I just noticed that sambal oelek has an expiration date. Does that stuff really go bad?



susan G. January 15, 2013
Huy Fong Sambal Oelek is made primarily from chili (spelling from the label), distilled vinegar and salt. I never noticed a 'best before' date until this question was raised. We do not refrigerate it, it has passed its date, and is still happily in use. The most important factor in avoiding mold is to avoid contamination -- use a clean utensil in the jar, never something that has been used elsewhere or been in your mouth.
Greenstuff January 15, 2013
By the way, I looked and looked before I found the date on my current jar. It wasn't on the label but on its own clear plastic, small label near the top of the jar, almost impossible to see.
pierino January 15, 2013
Your nemesis here really is mold---which at the beginning can be invisible. Think of the "use by" dates as suggestions. But the essential ingredients in sambal, vinegar and chile help to retard this.
Greenstuff January 15, 2013
Various brands seem to suggest shelf lives that range from one to two years. Many say that it does not have to be kept in the refrigerator. I refrigerate mine, check for mold, and don't worry about the date. I've never noted a flavor change.
boulangere January 14, 2013
I've been working on a jar for well over a year. It doesn't show an expiration date. I've left it out overnight a few times, accidentally, and it lacks nothing in potency, it's shown no sign of mold, nor has it sent me anywhere other than to bed happy.
bigpan January 14, 2013
When you consider the cost to buy a new jar, versus time spent in the bathroom - I would opt for tossing when in doubt and buying fresh and new.
HalfPint January 14, 2013
yes, it may grow mold,but for the most part, it loses flavor and heat. I've never seen an expiration date on my sambal oelek, but I always do a sniff test and a check of the stuff on top for mold.
aargersi January 14, 2013
I have never even checked for one but usually a large jar will last me several months with no issues ...
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