Does It Go Bad?

Information about storage and shelf life of various products

Does Mustard Go Bad?

Mustard is one of the commonly used condiments. Some people use it rarely so they wonder whether mustard does go bad. Mustard is very unlikely to go bad, because it doesn’t contain any ingredients that spoil. However, shelf life of open mustard isn’t indefinite – it loses its flavor, freshness, separates or dries out. If you’ll store mustard properly it maintains its quality for longer.

How to store mustard

Mustard has to be stored in a tightly sealed container, in a dark and cool place. Most mustards don’t have to be stored in the refrigerator, they can be stored at room temperature as well (even when it comes to containers that are already opened). When the container with the condiment is unopened storing it in the fridge isn’t critical. However, you should bear in mind that storing mustard in the fridge will help maintain its taste and freshness. Once the container is opened, you should store the mustard in the fridge, it’ll be fresh and tasty for much longer as if it were stored at room temperature.

Shelf life of mustard

Most mustards don’t have an expiration date, just a “best use-by” date. That’s because mustard is very unlikely to go bad. It might eventually spoil, but that can take at least a few years. Because of that it’s more important to discuss how long mustard keeps its flavor (that’s the thing we care about if it comes to mustard).

When it comes to an unopened container of mustard, it’s “best use-by” date differs depending on the kind of container. If it’s in a squeeze bottle it should be fine for about a year from the date of manufacture. If it’s in a glass jar or a packet, it’s 1,5 years and 0,5 year respectively. That figures might not be 100% accurate, however you should remember the general rule: mustard in a glass jar stays tasty for the longest time, and one in a packet loses its flavor quickest. Knowing that, you should remember that after the “best use-by” date (even a few years after) the mustard probably won’t taste as good as a fresh one, but it almost definitely won’t be spoiled.

Does mustard go bad?
(credit:mhaithaca)

Once the container is opened, the process of losing flavor accelerates. That’s the main reason why, after opening it, you should keep the mustard in the fridge. An opened mustard gradually loses its flavor, so it’s the best to use it in a matter of several months. Again, it won’t spoil but the liquid will slowly evaporate from the mustard and finally the condiment will dry out.

You should always take a look on the “best use-by” (or any other related to products shelf life) date written on the container. Some mustards have a very short “best use-by” date and that means that they lose their flavor and taste really fast. You should consider storing them in the fridge even before opening.

Last but not least, you should know that when your mustard dries out or separates you don’t have to discard it. If your mustard dries out you can mix it with a tablespoon or two of vinegar or wine. In many cases this simple procedure will revitalize the condiment. If your mustard separated you can fix it by stirring.

Summary
Mustard is a condiment that’s very unlikely to go bad. Unfortunately it can lose its taste or freshness, dry out or even separate, especially if it’s stored improperly. The fridge is the best place to store mustard, especially if its container is opened. Drying out and separating are in most cases reversible, so you don’t have to discard the mustard if one of those things occur.

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