We all love hoarding condiments, especially sauces! If you have tons of packets of taco bell sauces and need clarification regarding their usability and safety, we will help you!
Taco bell sauces are high in vinegar; hence, it is difficult for bacteria to survive in such an acidic environment. Hence, taco bell sauces can be used for a long time, even past the date of expiry. Having said that, they do go wrong, so one must pay careful attention to the signs of spoilage before deciding to consume them.
In this article, we will discuss in detail the ideal timeline during which these sauces should be consumed. We will also discuss a tried and tested method that will enable the user to determine the safety of the sauce before deciding to use it.
How Long does Taco Bell Sauce last?
Taco Bell Sauces can last very long as long as it is kept in a safe and clean environment. As per USDA, an opened bottle of sauce can last for about half a year without significantly changing its taste and texture if stored under the refrigerator.
Once the bottle is opened, it is best to consume it within a month to enjoy its peak flavor and taste. However, as mentioned above, you can safely consume it in the 6-month window without serious health hazards.
A sealed bottle of this evergreen sauce lasts about 18 months without deteriorating. Since the base of taco bell sauces is vinegar, it is not habitable for the proliferation of microbes and bacteria. The highly acidic content in the sauces may not be ideal for pests and fungus.
Can we eat Taco Bell Sauce after its best-by date?
Sauces usually do not come with a date of expiration since they are practically dairy free. Taco bell sauces are prepared by mixing onions, tomatoes, spices, and vinegar. Hence, they can be shelved for a reasonable amount of time.
Furthermore, as per the USDA standards, a best-by date is a prediction made by the manufacturer to inform the user that the product will taste best and retain its peak quality before it reaches that date.
Hence, consuming these sauces after their best date will be safe and should not cause health concerns as long as you properly inspect them.
Expiry based on different flavors
The five most famous and widely preferred flavors of taco bell sauces are as follows:
- Hot and Spicy
Although they all have similar best-by dates, the chipotle sauce is more susceptible to spoilage since it has a mayo base. Hence, carefully check the sauce to ensure its safety before adding it to your recipes.
The texture of hot and spicy is chunky, and the chances of this sauce losing its original texture are high; hence try to consume them before the 6-month window.
How to know if Taco Bell Sauce has gone bad
If you have an old bottle of this sauce in your cupboard or on a shelf and are trying to decide whether to use it, you can check it using the comprehensive instructions provided below.
Whether it is stored in the fridge or the panty, the packaging should remain intact. Generally, these sauces come in plastic bottles with a firm lid that provides an air-tight environment for the contents within.
If you notice leakages, cracks, and dents on the bottle, the sauce may have been exposed to contamination.
Mold grows on nutritive surfaces in the form of thin biofilms. Hence, we can spot them easily. The chances of finding a mold growing in hot sauces are rare since they are not habitable for microorganisms. However, they may contaminate the other varieties of taco bell sauces.
If you notice any unusual colors of green, brown, or black in the sauce, it may result from this contamination.
Since mold requires humidity to grow, it’s best to store taco bell bottles in a cool and dark environment free from excessive sunlight and temperature fluctuations.
If you have used it before, you would know the kind of texture you should expect since every sauce has a different texture. For instance, hot and spicy has a thicker texture than chipotle due to the presence of jalapenos chunks.
However, these sauces are not runny; hence, if you notice that it is unusually thin or if there is transparent liquid accumulation in the sauce, it is because the sauce is old, and hence it is losing its integrity.
Taco bell sauces have unique smells depending on the variety of sauces that you are using. If you notice any funny smell, it may be because the ingredients within the sauce are getting contaminated and deteriorating.
Best way to store taco bell sauce
Here are some tips that can help you extend the shelf life of your favorite sauce and keep them tasting fresh and flavourful for a longer time.
1. One of the most critical factors that can contribute to spoilage is temperature. Ensure that an unopened bottle of sauces is stored at room temperature, about 28 degrees Celcius. Anything higher than that temperature may not be ideal.
2. Once the bottle is open, it’s best to store them in the refrigerator to prevent bacterial invasion and contamination.
3. Avoid keeping the can under direct sunlight, as it can deteriorate the packaging and alter its content. Furthermore, excessive sunlight can also cause moisture accumulation, promoting mold formation.
4. If the bottle is damaged or the lid is loose, transfer the contents to an air-tight container or vacuum-sealed bags to prevent contamination.
5. Keep the sealed bag or box on the inner shelf of the fridge, rather than the doors, to limit temperature fluctuations.
6. Never leave the sauce on the counter for more than 2 hours after it has been opened.
Health hazards of consuming spoilt or expired taco bell sauce
You will not notice significant health issues even if you use expired or spoilt taco bell sauce. If the sauce is ridden with microbes, the consumer may show mild signs of food poisoning like headache, vomiting, nausea, stomach cramps, diarrhea, etc.
Furthermore, the overall taste of the sauce will be wrong; hence, you will not enjoy its original flavor and taste.
In this section, we will answer some commonly asked questions.
Is it good to refrigerate unopened bottles or packets of taco bell hot and fire sauces?
Answer: Although refrigeration is not necessary if the packet is not opened, it is safe to say that it is a good idea to do so. Since it is preferred to store these sauces in cool and dark places free from sunlight, refrigerating them will help improve the overall shelf life of these sauces. Furthermore, low temperatures in the refrigerator will also inhibit the growth of microbes and thus contribute to maintaining the taste and texture of these sauces for a long time.
How to dispose of rancid sauces?
Answer: You can either dispose of the entire bottle or packet directly in the garbage can or open the packet or bottle and drain the contents in the sink before throwing them away. It is best to wrap the sauce in a plastic bag before throwing it to prevent leakages and attraction from pests.
Can you freeze taco bell sauces?
Answer: Yes. It is ok to freeze these sauces if you plan to use them after some time. However, freezing anything results in the production of ice crystals that can hinder the authentic taste of the sauce. If you still wish to freeze the sauce, wrap it firmly with a cling or zip lock bag to prevent random flavors and aromas from entering it.
Once the bottle is opened, try to consume the sauce within 1 month; however, it can be consumed within 6 months if you do not see mold formation. If the packaging remains intact, an unopened packet can stay in the pantry for about 18 months.
If you are apprehensive about using the sauce for your recipe, you can analyze it by using the points mentioned above before concluding. If you want to extend the usability of these sauces and maintain the potent flavors, you should store them in a place that will prevent any damage to the packet in the form of tears, fractures, and dust.
I hope you found this article helpful. If you have any other questions regarding taco bell sauces, feel free to reach us in the comment section below.
Milburn Adler is a food enthusiast and connoisseur of wine. His area of expertise is food fusions and gourmet foods. He lives to experiment with new recipes every day and spends most of his day looking for fresh and exotic fruits and vegetables.