How Long Does Tomato Sauce Last In The Fridge: A Shocking Discovery

by Mario Garcia

Most people’s schedules have become much tighter. And consequently, storing foods in the fridge has become a norm. When it’s time for breakfast, lunch, or dinner, all one needs to do is take the food out of the fridge, microwave, and then plate. All these may only take a few minutes.

Storing foods in the fridge is not an issue, provided the food stays fresh and eatable. Most people forget that food storage isn’t all about throwing every cooked and uncooked food into the fridge. It’s about knowing how long they can stay fresh in the fridge. Some foods can only remain fresh in the fridge for a week or less. Some can last for a year or more.

An example is tomato sauce. You can’t keep a sauce in your fridge forever. So, here goes the big question. Perhaps, you may have been asking the same question too.

How long does tomato sauce last in the fridge? 

Firstly, the aim of storing food in a fridge is to inhibit bacteria growth. Low temperature does that. The biochemical reaction of these harmful microorganisms reduces with reduced temperature. Let’s put it that way.

So, how you package your tomato sauce before storing it in the fridge matters. It would determine how long the sauce would last. In a glass jar or can, the commercially made sauce can last up to 2 years if left unopened.

When you open the sauce in the can or jar, the shelf life reduces. At this point, it would only last for almost a week in the fridge. In the freezer, you can get 18 months.

Homemade tomato sauce stored in a can also last long. If unopened, the sauce may last for a year. However, when opened and stored in the refrigerator, the shelf life reduces to 3 to 4 days. In the freezer, it would last for 4 to 6 months.

You can see that the commercially made tomato sauce lasts longer than the homemade sauce. But there’s a reason for that. The one produced commercially contains preservatives.

So that’s the answer to the question on tomato sauce storage. But we have other information regarding this topic that you need to know. Keep reading!

Keeping Homemade Tomato Sauce In The Fridge: What You Need To Know

No nutritionist or scientist has spoken against storing foods like tomato sauce and others in the fridge. Storage is one of the reasons fridges are made, by the way. The low temperature creates an unfavorable environment that prevents the proliferation of harmful bacteria.

So, the fridge creates a condition that keeps the tomato sauce fresh for days. And when properly stored, it can remain fresh for months and years.

But here’s the one thing most people haven’t realized. This is not completely safe to store food in the refrigerator. It’s best to finish your food once the can or jar is opened, and at this point that’s one can receive all the nutritional benefits of the food.

Scientists have also aired their views about keeping foods in the fridge. According to them, storing food in the fridge for long isn’t a wise decision, nutritionally. Why? It lowers the food’s nutritional content. There’s also a chance of harmful substances forming.

Vitamin C is one of the nutrients that suffer great damage from food storage. Temperature and storage time also determines the extent of this damage.

Dissolved fat also suffers some depletion when foods are stored in the fridge for a long time. Approximately 30 percent evaporates via the thawing and freezing process. You may even lose many completely.

A Handy Tip: Avoid storing commercial sauce produced as a complete meal for more than seven days. It’s even best to finish the sauce once opened. Why? They don’t contain preservatives.

Tips For Storing Tomato Sauce In The Fridge 

If you wish to store your sauce properly, follow these tips.

The use-by-date:

It’s crucial to store your sauce properly and adhere to the use-by-date from the product’s maker. It’s necessary to ensure you don’t improperly store a sauce you shouldn’t ordinarily store for long.

The market is also awash with different kinds of sauces. A sauce comprising a completely made meal can go bad easily if left opened and stored for long. That’s why nutritionists advise users to consume such sauces within the shortest possible time. It shouldn’t exceed a week.

Store in a cool place:

How do you store unopened tomato sauce? Whether it’s a sauce-based ready-made meal or one commercially made, you can store it in your pantry, cupboard, or fridge.

But here’s a crucial warning. Never store an opened sauce in the pantry or cupboard that’s usually warm. Use a super cool storage space. That makes a refrigerator a wise choice.

A Handy Tip:  Only store an unopened sauce in a cool dark pantry or cupboard. That’s the easiest way to preserve them for long outside a fridge.

Create your use-by-date:

Your homemade sauce also deserves a use-by-date. It will help you to keep tabs on how long you need to store and when to use the sauce.

A handy tip is to utilize labels, which allows you to add more details about the sauce. These include the date you made it, shelf life, etc. Just place the label on the container after filling in the necessary details.

Exhaust any opened tomato sauce:

Sometimes, you might not be able to finish a sauce in a larger can or jar. But the best thing to do is not to store it. Make storing the sauce, either in your fridge or anywhere, your last option. Try to completely use the opened sauce for other meals that would benefit the family.

You can turn that remaining sauce into soups. Let your family have the soup for lunch the next day. Furthermore, you can place it over some pasta and freeze it. With this, you would have succeeded in preparing dinner a week ahead for your children.

A Handy Tip: Don’t ever forget to put a date on the container bearing the sauce before storing it in the refrigerator. The date would help you to avoid wasting your sauce. It will enable you to use it when due.

Signs That Your Tomato Sauce In The Fridge Is Bad 

The idea of storing tomato sauce is to keep it fresh until you’re ready to use it. Unfortunately, your sauce can only remain fresh in the fridge for a certain amount of time. Some stored sauce may go bad even before their use-by-date. Keep that in mind.

You can tell if your tomato sauce is going bad by merely looking at it. That’s why it’s advisable to check your sauce before using it. Doing so will ensure you don’t cook with a bad sauce.

Here’s how you can identify a bad sauce and get rid of it as quickly as possible.

Color change:

Cooling helps to slow down the growth of bacteria in a sauce. That’s why when the sauce is getting spoilt; you’ll witness an increase in bacteria population. The proliferation of these organisms causes the tomato sauce to change its color.

A bad tomato sauce’s color changes from maroon to green or fades away when the sauce is cooked. Mildew can also surface in the sauce. In this case, you’ll discover a white, green, or black color in your sauce.

A Handy Tip: Please take action if you notice any change of color in your tomato sauce. Don’t wait until the color takes over the sauce’s entire surface. Cooking such tomato sauce with the hope of reversing the color change is not advisable.

Thick fluid formed on the surface:

If you have a pasta sauce and you suspect that it’s getting spoilt, check the surface right away. You’ll notice a sign on the surface. As temperature reduces, saturated fatty acids would start to build up and loosen the dish’s consistency. By the way, this is among the first sign indicating that your sauce is getting bad.

Change in smell:

The smell can also help you to identify a bad sauce. The smell would turn slightly acidic.

Watery sauce:

Normally, every sauce contains water. But the water in a good sauce would appear consistent. In a bad sauce, the water usually separates from the main paste. And such sauces usually appear a bit watery.

Change in taste:

A tomato sauce can’t test as sweet as honey. However, it shouldn’t taste bitter either. If your sauce has a bitter taste, something is most definitely wrong. That could be a sign that it’s going bad.


So, here’s the question, how long does tomato sauce last in the fridge? By now, anyone who has read this post should confidently answer this question.

We also shared tips on storing tomato sauce safely, including how one can identify a bad one. Signs of a spoilt sauce include a change in color, taste, smell, and watery sauce. When you discover any of these signs, be ready to discard your sauce without thinking twice.

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