When To Toss Your Old Ketchup And Mayo

I recently got a new refrigerator, and everyone knows what that means: the biennial excavating of the ancient condiments. How old is this salsa? How did I end up with three bottles of ketchup? And so on. Today, though, I learned that my standards have been woefully lax when deciding which condiments to keep around and which to toss.

Consumer Reports made a handy pre-summer list of how long you can safely keep certain items after they’re opened.

  • Ketchup, cocktail or chili sauce: 6 months;
  • Chutney: 1 to 2 months;
  • Horseradish: 3 to 4 months;
  • Mustard: 12 months;
  • Pickles and olives: 2 weeks;
  • Mayonnaise and salad dressing: Up to 2 months;
  • Barbecue sauce: 4 months;
  • Worchestershire sauce: 12 months;
  • Jams and jellies: 6 months.

Some of these deadlines seem short to me, or maybe that’s an indication that I need to eat more salads and use my dressing up faster. But then, the source these dates come from, FoodKeeper, is put out by the Food Marketing Institute…a trade group of grocery retailers and wholesalers. They may just have our safety at heart, but keeping your pickles around for three weeks isn’t going to kill you.

How long to keep ketchup and other common condiments [Consumer Reports]
FoodKeeper [FMI]

Want more consumer news? Visit our parent organization, Consumer Reports, for the latest on scams, recalls, and other consumer issues.