Does Worcestershire Go Bad? How Long Does It Last?

Does Worcestershire Go Bad How Long Does It Last
Image: Lucky Belly

Worcestershire is a popular sauce that goes well with meat, fish, and various soups. Still, most people don’t use it daily. If this is also your case, and you are not a connoisseur, you may wonder does the Worcestershire go bad and how long does Worcestershire last. Luckily, there is a simple answer to both questions. Let’s see.

Does Worcestershire Go Bad?

Does Worcestershire Go Bad
Image: Lucky Belly

In a way, a Worcestershire sauce is already spoiled when you buy it. Namely, manufacturers ferment it very long before it reaches the shelves in the store, and this fermentation process gives the sauce that specific flavor you enjoy.

However, not only Worcestershire is consumable, but it has a long and very often indefinite shelf life like most high sodium sauces. Some of its ingredients, such as white vinegar and soy sauce, are actually natural preservatives.

That means you can keep this sauce in the pantry for years without fear of spoiling. Plus, you can use it safely for more than 18 months after opening it.

How Long Does Worcestershire Last?

How Long Does Worcestershire Last
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Since Worcestershire has almost no shelf life, manufacturers mostly label it with the best before date, thus guaranteeing its quality. Usually, the deadline is one to three years from the production date, but you can use it without problems years later.

As long as you store the unopened sauce in a dark and dry place, such as a kitchen cabinet or pantry, it can keep its original taste for up to five years. However, once opening the bottle, you can transfer it to the fridge if you wish.

How Long Does Worcestershire Last (Chart)

Sauce

PantryFridgeFreezer
Unopened bottleBest by + 1 to 3 monthsUnnecessary

Unnecessary

Opened bottle

18 to 24 months3 years

Unnecessary

The sauce you open will lose its taste over time, although it doesn’t spoil. Besides, the taste can change and become less intense if you store the opened bottle in a warm or sunny place.

If you only use your Worcestershire sauce occasionally, keeping it open in a fridge can prolong its life to up to three years. If your pantry is dark and cold, you can store an opened bottle there for 18 to 24 months.

3 Tips to Tell if Worcestershire Has Gone Bad

How to Tell if Worcestershire Has Gone Bad
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In sporadic cases, Worcestershire can go bad. If you forget an open bottle next to the grill, in the sun, or it stays in the fridge for more than three years, it is safest to throw it away and buy a new sauce.

Remember that it is quite common for the sauce to settle if you don’t use it for a long time. You may notice deposits forming at the bottom while clear liquid separates at the top of the bottle. Such a sauce is entirely safe for consumption. All you need to do is to shake it well before use.

The good news is that you can quickly recognize the signs that the sauce has spoiled. The three most likely indicators are:

1. Mold build-up

In most cases, the mold spots appear around the bottle opening. That could happen if you didn’t close the sauce tightly, so the bacterial contamination occurred. Still, that is an uncommon occurrence since the main ingredients of Worcestershire are natural preservatives.

2. Strange smell

Typically, the taste and smell of Worcestershire don’t change but can weaken, and the sauce can air out and degrade. Still, don’t ignore the strange stench coming from the bottle. If you notice an odor change, whether it becomes more sour or rotten, discard the bottle.

3. Gas accumulation

The most reliable sign that something is wrong with the sauce is a puffy bottle. You need to throw it out if you open Worcestershire and hear a gasp or a loud pop sound. Accumulation of gas in the packaging can occur regardless of whether it is a glass or plastic bottle.

5 Tips to Store Worcestershire

5 Tips to Store Worcestershire
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You may not know, but the first Worcestershire was made entirely by accident. The manufacturers who made it decided that its taste was too strong and unusable.

So, they left the barrels in the basement and forgot about it. Much later, someone tasted a sample while clearing the cellar and discovered how delicious it was. The famous sauce was created!

I mention this fact because unopened Worcestershire, like wine, gets tastier as its ages. Besides storing it in a pantry, there are few things you can try with Worcestershire.

Make a drink

Although Bloody Mary is the first association to drinks with Worcestershire sauce, many other cocktails contain this ingredient. These include Sangrita, Red Devil, Petroleum, Bullshot, Michelada, aka Bloody Beer, and Bloody London.

Marinade meat and fish

Worcestershire is an excellent choice for marinating beef, pork, and fish. You can use it as an alternative to soy or fish sauce. Drizzle the meat and leave it in the bowl for two to three hours.

Vinegar, which is one of Worcestershire’s main ingredients, will soften the steak while sugar alleviates the sauce’s acidity. Besides, your meal will be even tastier if you mix it with herbs such as oregano or basil.

Cooking with Worcestershire

If you have a bottle of Worcestershire that has been in the fridge for a long time, and you don’t know what to do with it, you can always use it as a soup addition.

From Pumpkin chili to Sage soup, there are countless recipes for cooked dishes with this sauce. The bonus side is that you can save leftovers by dividing them into smaller portions and storing them in the freezer.

Once you decide to thaw the soup, you can use a microwave, stove, or instant pot to reheat it. Stir the soup before you serve it. You will be surprised by the fact that the taste hasn’t changed at all. Plus, the aroma of Worcestershire preserves despite freezing.

Make a barbecue sauce

Many people use Worcestershire directly from a bottle when preparing a barbecue. You can still use it to make some of the popular barbeque sauces, such as Classic Shrimp Cocktail sauce or Basic Sweet & Tangy BBQ sauce.

You can put either of these two dressings in a glass jar and store it in the fridge for about two weeks. However, you can also freeze them. In that case, you can keep them up to three months.

Use a sauce powder

If you don’t want to keep an open bottle of Worcestershire in the fridge for months, you may prefer buying the sauce powder. It is a dehydrated variant of the sauce that can last for years.

Plus, it takes up very little space in the pantry. You can mix it with boiled water, prepare the sauce, or sprinkle it over sandwiches, pasta, or barbecue. Most product reviews emphasize that its taste is more intense than the sauce from the bottle.

The Risk of Consuming an Expired Worcestershire

The Risk of Consuming an Expired Worcestershire
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Although there is little chance that you will consume an expired Worcestershire, the excessive amount of this sauce can cause health problems since it belongs to high sodium food.

Excessive consumption of food high in sodium may cause high blood pressure, chronic heart and kidney disease, and stroke. For this reason, the Lea & Perrins company that first produced Worcestershire also has made the reduced-sodium sauce. It is an excellent alternative for those whose salt intake should be limited.

Plus, the traditional recipe for Worcestershire includes anchovy, which may cause an allergic reaction. Allergy symptoms may include swelling, redness of the face, shortness of breath, tightening of the throat, and indigestion.

If you belong to people suffering from fish allergies or are a vegetarian, you can find online recipes for homemade Worcestershire sauce that doesn’t contain anchovy.

Can You Freeze Worcestershire?

Hypothetically, it is possible to freeze Worcestershire, but you won’t have any benefit from it. Your sauce has practically an unlimited shelf life, whether you store it in the pantry or the refrigerator.

Plus, the salt molecules in the sauce make it hard to freeze Worcestershire because its freezing point is extremely low. In the best-case scenario, the liquid will separate from the sauce after freezing while the solid remains in a semi-frozen state.

There are only two exceptions. While most people marinate a steak in sauce, some chefs swear by steaks frozen ahead with Worcestershire. Allegedly, meat frozen in such a marinade has a more intense taste.

Plus, Worcestershire is an ingredient in the classic Bloody Mary recipe. Some bartenders add sauce, previously frozen in ice cube trays, to the cocktail.

Still, not everyone likes to experiment with recipes. If you prefer avoiding changes in the sauce’s texture, you can play it safe and use it right out of the pantry. That way, you won’t get lumps in the melted sauce.

Summary

One of the best attributes of Worcestershire is almost infinite shelf-life. You can store it way past its expiration date. Plus, it has numerous applications. Still, it can go bad in particular cases, but the signs of spoilage are easily recognizable.

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