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Mayonnaise, colloquially referred to as “mayo”, is a thick, creamy sauce or dressing commonly used on sandwiches, hamburgers, composed salads, and French fries. It also forms the base for various other sauces, such as tartar sauce, fry sauce, remoulade, salsa golf, and rouille.
Mayonnaise is an emulsion of oil, egg yolk, and an acid, either vinegar or lemon juice; there are many variants using additional flavorings. The color varies from near-white to pale yellow, and its texture from a light cream to a thick gel.
How Long Should You Keep Condiments?
We’re all guilty of storing condiments in the fridge or pantry only to completely forget about them until months later. Expiration dates are usually solid guidelines for when to throw something out, but even once open, the quality of a product can start to decline. It’s also important to keep in mind that anything homemade will have a shorter shelf life than a product purchased at the store.
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Below we’ve put together a guide based on studies and brand recommendations for knowing when to pull the plug. In the end, use your best judgment: If something doesn’t smell or look right to you, toss it and open a new bottle.
Since most mayonnaise is made with eggs or some type of egg substitute, it’s essential that you refrigerate it after it’s been made or after a jar has been opened. To ensure the best taste, it’s recommended that homemade mayonnaise be kept for only one to two weeks and store-bought only two months after being opened. As Hellmann’s points out, the use-by date on the bottle is always a good reference.
If you like spicy food, then you probably have a collection of hot sauces in your pantry. Open bottles of hot sauce kept in a cool, dry place can usually last a couple of years; however, some brands, like Cholula, recommend consuming them within the first six months of opening. There’s also some debate over whether or not to refrigerate Sriracha, so we asked our fans and 57 percent so far said it should be refrigerated. While the jury’s still out, make sure to give your bottle a good sniff if it’s collecting dust in your kitchen.
How long does mayonnaise last once opened?
- The precise answer depends to a large extent on storage conditions – keep opened mayonnaise refrigerated and tightly covered at all times.
- How long does opened mayonnaise last in the refrigerator? Mayonnaise that has been continuously refrigerated will generally stay at best quality for about 2 to 3 months after the “Best By” date on the package.
- How long can opened mayonnaise be left at room temperature? Bacteria grow rapidly at temperatures between 40°F and 140 °F; opened mayonnaise should be discarded if left out for more than 8 hours at room temperature.
- Is opened mayonnaise safe to use after the “expiration date” on the package? Yes, provided it has been stored properly, the package is undamaged, and there are no signs of spoilage (see below) – commercially packaged mayonnaise will typically carry a ” Best By,” “Best if Used By,” ” Best Before, or “Best When Used By” date but this is not a safety date, it is the manufacturer’s estimate of how long the mayonnaise will remain at peak quality.
- How can you tell if mayonnaise is bad or spoiled? The best way is to smell and look at the mayonnaise: if mayonnaise develops an off odor, flavor or appearance, or if mold appears, it should be discarded.
Does Mayonnaise Go Bad?
So there’s a jar of mayo sitting in your fridge for a few months already. You were about to use it but noticed that it’s past the date on the label. That brings the question: does mayonnaise go bad?
In this article, we go through storage, shelf life, and going bad of mayo. If you’d like to learn a bit more about this condiment, read on.
How To Store Mayonnaise
For an unopened jar of mayo, storage guidelines are pretty much the same as for mustard. That means you should keep it at cold temperature, in a dry place away from sources of heat. A cabinet in the kitchen that’s away from the oven is a popular choice, but the pantry works well too.
Unopened mayo doesn’t require refrigeration (unless the label says otherwise), but of course, keeping it in the fridge won’t hurt either.
Once you open the jar, keep it tightly sealed in the fridge when not in use. Unlike ketchup (here’s how long ketchup lasts) or BBQ sauce, open mayo shouldn’t be stored at room temperature. Same thing with any sandwiches or dishes with mayo.
Last but not least, let’s talk a bit about food hygiene.
You should always scoop mayo with clean utensils used only for that mayo. If you’re using the same ones you use for other foods, you’re risking cross-contamination.
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“Double-dipping” may transfer some harmful bacteria into your mayo, and that might cause it to go bad much sooner than you’d like.
How Long Does Mayonnaise Last
Pretty much all jars of mayo come with a best-by date. That date is an estimate for how long the product will retain its freshness. That means the product will probably last longer.
How long exactly will it last past the best-by date? Unfortunately, it’s impossible to tell. It’s even difficult to give a rough estimate at this point.
That’s because there are hundreds of mayos produced by various companies and each one with its own unique ingredients list.
Some of them, like Hellmann’s Real Mayo, use mostly simple ingredients, like oil, eggs, vinegar, and some condiments. Others add a bunch of preservatives to the mix, which makes the mayo last months or even years in the fridge, but isn’t very beneficial to one’s health.
To simplify, we can assume that the mayo should be okay for up to 2 to 3 months after the best by date.
Mayonnaise contains egg yolks, oil, and vinegar or lemon juice. Apart from the eggs, the rest of its elements can last for over a year without spoiling. To gauge how long your mayonnaise will last, check the label on the jar!
But don’t confuse the mayo’s “best by” date with “date of expiration” – those are two very different things. The “best by” date merely refers to the day until when the product will remain at peak quality. This means that you can still consume it even past that date.
Since mayo has such long-lasting ingredients and preservatives, it will last for 2-3 months past the date, especially when unopened. If by this time, you notice that the oil starts to separate, all you need is to stir it to reconstitute it.
It’s not clear how long exactly it will last past the “best by” date, though. This depends on the quality of the ingredients used in the mayo. For instance, if the mayo contains little preservatives, it won’t keep well as long as one with tons of them.
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Apart from the date, the freshness of mayonnaise also depends on how you store it. For instance, a refrigerated jar of opened mayo will last for 2-3 months after its “best by” date. At room temperature, though, you’ll want to throw out that mayo if it’s been sitting there exposed to bacteria for over 8 hours.
Now, you might wonder: how about homemade mayo? Since you probably used raw eggs (unlike commercialized mayo that uses pasteurized eggs), don’t expect it to last as long. Homemade mayo will keep fresh in the fridge for one week.
What Happens If You Eat Expired Mayonnaise
Let’s assume you accidentally ate spoiled mayonnaise. Now what? How is it going to affect your health?
If you accidentally eat expired mayonnaise, it can cause stomach aches and diarrhea. As mayo is basically raw eggs, it has a risk of salmonella so you need to be very careful
If you get a Salmonellosis infection, it can cause Typhoid fever too. This is not very likely to happen from a few spoons of mayo, but it’s a possibility.
When mayonnaise expires, the acidity level increases drastically. It not only smells bad but tastes very sour too. So it can cause acidity and heartburn.
How Long Does Mayonnaise Last after Opening?
Once you open a jar of mayo, it will last you up to 2 months. Before it’s opened, a jar of mayo can last in the refrigerator for about three months or until it expires.
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