How long is tomato sauce good for in the fridge?

In this brief guide, we will answer the query, “How long is tomato sauce good for in the fridge?” and will discuss how to properly store tomato sauce?

How long is tomato sauce good for in the fridge?

Tomato sauce is good for about 5-7 days in the fridge when it is in a can or glass jar (store-bought), according to the USDA. Homemade tomato sauce is a food leftover and lasts for about 3-4 days in the fridge.

What Is the Shelf Life of Tomato Sauce If It Isn’t Opened?

The industrial production of tomato sauce ensures the safety storage of this product, which is naturally acidic (pH > 4.5), being able to inhibit the growth of spored microorganisms, such as Cl. Botulinum. Initially, a thermal process is used to inactivate the enzymes, which prevents the loss of quality through enzymatic action during storage. Then, sterilization is applied, in order to decrease the microbial contamination. However, when the tomato sauce has higher pH (in the case of meat containing tomato sauce), preservatives are required, as well as to ensure the inhibition of Escherichia coli O157:H7 and Listeria monocytogenes, which may grow in acidic environments (1,2). When professionally produced, tomato sauce includes a preservative, which allows it to keep longer than many other foods. The most popular preservatives used in this product are potassium sorbate and sodium benzoate (2).

How Long does tomato sauce last out of the Fridge?

Tomato Sauce will not last as long if left out of the fridge. After a few weeks, you’ll notice that it’s starting to change color, which is most likely due to heat and temperature variations. If you store the Tomato Sauce in a non-refrigerated environment, don’t expect it to survive more than a few days after opening.

Tomato products stored at ambient temperature may have increased rate of enzymatic reactions and increased microbial growth. The degradation of lycopene, a pigment responsible for the red color of tomatoes is accelerated in higher temperatures and exposure to oxygen. Oxidation of ascorbic acid, enzymatic and Maillard reactions have also been reported to influence color loss in tomato products stored at ambient temperatures (3).

How Long does tomato sauce last in the Refrigerator?

If you live in a hot area, keep all of your sauces in the fridge, where they will keep for up to a week once opened. Even throughout the winter, if you keep them refrigerated or in a root cellar, you will get a lot more use out of them. If not opened, tomato sauce may last up to three years.

What Is the Shelf Life of Tomato Sauce in a Jar?

The most exploited packaging materials include glass, multilayer plastic containers and tin cans. In the food industry, generally, the aseptic carton multilayer packaging is made by layers of paper, low-density polyethylene and aluminum, while tin cans have a thin coating film made of organosols or epoxy resins (4). 

Tomato sauce should be stored in glass rather than plastic. When kept in a glass container, such as a mason jar, it will last the longest possible period in your fridge or unopened in a dark cupboard.

If you store in plastic, be cautious since plastic may disintegrate and cause your goods to spoil. I’d assume that the shelf life of plastic is around 25% less than that of glass.

A study showed that tomato products stored in glass preserve better their content in vitamins and other important nutrients. In addition, storage in glass could force manufacturers to provide a product of better quality since the product is visible to the final consumer (4).

What Is the Shelf Life of Tomato Sauce in a Can?

Canned Tomato Sauce also includes preservatives, and it may be stored in your pantry for a long period, frequently three years, although it is best used within two years. There will be a use-by date to provide as a guide, but I find that it lasts a little longer than that.

However, loss in color and vitamins occur during storage. In a study, tomato sauce stored for a year in cans show in general a larger content of tin and iron, probably migrating from the packaging (4). 

When Tomato Sauce Is Opened, How Long Does It Last?

It’s time to put your tomato sauce in the fridge after it’s been opened. You’ll note that it begins to change color over time, most likely because of temperature changes, so toss it away after a month if it hasn’t been completed. You’ll want to check for symptoms of it going bad after roughly a week.

If you make your own sauce, it will be devoid of preservatives and should be used within a few days. Check for symptoms of rotting after another week before eating.

Tomato Sauce in the Freezer: How Long Does It Last?

If you make your own tomato sauce, use it within the first six months after freezing it. If you purchased it, put it in a freezer-safe container and freeze it for one year to 18 months.  Tomato sauce, whether store-bought or homemade, may typically be stored forever if refrigerated at 0 degrees Fahrenheit. However, once it has thawed, it cannot be refrozen and must be consumed within 4-5 days or thrown away.

Changes such as vitamin and color degradations occur with a very decreased rate in freezing temperatures. Because freezing keeps food safe indefinitely, the following recommended freezer storage times are for quality (flavor, color, texture, etc.) only (5).

Does Tomato Sauce Have an Expiration Date?

Everything has a shelf life, but Tomato Sauce outlasts a lot of other sauces. Because of the low pH, spoilage is delayed. The presence of herbs and spices may also help to increase the resistance against microorganisms (2). Commercial sauces, when prepared as a full meal, are often advised to be discarded within seven days since they are supposed to be consumed right away due to the lack of preservatives. They are, however, extremely different from conventional Tomato Sauce, which is intended to be retained, and it is critical to recognize the difference.

Is Tomato Sauce Safe to Eat Past the Expiration Date?

If you keep tomato sauce in the fridge after it has passed its expiry date, it should last for another three months or so, as long as it is not handmade. If the color hasn’t changed, it may be kept in the fridge for a little longer.

Even though the natural acidity in tomato sauce can inhibit the growth of Clostridium Botulinum, in acid or acidified canned foods the threat to public health is caused by Escherichia coli O157:H7 and Listeria monocytogenes (2). Therefore, it is important to verify any changes in the color, smell or viscosity of the sauce, which may indicate spoilage.  

How Can You Tell If Tomato Sauce Is Bad?

Here are some warning indicators to keep an eye out for:

·         Hue- The color of the change is usually darker.

·         Smell- It may have a mild acidic odor.

·         Watery- It’s possible that it separated in the bottle and now seems to be watery.

·         Taste- It may have an unpleasant aftertaste.

If any of the above happens, toss it out.

What Happens If You Consume Poor Tomato Sauce?

If it has grown unstable, it may make you ill. It’s possible that it won’t taste good at all. As mentioned above, pathogenic bacteria can grow in tomato sauce. Botulism may develop in items when the preservation method has failed, and it is lethal. So, if you have any reservations, don’t take the chance. Such items would very definitely be recalled.

How to Store Tomato Sauce Products Correctly?

Because there are so many distinct varieties of Tomato Sauce products, manufacturers include a use-by date for a reason. Follow it. As previously stated, Tomato Sauce-based ready meals must be eaten faster than sauces, and many must be finished within 3-5 days after opening. Any unopened fresh-ready meals and sauces may be safely kept in a cold, dark closet or pantry. 

Temperature is very critical for management of sensory qualities in stored tomato sauce. It determines the rate of chemical reactions that leads to losses of vitamins and color and may favor microbial growth. Because of this, prefer cold storage or freezing conditions to extend the shelf life of the tomato products (3).

If you’re freezing Tomato Sauces, write down your use-by date on the container so you don’t forget when they’re due to be consumed. I prefer to utilize labels with a lot of information on them, such as the shelf life. Surprisingly, decent labels are hard to come by, but here are a few that I discovered and strongly suggest.

If you’re preserving food at home, such as chutneys and tomato sauce, make sure your product doesn’t grow mold behind the cover, which is equally risky. Refrigerate these items until ready to use. Tomato sauces contain a high acidity level, which inhibits the development of microorganisms and makes the sauce more stable for preservation.

 If you haven’t used all of a large jar of Tomato Pasta Sauce, search for additional ways to utilize it. For example, you could convert it into a soup for the following day’s lunch, or serve it over pasta and freeze it in meal-sized portions for the kids’ supper a week ahead, just remember to date it. Otherwise, if you aren’t intending to utilize it, dispose of it immediately. 

Other FAQs about Tomatoes that you may be interested in.

How to store homemade tomato sauce?

Are tomatoes acidic? 

Are canned tomatoes already cooked?

How to keep a tomato fresh after cutting?

Conclusion

In this brief guide, we answered the query, “How long is tomato sauce good for in the fridge?” and discussed how to properly store tomato sauce?

References

  1. Krebbers, Bregje, et al. Combined high-pressure and thermal treatments for processing of tomato puree: evaluation of microbial inactivation and quality parameters. Innov Food Sci Emerg Technol, 2003, 4, 377-385.
  2. Raits, Evalds, et al. Effect of hot-fill processing at reduced temperatures on tomato sauce microbiological stability in plastic packaging. Engin Rural Develop. Proceed Int Scient Conf (Latvia). Latvia University of Life Sciences and Technologies, 2021.
  3. Nkhata, Smith Gilliard, and Emmanuel Owino Ayua. Quality attributes of homemade tomato sauce stored at different temperatures. Afr J Food Sci, 2018, 12, 97-103.  
  4. Marengo, Emilio, et al. Characterization study of tomato sauces stored in different packaging materials. Curr Anal Chem, 2017, 13, 187-201.
  5. Food Storage. Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources. University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

Hi, I am Charlotte, I love cooking and in my previous life, I was a chef. I bring some of my experience to the recipes on this hub and answer your food questions.