Soy sauce is a staple of Asian cuisine and can be regularly bought in tall bottles containing a lot of liquid.
This is great, especially if you’re a savvy cook and add it to a lot of your creations – but it does beg the question: can soy sauce go bad?
Soy sauce contains high levels of sodium, which isn’t a very hospitable environment for microorganisms.
This means that soy sauce can last for years, but that’s not to say it will still be good quality.
We’re going to take a quick look at the common expiry dates for soy sauce and how you can know if yours is still safe to consume.
Let’s get right into it!
The Shelf Life Of Soy Sauce
Quick Answer: Soy sauce is quite unlikely to go bad, even after long periods of time because of its high sodium content.
Almost every food item comes with either a “best before” or “durable life date.” These dates are guidelines that will help you to know whether a food is safe to eat or not.
However, this date is usually dependent on whether or not the bottle/packaging is opened or not.
A lot of food items will have a 5-7 day time period where you are advised to consume them after opening the packaging.
When it comes to soy sauce, you have much longer time periods to work with. If you open a bottle of soy sauce, you’re going to have way over a year before you’ll notice any kind of lapse in quality.
Providing you reseal it each time you use it with its cap, you’ll be able to use it frequently without any changes in safety or taste.
So one thing that can happen with soy sauce is the appearance of small, white floating specs. You might think this is mold, but it’s much more likely to be yeast.
Because soy sauce is a very high sodium environment, there is a small chance that yeast can appear.
Yeast isn’t dangerous in the same way that mold is, but that’s not to say you should eat it – as it can massively change the taste of your soy sauce.
If you see these within your bottle of soy sauce, make sure to remove them as soon as you can.
After you’ve done this, you’re going to want to see if your soy sauce still holds up to taste. Take a taste test once you’re done and see if the flavor of your soy sauce has been spoiled.
How To Store Soy Sauce
Bottles of soy sauce come in all shapes and sizes.
You’re most likely to find either a tall-necked bottle used to store larger quantities of sauce or a smaller dispenser with two openings on each end of the cap that allow you to drizzle soy sauce to taste.
Both are found for storing soy sauce for long periods of time, but generally, we would suggest always keeping unopened bottles in a cool, dry place.
Cooler temperatures and less exposure to moisture have been tried and true methods at stopping the growth of bacteria on a wide variety of food options.
This is why it’s usually best to have a place like this in your home to keep food items.
Refrigerators are also okay to use as a place to store soy sauce, but if they’re on a particularly low setting this may affect taste if kept there for long periods of time.
How To Know If My Soy Sauce Has Gone Bad
We’ve already explained that soy sauce is quite unlikely to go bad, even after long periods of time because of its high sodium content, but that’s not to say that it can’t ever go bad.
If you have stored your sauce without a cap, or in a place that is inhospitable to food, then you may find bacteria growth.
It is worth noting that this will only happen if you’re not careful and leave it unattended for a long time.
If you’re not sure, the first thing you should do is take a sniff of your soy sauce and see if you can smell anything funny.
This is a good first line of defense. If it has really spoiled, then you might notice a bad smell.
Secondly, you’re going to want to look for any signs of visual spoiling. Pour a tiny amount into a bowl or on a plate – can you see signs of mold?
If you do then you will know that your bottle of soy sauce is no longer safe to consume. In this case, make sure to be vigilant and don’t take any chances as mold can easily make you sick.
A good general rule of thumb is – if you’re not sure, don’t take the risk!
Thankfully soy sauce is a very cheap food item in many parts of the world, so replacing a bottle isn’t always all that hard to do!
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