Ever tried to help someone in their kitchen? You reach into the cupboard to find the soy sauce and you can’t.
“Are you out of soy sauce? Where do you keep it?”
Then the exasperated reply comes, “it’s in the fridge.” You can hear terrible descriptive regarding your kitchen abilities even though they’ve not actually been said.
So, you check the bottle as you pull it out of the fridge. You already know there is enough salt in there to keep it fresh on the shelf for many decades; there’s no way it needs to be in the fridge. But there it is on the bottle, “refrigerate after opening.” You don’t believe it, of course. And, whether you bring it up or not has to do with how often you see your friend. And hence, the great debate: To refrigerate or not.
But, There Really Is Enough… for This to Keep on the Shelf…
Absolutely. There is definitely enough salt in soy sauce for it to keep. That said, if it only comes out once every couple of months, you might just want to plop it in the fridge for safekeeping. You should also consider taking the soy sauce packets on offer from Chinese restaurants.
There are some things you don’t need to refrigerate though. Soy sauce is one of them, even if it says it on the bottle. Bread is another. Feel free to save fridge space on eggs, bananas, and tomatoes too.
And, if you’ve ever found a jar of honey in the fridge, you are welcome to laugh. This natural food lasts forever… maybe even longer than that. Back in the day, they put jars of honey in the tombs of the Pharaohs and other such royalty. This sweet nectar was meant for life everlasting on the other side. But, the stuff they pulled out of the tombs in the last century is still edible. Clearly, decent honey does not require refrigeration.
You do want to make sure that seriously perishable items like raw chicken and milk make it into the fridge. Without the chill, these items will make you sick (though it does take longer than you’d imagine at room temperature.
What about Hot Sauces? They MUST Be in the Fridge, Right?
Ummmm, not always. You’ll notice, for example, that you will find a directive to refrigerate on a bottle of the original Mad Dog 357 Hot Sauce. You won’t find it on the Mad Dog 357 Silver Collector’s Edition though. You also won’t find it on every bottle of common Louisiana-styled hot sauce.
Mostly, that’s because colder temperatures can actually weaken the viscosity of certain hot sauces. That affects the pour rather than the flavor in most cases, but not with all sauces. A determining factor with a lot of hot sauces is the proportionate amount of vinegar in the bottle. But, once again, it’s not a hard and fast rule.
At Ashley Foods, we spend months (and sometimes years) developing our recipes. It’s not a simple matter of chucking some chilies in a food processor and blitzing them into a paste. If during development, we find that a hot sauce does better with refrigeration, then we recommend that on the bottle. For example, you’ll find this directive on our bottles of:
If you don’t see the suggestion on a bottle, there’s no need. Seriously. You can keep those bottles wherever you like. All we truly recommend is that you keep them out of reach of children. They won’t be able to cope with the burn, no matter how chilled it is.