Soy Sauce..No refrigeration

Ketchup, mustard and many other items, once opened is supposed to be refrigerated. And yet Soy sauce can remain at room temperature indefinitely without spoiling. I heard once that an antibiotic nitrofuradantoin was discovered as a result of research attempting to learn why soy sauce required no refrigeration; but that was just hearsay.

Would appreciate some of you shedding some light on the subject.

My soy sauce bottle says to refrigerate it.


Well, we had a gallon sized can of Soy sauce in our cupboards for about 3 months with no ill effects (yep, we are asian :)).

It only took you three months to go through a GALLON of soy sauce? Yep, I guess you must be Asian.

I’m looking at a 5oz bottle of La Choy Soy Sauce here and nowhere on the bottle does it advise refrigeration.

Isn’t soy sauce the asian equivalent to table salt? I live in the tropics where everything spoils and have never refrigerated the stuff.

Maybe there’s a really simply answer to this question. Say, because soy sauce is basically salt water? You know when people didn’t have refrigerators in the old days, they used to salt their meat in order to preserve it. Now I can’t say for sure if this is the only reason soy sauce doesn’t spoil, but I does sound reasonable enough for me…

I’m amazed at the number of things that actually don’t require refridgeration. Oh, sure, the label says they should be refridgerated, but many times the manufacturers are just being overly-cautious in trying to cover their own asses. I came to realize this when I was first working in Nepal where refridgeration was not an option (no fridge, no electricity). I fully expected my eggs to be rancid in a day or two, my vegetables to go limp and my fruit to rot. Turns out it didn’t happen. True, things did not last as long as they would have in my fridge at home, but they didn’t start immediately deteriorating either. Can’t refriderate your cheese? Cover it in parafin wax. Works like a charm. Milk left out overnight will begin to go bad, but how else were you going to get yoghurt? Fresh vegetables will hold out for a good week, and fruits for several days. Fruit juice is fine for almost a week, provided it was fresh squeezed. Ketchup is virtually indestructable, as is mustard. Mayo won’t last, though. Pickles, or anything pickled (beets come to mind) don’t have to be refridgerated.
I think manufacturers in America may recommend refridgeration because everything comes in such ridiculously large packages that it would go bad before it could be consumed, were it not for refridgeration. [rant about pet peeve]Being single and living alone, I can never find anything in a small enough package. What the hell am I going to do with 10oz of pickle relish? 28oz of ketchup? 16oz of refried beans?[end of rant]
As for soy, I’ve never refridgerated mine.

“I should not take bribes and Minister Bal Bahadur KC should not do so either. But if clerks take a bribe of Rs 50-60 after a hard day’s work, it is not an issue.” ----Krishna Prasad Bhattarai, Current Prime Minister of Nepal

Sorry, my rant took over my brain. I guess I shouldn’t bitch about ketchup and mustard coming in large packages when we were discussing the need for refridgeration, as that really doesn’t come into play with those products. It’s just a nuiscence to me to have enormous bottles that will take me a decade to empty. I’ll try to get a grip.

<watching Lucky get a good grip on the mustard bottle and squeeze yellow streams all over the kitchen…> :wink:

Heck, Lucky, you nailed it. Soy sauce, Worcesterhire, Tabasco and even A-1 all have something in common, don’t they?
They all came out ages before refrigeration was available.

Well, I don’t know why the stuff doesn’t go bad, but I marvel that anything made up of the mass of unlikely ingredients like Soy Sauce, is not only safe to consume but actually tastes good.

I’m STILL trying to figure out which brave Brit combined all of the things in Worchester (PARDON SP) Sauce (which includes fermented FISH), tried it and discovered that instead of falling over dead from poisoning, he or she had developed a marvelous sauce for food.

I refrigerate my soy sauce, but I was always under the general impression that I didn’t have to.

My beloved Newman’s Original Olive Oil and Vinegar dressing says on the label that it also does not require refrigeration, and for some reason I just have a hard time believing that.

“In much wisdom is much grief; and he that increaseth knowledge increaseth sorrow.” - Ecclesiastes 1:18

Well, if we ate rice everyday (well I kind if lied, i’m half Asian. Mom is Caucasian) we would probably go through that gallon jug in a month to a month and a half.

Anyway, Soy sauce is so salty that I don’t think anything except salt loving bacteria could survive in it. Another thing that i’ve never seen refrigerated is fish sauce (Patis, in Filipino). My friend keeps a bottle up in his cupboard, and he doesn’t keep it refrigerated. Though, I must admit, how much worse could it get, since it’s already fermented.

It’s worth the risk of burning, to have a second chance…

Do any of you leave an opened jar of pickles or a jar of salty olives out? could it be that even though they are quite salty that the sugar present in the brine starts to ferment? I believe bacteria will still grow in the liquid even if it is extremely salty

Ack! I checked my bottle of soy sauce (La Choy I think), and it no longer says to refrigerate it! I know it did in the past, because my wife and I were so surprised to see it there- we had been using soy sauce for years and keeping it out. I guess they changed their minds …

You should always refrigerate vegetable oils, to help keep them from going rancid. They get very unhealthy for you long before they smell bad.


Actually, if memory serves, the recipe “from a gentleman in the county” came from India.
The chemist (Lea & Perrins) were given the recipe on condition they’d make it for the local poobah that brought it back.

You wanna talk salty? Forget Worcesterhire. Let’s talk about “Marmite”. Holy Moley,is it simply THICKENED Soy sauce and added MSG??? Oye, gevalt,such a brutal assault upon the tongue.


If you want to kiss the sky, you’d better learn how to kneel.

I’ve never refrigerated soy sauce. For most of my life it never occured to me. Then I saw the label and thought, “Well, I’m okay so far…” and came to believe it didn’t need to be chilled.

Why does Vegemite have an expiration date on it? It never goes bad. It just stays tasty!

I never use the bottled fish sauce. Tried it once at a Vietnamese restaurant and nearly gagged. I’ll only use fresh fish sauce that is made on the premises. (Mmmmm… About time for Vietnamese food again…)

I can always remember the episode on the Frugel Gourmet, where they are at an asian restraunt, and up on the roof top is the frementing sauces.