Stocking up on various types of sauces occurs in every household- be it barbeque sauce, soy sauce, or Hollandaise sauce. While some sauces might be used every day, other options might be stowed away for special meals and occasions, Worcestershire sauce being one of them. And just like every other food item, it will most likely go bad, sitting at the back of the pantry, making your money go down the drain.
But hey! Don’t worry. Even though Worcestershire sauce has a definitive shelf life, you can retain its quality with the proper storage methods.
Even if it loses its quality and taste, we shall provide you with the relevant information to help you distinguish between a good and bad sauce. So, what are you waiting for? Let us go ahead and learn everything there is about Worcestershire sauce!
What is Worcestershire sauce?
Worcestershire sauce is a fermented condiment liquid made using a vinegar base with added flavors of anchovies, molasses, tamarind, onion, garlic, and other seasonings.
The taste of this sauce is a bit savory and sweet, along with hints of tanginess due to the vinegar base.
If we talk about history, this sauce was first made by the company Lea & Perrins in Worcestershire, England. Whether salads or broths, Worcestershire goes pretty well with all. In fact, most people also love to add it to their drinks due to its sweet, tangy flavors.
It does not generally go well with vegetarian or vegan meals. Nor can it be used in kosher dishes with meat, even if in a tiny amount. But due to its rising popularity, manufacturers have made it available to a variety of food lovers.
So here are the three varieties of Worcestershire sauce available in the market.
Gluten-Free Worcestershire sauce
We are pretty well aware of gluten-free diets’ benefits, so now the U.S manufactures Gluten-Free Worcestershire sauce. This sauce has distilled white vinegar instead of malt vinegar, which contains a lot of gluten. So if you are on a gluten-free diet, you still can have Worcestershire sauce on your plate.
Vegan Worcestershire sauce
Veganism is a new black, so the manufacturers made sure to make it enjoyable with Vegan Worcestershire sauce. You need to check the label for this, and yes, your vegan diet just got a pretty delicious upgrade.
Low-sodium Worcestershire sauce
Most brands like Lea & Perrins and others also produce low sodium Worcestershire sauce to make it available for people on a low sodium diet. Even people who don’t like the salty taste can go for this low-sodium Worcestershire sauce.
Worcestershire contains various ingredients like distilled white vinegar, garlic, molasses, anchovies, onions, tamarind extract, and other various additives, mostly from your kitchen shelf.
With all such ingredients, does Worcestershire sauce go bad?
Well, here’s what you should know.
Does Worcestershire Sauce Go Bad? What is the Shelf Life of Worcestershire Sauce?
As we already mentioned earlier, Worcestershire has a long shelf life; you can have it in your salads for years. However, there’s no denying it could as well go bad someday if you don’t consume it.
How Long Does Worcestershire Sauce Last Once Open?
If it is an unopened bottle of Worcestershire that you are considering, it will be good even after five years, and it’s safe to consume for the next year or so. Just make sure it smells and tastes okay.
You will get most Worcestershire sauce bottles with an expiry between 18 months to 3 years after opening them.
Even after that, you don’t need to get rid of the Worcestershire sauce if it tastes similar to what it did when you first opened it. This is all because of the distilled vinegar as a primary ingredient.
However, the quality of Worcestershire sauce does degrade over time. Change in its fragrance or ingredient tanginess is one of the few ways you will start comprehending its degrading quality.
Does unopened Worcestershire sauce expire?
If you choose the correct storage methods and techniques, an unopened Worcestershire will last for a good four to five years. But if you want it to last that long, you will have to keep it away from direct sunlight.
You must refrigerate the unopened bottle of Worcestershire sauce. Such a process will retain the sauce’s quality and taste.
Does Worcestershire sauce go bad at room temperature?
On the other hand, if you are an avid user of Worcestershire sauce, you can store it on your kitchen counter. Since the main ingredients of this sauce include soy sauce, vinegar, and blackstrap molasses, it will successfully retain its quality at room temperature.
Author’s Note: Only opt for this if you use the sauce on a daily basis.
How Can You Tell if Worcestershire Sauce Is Bad?
There are a few signs to look out for to determine whether your bottle of Worcestershire sauce is usable or not.
If it’s been years since you last opened the bottle, you will also notice a few signs of mold.
So before you open a bottle of Worcestershire sauce to know if it has gone bad, we recommend smelling it or checking if it looked just the same as when you opened it for the first time.
Other than mold or a strange sour smell, you will notice a gas build-up if you have stored your bottle on the shelf for quite a while. Worcestershire sauce with a plastic bottle will start to appear puffy after a year.
If you open a bottle and the lid seems to pop up, it is likely releasing the gas, and you should know the sauce is wholly gone bad. It does not usually happen when you have stored it appropriately, but if it ever does, make sure you don’t consume it.
Also, sometimes you will notice a layer of dregs at the bottom of Worcestershire sauce. But know that you need to shake the bottle to dissolve it. Its presence does not mean that the sauce has gone bad. It is still pretty safe for consumption.
But Worcestershire’s quality does degrade over time. So taste the sauce if you haven’t opened the bottle for quite a long time.
If you find it tastes a bit gross, you obviously won’t like adding it to your meal. And so, sooner or later, if the sauce ever goes bad, your taste buds will surely tell you it’s time to get rid of it.
But all of this happens after a very long time, and that’s why we say Worcestershire sauce has a pretty good shelf life.
So if you are someone who loves Worcestershire sauce but does not like it that often, then it is essential to store it well to make it last longer.
Hence, you should know a few things about the best ways to store Worcestershire sauce.
How to Store Worcestershire Sauce to Enhance its Shelf Life?
Like any other sauce with a higher sodium level, Worcestershire sauce also needs to be stored in a cool, dry, dark place.
Make sure the sauce is stored in its original container, tightly locked. You can store it in any kitchen cabinet, but you always need to make sure it stays away from direct sunlight.
Even if you have already opened the bottle, you need to make sure you seal it tightly locked again after using it.
It should be noted that it is not always necessary to store it in a refrigerator. A constant room temperature is fine, preferably away from the stove or heat.
But if you have opened it, it will be better to store it in a refrigerator.
This is because it will have access to open-air once opened, which can speed up the drying process. It can also lead to spoiling of taste or smell.
Various natural preservatives were added to Worcestershire to keep the sauce in good condition for a longer duration. And refrigerating it will make it easier.
So it is always a good idea to seal the bottle tightly and store it in the refrigerator.
Is it okay to use expired Worcestershire sauce?
If you thought of food poisoning, then no. Consuming expired Worcestershire sauce will not cause any harm to your health.
That being said, it is not advisable to consume it post its expiration as it will only ruin the taste and texture of your dish.
On the other hand, if you notice any molds, the sauce belongs in the dustbin! Such a type of sauce will likely make you sick.
Can you freeze Worcestershire sauce?
Your longing to use Worcestershire sauce for a long period might prompt you to freeze it. But is it necessary?
Well, it won’t do any harm, nor will it bring you any sort of benefits.
The ingredients of Worcestershire sauce are made to retain their quality at room temperature. This means that storing in the freezer is entirely unnecessary since it will not cause any changes in quality, freshness, or shelf life.
What are the Alternatives to Worcestershire Sauce if it has gone bad?
What if you are already making a dish with Worcestershire sauce as the hero ingredient but finding it covered with mold?
In such scenarios, you can resort to the following alternatives that will bring the same taste and texture to your dish:
- Annie’s Organic Worcestershire Sauce – Vegan
- A1 Original Steak Sauce
- Red Boat Fish Sauce
- Yondu Vegetable Umami Seasoning Sauce
- Primal Kitchen Balsamic Vinegar
FAQs about Worcestershire Sauce
How can you use Worcestershire sauce in your cooking?
When it comes to cooking with Worcestershire sauce, you have a wide variety of dishes you can make. But generally, it is used in marinades and is also brushed on grilled or baked dishes.
You can also use Worcestershire sauce while steaming or stir-frying veggies for your salads. Even pizzas and sandwiches are not an exception when you want to add a bit of sweet tanginess to your meal.
What are the health benefits of consuming Worcestershire sauce?
Technically as of now, there have been no significant health issues due to the consumption of Worcestershire sauce in the diet.
It has approximately five calories per teaspoon. Also, if you are not using a low-spodium Worcestershire sauce, it will have around 65 milligram sodium.
Apart from that, all Worcestershire sauces have a small amount of iron, vitamin C, and calcium as well.
Is Worcestershire sauce similar to soy sauce?
People often compare Worcestershire sauce to soy sauce because of its sweet, tangy flavors. However, the two of them are pretty different in flavors and even ingredients.
Soy sauce is made with more straightforward ingredients like wheat, soybeans, salt, and other essential enzymes.
On the other hand, Worcestershire sauce has more complex flavors. To get the flavors, it has been fermented for almost two years and is used by professionals in a wide range of cooking.
Is Worcestershire sauce bad for you?
Well, not really. But if you are recommended a low sugar diet, Worcestershire sauce might not be a healthy addition to your diet.
It has a higher amount of sugar content and thus can lead to obesity and chronic health issues.
Does Lea & Perrins Worcestershire sauce need to be refrigerated?
The best way to store the Lea & Perrins Worcestershire sauce is to keep it away from sunlight in a dark place. It could be your pantry. If the bottle is unopened, there is no need to store it in a refrigerator.
But if you have opened it, storing it in a refrigerator will be extremely helpful to increase its shelf-life and sustain its quality.
What does Worcestershire sauce smell like?
Worcestershire sauce might smell like fish sauce due to its umami aroma. Due to this, people often refer to its smell as “fishy.”
We are pretty happy to know you have come a long way. This shows you love that bottle of Worcestershire sauce in your pantry.
You probably now know quite a lot about Worcestershire sauce, its shelf-life, its storage, and how it can enhance flavors in your place.
Whether you are a vegan or on a low-sodium diet, this sauce is for all. If it’s pretty old, make sure you smell and taste it. And check if it has developed molds. This rarely happens, but precautions are better than spoiling the taste of your salad.
We hope now you know if and how Worcestershire sauce does go bad!
Gina P. Shudnow is the brain behind all our scientific research. She is a Registered Dietitian who has been in the field for over ten years. Her nutrition tips have helped several people overcome health issues in the past. She strives to make everybody healthier without compromising on their food diet.