How long will this last in the fridge?
July 19, 2016 1:50 PM   Subscribe

Food safety experts: how long will this glaze/dip/condiment last in the fridge?

Yesterday I made this copycat recipe & I'm wondering how long it will be safe in the fridge.

It's got a ton of sugar and acid and it boils forever. Can I just use it until it visibly molds, even if that's weeks or months?

Or are the garlic, onion, and pineapple solids a potential risk even in the absence of mold?
posted by peep to Food & Drink (8 answers total)
I'm in no way a food safety expert but I make vinegar-based barbecue sauces from time to time in a crock pot. As long as you keep your refrigerator below 40 ℉ and follow other safety practices for refrigeration, a sauce which was boiled and put into a sealed container while it was still above pasteurization temperatures is something I'd expect to use for several weeks at a minimum.

(Conversely though, in other threads people have said and provided links showing that raw garlic put into a container at room temperature, to make an infused oil or something like that, is extremely dangerous and they discreetly throw out any gifts along those lines they receive.)
posted by XMLicious at 2:43 PM on July 19, 2016

I should also point out that in what I'm saying above I'm thinking of normal usage as pouring the sauce from the container onto something. If it's the sort of thing where you're dipping a knife or other utensil into the container and then spreading the sauce on food, and so food particles might get transferred back into the container, that's a different thing entirely and I try to use something like that up in less than a week, just for safety's sake.
posted by XMLicious at 2:53 PM on July 19, 2016

Not an expert but just a suggestion have you thought to freeze it in per use serves & defrost as needed. Or the old freeze it in an ice cube tray. BBQ sauces & the like freeze just fine so I can see no reason this won't. The onion & pineapple may get softer is all depending on the size of the pieces but in a glaze that's a plus.
posted by wwax at 3:32 PM on July 19, 2016 [2 favorites]

Best answer: Or are the garlic, onion, and pineapple solids a potential risk even in the absence of mold?

Maybe. Maybe not. It depends on the pH of the sauce when it is made, and over those weeks or months (since it will change as it interacts with air). The recipe contains acidic ingredients but no one will be able to predict whether the pH will be low enough months from now for it to be completely safe from possible botulism growth. Mind you, it's a rare homemade food (ie without preservatives) that will keep for months--even in the fridge.

I, personally, would have no qualms about keeping it around for a few weeks (assuming no mold or off smells) but if I wanted it longer than that I'd freeze it flat in a ziploc bag (so that it would be quick to thaw).
posted by quaking fajita at 4:13 PM on July 19, 2016 [1 favorite]

Not that just any foodmaking process involving it will automatically be safe, but sugar itself can be a preservative. That's why it's added to canned sweetened condensed milk for example, to preserve (sealed) milk at room temperature. Here's a 1949 book describing the characteristics and use of sugar for preserving milk. (So, even though it's homemade, something like this shouldn't necessarily be regarded as not containing preservatives.)

I've had good luck finding more recent textbooks too, on food preparation and safety topics, by searching within PDFs via Google.
posted by XMLicious at 5:11 PM on July 19, 2016

I would, though I am pretty blase about these things (happy to scrape mould off jam and eat what's underneath). Pineapple juice is incredibly acidic, so there's no chance of botulism. It sounds similar to a chutney, which last forever. Use a clean spoon everytime you use it to reduce the risk of mould, and chuck it if it smells weird.
posted by kjs4 at 6:56 PM on July 19, 2016

In a tightly sealed container, it should be just fine for a lot longer than it will take you to consume it all.
posted by Thorzdad at 8:48 PM on July 19, 2016

Response by poster: Thanks everyone. I portioned out about half of it into a ziploc and froze it flat. I'm leaving the rest in a glasslock container in the fridge and I'll treat it like a science experiment. I'm making something next week that I want to eat with the sauce and I'll see how the fridge version is doing then. I'll have the freezer portions as a backup.
posted by peep at 9:42 AM on July 20, 2016

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