than 3.5, you should not eat it and throw it away. If you don’t have a pH strip, you can do further inspections, such as checking the appearance, taste, and smell.

Here is what to look for:

1. Smell

Before testing or looking at the appearance, do the smell test first. If you smell anything rotten or sour or make you nauseous, you know the sauce is not safe to eat anymore. On the other hand, if it smells okay, you may use it. But, still taste it and see the appearance to make sure.

2. Appearance

If you see any moldy or fermented voluminous liquid or whitish spot, don’t think twice about throwing it away. Also, you may notice changed texture and color. However, changes in texture are sometimes normal for the opened bottles due to exposure to oxygen.

Hence, if it smells good and the texture is slightly changed, you can taste it to make the final decision.

3. Taste It

If you are still confused about your fermented hot sauce, take a tiny sample with a spoon and taste it. If you feel slimy, a bit off, or unusual, don’t eat it. Nonetheless, if the fermented hot sauce tastes normal, you can consume it without hesitation.

How Long Does Homemade Fermented Hot Sauce Last?

Is homemade fermented hot sauce shelf stable? How long can you preserve them? It depends on your making process and how long you ferment the sauce.

The fermentation process preserves the sauce and gives it a unique flavor. However, you must note that homemade fermented hot sauce may become sourer over time.

Usually, homemade fermented hot sauce lasts 2-3 months in the refrigerator and around one month at normal temperature.

You may store your freshly made fermented hot sauce in a cool, dark place for up to two weeks. Since temperature and humidity will affect the flavor, you should store your sauce in a refrigerator. It’s also important to shake the bottle well before using it again.

Is Store Bought Hot Sauce Fermented?

While most brands produce a regular hot sauce, some brands produce a fermented hot sauce. For example, Tabasco, Frank’s RedHot, and Huy Fong’s Sriracha are fermented. These sauces are milder but provide a full flavor and allow you to taste every bite.

The Scoville rating for these sauces remains between 600-122. The common ingredients are distilled vinegar, water, pepper, salt, ascorbic acid, and cornstarch.

Why Is My Fermented Hot Sauce Bitter?

Why Is My Fermented Hot Sauce Bitter

If you are fermenting your hot sauce at home, often, it may become bitter. It may happen due to excess salt, suppressing the unwasted bacteria from the environment. Another reason can be adding improper ingredients to your recipe.

That’s why chefs recommend using the ingredients per the recipe you follow.

Fermenting for a longer period may also cause a bitter taste to your sauce. For example, homemade fermentation can be done in just 7 days. So, if you ferment for 3-4 weeks, it may result in a bitter taste.

However, if your sauce tastes bitter during the fermentation, you may add sugar or dilute your vinegar.

You might be interested to read our another comprehensive article of: Does Kimchi Have Alcohol? – All About Kimchi

Final Words

How long does fermented hot sauce last?

You have got your answer in this article. While it is true that fermented hot sauce has a significantly longer shelf life, it also has to be stored properly. Therefore, it is crucial to ensure that you follow the proper steps.

You should always ensure that your hot sauce is stored in a dry, temperature-controlled environment. Also, ensure it is never exposed to direct sunlight or high temperatures.

Other than these, you can also ensure that your fermented hot sauce is in the best condition by storing it in a sealed container. If you follow these simple precautions, you should be able to increase the longevity of your sauce for more benefits.

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