How Long Can You Keep Single-Serve Condiments Before They Expire?

You open up your cupboard, or take a peek in your camping cooking supplies, and you find a bunch of old tomato sauce packets. Are they still good to eat? How long do they last? Let’s find out.

Photo by torbakhopper.

Saving those single serving condiment packets is a pretty common practice. After all, they give you a thousand tomato sauce packets for one order of fries at the drive-thru. Why waste them? They will last forever, right? Unfortunately, while their packaging may make it seem like that’s true, they will expire at some point. The folks at the Outdoor Herbivore Blog did some digging, and asked manufacturers what their recommended “best by” dates were for various types and brands of condiments. Once they compiled all of the data, they figured out how long you should hold on to that packet stash. Here are some examples from their findings:

  • Tomato sauce, Mayonnaise: One year for optimal flavour.
  • Mustard, Taco Sauce, Parmesan Cheese: One to two years for optimal flavour.
  • Tabasco Sauce: Three to four years for optimal flavour.
  • Honey, Salt, Sugar: Indefinite.

To keep on the safe side of things, it’s probably best to throw away any packets that are beyond their “optimal flavour” point (unless it’s a survival situation). Not matter what, though, always inspect the packaging first and check the contents for any odd colouring, texture, or odor before consuming it. If anything seems off, it’s better to be safe than sorry and toss it. Of course, if you really don’t want to be wasteful, you can turn those packets into some tiny ice packs for small wounds and bruises. You can learn more at the link below.

Expiration Date of Condiment Packets [Outdoor Herbivore Blog via Atlas Obscura]