Tomato Sauce: Do you know how long it lasts in the fridge? See what the experts say!

Tomato Sauce: Do you know how long it lasts in the fridge? See what the experts say!
Tomato Sauce: Do you know how long it lasts in the fridge? See what the experts say! Photo: Pexels

Tomato sauce is an ingredient we always have at home. Whether you wish to prepare a quick pasta dinner in the evening or enhance the flavor of a meat stew, tomato-based sauces will save the day.

However, it’s essential to know how long pasta sauce lasts in the fridge. According to the Barilla brand, sealed jars of pasta sauce should be stored at room temperature in a cabinet or pantry.

Once opened, however, they should be used promptly to avoid bacteria. “The length of time a jar of pasta sauce will last in the fridge may depend on the ingredients in the sauce, but you should refrigerate any sauce that won’t be cooked immediately to maintain its quality after opening,” says Nicole Birmingham, Senior Vice President of Research and Development at Rao’s Homemade in the United States.

Following, food safety experts assess how long pasta sauce lasts in the fridge and provide storage tips for both the fridge and freezer.

How long does tomato sauce last in the refrigerator?

Most jarred pasta sauces have a shelf life of about one year. However, once opened, they should be used quickly. “After opening a high-acid canned food, such as tomato sauce, it can be safely stored in the fridge for five to seven days,” says Shelley Feist, Executive Director of the Partnership for Food Safety Education in the United States.

Apart from mold, there are no other visible signs that the tomato sauce has expired. “You can’t see, smell, or taste the bacteria that can cause a foodborne illness,” says Feist. She always recommends reheating the sauce to 45 degrees [Celsius] before using it to kill any bacteria that may result from slight deterioration.

One way to preserve the sauce’s quality and freshness is by removing it from its original packaging. “While it’s safe to store food in its can, it will retain flavor better if transferred to a glass or plastic container,” says Feist.

Storing Homemade Tomato Sauce

Since homemade tomato sauce isn’t made with long-lasting preservatives, its shelf life in the fridge is shorter. Typically, homemade tomato sauce lasts three to five days; however, provided it doesn’t contain cream or cheese, you can easily freeze it in airtight containers. “You can freeze any unused sauce in an airtight container, using it within six months for the best quality experience,” says Birmingham.

On the other hand, homemade white sauce should not be frozen and reheats well due to its dairy content. “While not harmful to consume, the cream tends to curdle when you reheat white sauce, ruining the texture,” says Christopher Arturo, chef-instructor at the Culinary Education Institute. Store-bought white sauce contains cornstarch, which helps the cheese bind correctly and prevents separation when reheated.

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