Does Worcestershire sauce have to be refrigerated after opening?

In this article, we will answer the following question: Does Worcestershire sauce have to be refrigerated after opening? We will talk about the composition and use of this type of sauce, and whether you should keep it in the refrigerator or not.

Does Worcestershire sauce have to be refrigerated after opening?

The amount of aluminum, a metal which can then be found in plants, food and underground water sources, including drinking water and may be toxic when ingested in high levels, was measured in food items in a study. The highest Al levels were found in vegetables, followed by sauces and condiments, candies, and ready meals (1).

It is not mandatory to refrigerate Worcestershire sauce after opening it. The high salt and vinegar content of products such as Worcestershire sauce or soy sauce means that they keep perfectly at room temperature, and therefore the manufacturers do not indicate that it is necessary to store them in the refrigerator.

When unopened, it lasts about 1 year, according to the USDA (2). Refrigeration ensures that commercial sauces and condiments stay fresh for a longer period of time. Shelf-stable commercial Worcestershire sauce is safe when stored at room temperature after opening. Quality, not safety, is the reason the labels on these products suggest that they be refrigerated after opening.

As long as we do not have clear information on the label – which will always be the most reliable -, the general rule is that very acidic sauces, with a large amount of salt or that do not contain water -basically oils- can be kept at room temperature. 

Everything else, we must keep in the refrigerator and we must be especially careful with any sauce that contains eggs (even if it is pasteurized) or milk and derivatives, which we must discard between 2-3 days after opening, as we would with any culinary preparation that contains these ingredients. Nothing to keep mayonnaise in the fridge for centuries and centuries (3).

Now, just because some sauces don’t spoil at room temperature, it doesn’t mean it’s bad to have them in the fridge!

Among the sauces that you must refrigerate after opening are (2):

  • Black bean sauce
  • Hoisin sauce
  • Oyster sauce
  • Plum sauce
  • Sweet and sour sauce.

Does Lea & Perrins Worcestershire sauce need to be refrigerated after opening?

No, Lea and Perrins Worcestershire sauce does not need to be refrigerated after opening. Sauces usually have high sodium content that does not allow the bacteria to grow. Moreover, the presence of natural preservatives keeps the sauce stable at room temperature. Salt is commonly added in processed foods as a preservative, stabilizer, texture enhancer and color enhancer. Many products, such as soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, ketchup, pickles, olives, and garlic, onion, and celery salts, were claimed to be high in sodium (4). Besides salt, its concentration, usually involving a quite high preservation factor based on volatile acidity, frequently assists in overall microbiological stability because of the innate self-preservative attributes of many of the ingredients, such as pepper, chilies, and other spices, contribute for its preservation (5). 

What is Worcestershire sauce?

It is a fermented liquid sauce based on fermented anchovies, tabasco based on hot chilies (5) that is used to enhance the flavor of other sauces, such as pink sauce, or to dress different dishes, raw or cooked, among which beef and Caesar salad stand out. It is also a fundamental ingredient in some cocktails, for example, Bloody Mary.

Many imitations of the original are distributed around the world including different ingredients such as soybeans, but the authentic Lea & Perrins Worcestershire Sauce is the only recipient of the Royal Order of His British Majesty, an award considered a symbol of excellence and quality. 

What is Worcestershire Sauce made of?

The sauce is made from more than 25 ingredients. In addition to vinegar, sugar and water in its composition must be:

  • anchovies;
  • onion and shallot;
  • ginger and celery;
  • horseradish and garlic;
  • asafoetida and tamarind;
  • Lemon and nutmeg juice.

According to the United States Department of Agriculture the Worcestershire sauce may contain ingredients such as, but not limited to, soy sauce and/or a hydrolyzed vegetable protein, citrus fruit juice or fruit solids of lime or grapefruit, chili pepper extract, organic acids (citric), anchovies, garlic, spices, vegetables (shallots or onions), flavors (oil of lemon, lime, or grapefruit; beef extract or protein hydrolysate), and caramel color. Additives may be added, such as malic acid (6).

Even if you use all the ingredients, the original taste is unlikely to repeat itself. After all, this Worcestershire sauce must be aged in special oak barrels. And only three years later it is bottled and delivered to supermarkets and restaurants.

This sauce is popular in many countries of the world. It is very concentrated, which makes it inexpensive to use. Sometimes a few drops are enough to decorate and transform the flavor of the dish.

How can I use Worcestershire Sauce?

A complex bouquet of ingredients allows Worcestershire sauce to blend perfectly with a variety of foods. The seasoning is most often used for ready-made meat dishes: pork and chicken cutlets, beef tenderloin, kebab, pork chop. 

The sauce is poured over pasta, pancakes, meatballs, casseroles, vegetable stews. Ideal sauce for fish dishes. In combination with them, the sweet and sour taste of English seasoning is perfectly revealed.

Caesar salad and Bloody Mary booze aren’t complete without Worcestershire sauce, either. It is the most important ingredient in these dishes, making them especially tasty and flavorful.

Homemade Worcestershire sauce

  1. To make the Worcestershire sauce, crush the garlic in the mortar with a little salt. Grind the onion in the chopper.
  2. Put the garlic and onion in a saucepan over the fire and add the mustard, cinnamon, pink pepper, black pepper, cardamom, cloves, soy sauce, vinegar, and molasses. Grate the ginger and add.
  3. Crush the anchovies with the curry and a pinch of salt in the mortar. Dilute the mixture in water and add it to the saucepan.
  4. Let it reduce for about 20 minutes. Crush the sauce and strain it.
  5. Pour it into a container and let it sit for a minimum of two weeks, shaking it occasionally.

The original sauce, which is marketed under the brand name Lea & Perrins, was launched in England in 1837. The formula for its preparation remains secret, but the sauce is known to age in wooden barrels for 18 months.

Conclusions

In conclusion, we remind you that Worcestershire sauce contains vinegar, salt, and sugar – ingredients that make its shelf life longer. The general rule is that very acidic sauces, with a large amount of salt or that do not contain water -basically oils- can be kept at room temperature. 

Everything else, we must keep in the refrigerator.

If you have any questions or comments for us, please let us know!

References

  1. Daouk, Sarine EL, et al. Aluminum exposure from food in the population of Lebanon. Toxicol Rep, 2020, 7, 1025-1031.
  2. FoodKeeper. United States Department of Agriculture.
  3. Egg products and food safety. United States Department of Agriculture. 2015.
  4. Tan, W. L., A. Azlan, and M. F. M. Noh. Sodium and potassium contents in selected salts and sauces. Int Food Res J, 2016, 23.
  5. Anderson, K. G. Pickles, Sauces, and Dips. Snack Food. Springer, Boston, MA, 1990. 139-158.
  6. Worcestershire Sauce. The U.S. Department of Agriculture. 2010.

Was this helpful?

Thanks for your feedback!