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Fridge, definitely. If it's too stiff you in there, just let it warm a little before using.
Sam is a trusted home cook.
The fridge. Unless you use it a lot, it does go rancid on the shelf when opened.
Take off the lid and put in the microwave for 20 second to warm and stir back any oil that's separated.
I've used tahini for over 40 years, and never refrigerated it. It seems to be very stable. When this question was asked a while ago, answers varied, so I'm not afraid to disagree with my respected peers! I keep it in a closed pantry, not near any heat sources.
I think the true answer is "maybe", and depends on how often you go through a jar. It takes me more than a year to go through a jar. I'm the same way with peanut butter and almond butter and those are stored for a year or more. Now that I think of it...some good babagaoush or hummus might be on the menu soon.
Tahini does not require refrigeration and it can be stored in a cool, dry place for long periods of time. Because tahini does not contain emulsifiers, the sesame oil may separate from the solid mixture. To remix it, turn the jar or can upside down for 30 minutes before using." -- http://www.bigoven.com/glossary/Tahini -- Looks like a reputable source, but I disagree about the remix advice -- stir the oil in completely when you open the jar, then stir it when you use it again (unless you want to turn it ever 12 hours?).
@susan..I'm with you there. But, I live in a house without central air..and the only really cool dry place is the 'fridge in the southern summer time (g).
Tahini has been used in the middle east probably since B.C times, so my personal opinion would be that it does not require refrigeration and a cool pantry is fine. The separation of the oil in natural tahini is actually a good thing in terms of storage because that layer on top keeps bacteria from getting to it and spoiling, hence the preservation in oil of some foods. Just always make sure you use clean utensil (one that has no saliva residue on the surface) when stirring it in order to avoid introducing outside bacteria into it.
Thanks everyone! I love this site. My kids like hummus and we go through a jar of tahini ~ every 3 months