How to store the Fish sauce? (3 tips)

In this brief guide, we will answer the question ‘ How to store fish sauce?’. We will look at the steps required to store fish sauce efficiently. Then we will discuss the fish-sauce-making process and the reason that it doesn’t spoil.

How to store fish sauce?

You can store the fish sauce in an airtight container or its original container. Keep it in a cool and dark place away from the stove or dishwasher. It should not be stored in the fridge as well because the salt will crystallize.

Fish sauce keeps the same way as soy sauce or Teriyaki. Even though it may contain extracts of one of the most perishable foods we know, that is fish. The fermented sauce contains a large amount of salt, which deems it unnecessary by law to have an expiration date.

Opened bottle versus unopened Bottle

If your bottle is still not yet opened, you can keep it at room temperature. It can be the pantry of your kitchen. However, you need to reserve it away from sunlight and heat to retain its quality. 

Once your bottle is open, make sure it is closed tightly and put away in a safe place. Your best option is to store it in the refrigerator for optimum quality. However, it does last at room temperature as well. 

However, whether you like to put the fish sauce in the fridge or leave it in the kitchen; is your choice.

Why doesn’t fish sauce spoil?

Condiments are loaded with either salt or sugar. Hence condiments need not be refrigerated. Its presence in either food or condiments, lower the water activity of the food. They bind the water molecules to themselves and prevent them from being exposed to bacterial contamination. 

 Fish sauce does not usually come with an expiration date, but a best-by date.  That means that fish sauce will be good until it lasts. However, if you notice signs of bacterial spoilage or fungal growth, you must throw the sauce away immediately.

How is fish sauce made?

Fish sauce is made by fermenting fish for periods varying from a few months to years. They are covered with salt and then allowed to age. The food-friendly bacteria start to build up in the fish and cause it to develop the flavor and taste that we call fish sauce. It is salty, fishy, and savory used as condiments and cooking ingredients in Asian foods. 

Usually, the fish sauce-making process is controlled, to prevent it from external contaminants. A process called protein hydrolysis occurs, that breaks down the proteins to release enzymes.

The salt friendy, halophilic bacteria survive. These are naturally present in fish like anchovies. The liquid that originates from the fish meat tastes the cheesy, meaty flavor.

The autolyzation process is allowed to occur for three months to two years at a temperature of 45 C. The enzyme released from the fish muscle degrades and releases a liquid rich in salt and nitrogen compounds.

Other FAQs about Sauces which you may be interested in.

How to make soy sauce less salty?

How to reduce acidity in tomato sauce?

How to Thicken Tomato Sauce

How to retain the optimum quality of the fish sauce?

A properly stored sauce will last for up to three to four years at room temperature. The longer the fish sauce is stored, the more it loses its flavor. The development of odor, flavor, or appearance is an indicator to throw it away.

Fish sauce is a fermented food, which is always reluctant to spoil. Over time, they do spoil and ferment and oxidize further, but they are still safe for consumption. 

It can be left at room temperature, for up to a week. The fish sauce contains salt, which protects it from bacterial contamination for a while. 

Fish Sauce doesn’t spoil quickly, but its quality can deteriorate if; not properly handled. When you put it away, be sure to leave it in its original bottle and fasten the screw cap tightly.

You can store the sauce in the pantry if you intend to consume it within six months.

If you put it in the kitchen, store it away from the dishwater or the stove. 

It is better to refrigerate high-grade fish sauce. Artisanal fish sauces have a high nitrogen content level that determines the sauce’s umami flavor. The nitrogen content makes the sauce, more perishable. If left out of the fridge for a long period, the fish sauce develops gas inside the bottle. 

Sometimes the fish sauce comes with a preservative like sodium benzoate. It helps to keep the sauce stable even at room temperature. Popular brands such as Red Boat and Son don’t have additives in them. So by default, it makes them delicate and calls for refrigeration.

Unexpected changes that might occur to the fish sauce:

 When put in the refrigerator, you may notice crystals at the bottom of the bottle. These are salt crystals, and their presence does not compromise the quality of the sauce. Sometimes you might notice a darker color or an intense flavor, which is a sign of aging. 

In this brief guide, we answered the question ‘ How to store fish sauce?’. We looked at the steps required to store fish sauce efficiently. Then we discussed the fish-sauce-making process and the reason that it doesn’t spoil.


Does Fish Sauce Go Bad? [Shelf Life, Storage, Spoilage]