Does Mustard Go Bad?: The Unspoilable Condiment

does mustard go bad

Back in the stone age, people usually stuck to eating fresh food. If they did manage to cook their food, it would only be consumed as it is. The cuisine of the present day is leagues ahead of the food our ancestors ate thanks to the addition of condiments and spices to cooking.


Mustard and ketchup are some of the condiments that can be added to dishes after served. The question is, how long should you wait until you throw them out. In fact, many home cooks want to know: does mustard go bad?

How do you make mustard?

The familiar yellow color is always seen with ketchup especially when savory dishes are around. The mustard is a big staple in some restaurants and also some households. In fact, in North America, most of the consumers get their mustard from the brand French’s. But just like many other sauces and flavorings, each mustard brand variant will be different.

does mustard go bad

Mustard Seeds

Mustard is made from of mustard seeds, spices and flavorings, and vinegar. The taste is described as tart and sour at times and usually, comes in color yellow to yellow-green. It is the condiment of choice for those who are watching their weights as it is extremely low in both sugar and fat.

What is the shelf life of mustard?

Most people find themselves ditching the condiment completely once it has reached its “best-by” date. While it is highly advisable to consume the condiment right away, the truth is that it is okay to eat and keep mustard past its “expiration” date.

The taste won’t be as great as a fresh batch of mustard, but the important thing is that it won’t go bad right away. However, the longer the mustard is kept past its best-consumed date, the less tasty it will be.

Shelf Life Based On Packaging

The general “expiration date,” meaning the period past its best-consumed date, depends on where it is kept. Mustard that is kept in a squeeze bottle should be okay for a year. If it is kept in a glass jar, its life span gets increased, as you can keep it for 1.5 years. The packet variant, on the other hand, has the shortest life span of 6 months.

Shelf Life Based On Variant

In general, opened mustard will have a year before going completely bad. This is assuming that the packaging is clean and well kept even when used. Surprisingly, it is only the honey mustard variant that can last for up to two years past it’s “Best-by” date. All other variants don’t last past one year.

Mustard that is left unopened in the pantry, not in extreme heat or cold, lasts a much longer time. Dry mustard, Chinese mustard, and American mustard last from 1 -2 years past it’s “best consumed” date. The honey mustard and dijon mustard variants are very hardy variants as they can last from 2-3 years in the pantry. This is because they have a higher proportion of vinegar that helps keep it from spoiling.

Tips and tricks of mustard preservation

It’s good to know that mustard doesn’t have to be tossed right away. Even so, there are some methods that will keep the mustard from going bad. Having proper food-handling techniques, for one, will keep the mustard as fresh as possible.

While mustard already has the capability of staying edible for a long period, once it gets contaminated, it will spoil just like everything else. Make sure that no bread crumbs make it into the condiment jar when it is used. Wiping the neck of the jack before putting it away will prevent clumping and drying and prevent any contamination in the jar.

If crumbs are enough to contaminate a jar of mustard, then saliva will do the same. Some people have a tendency to “double dip” when it comes condiments, and this will lead to spoiling. The best way to deal with this is to get a serving of mustard separately or use a serving spoon.

does mustard go bad

Dijon Mustard In A Glass Jar

One important thing to note is that refrigeration will lengthen the life of opened mustard in the long run. While leaving an opened jar at room temperature won’t spoil it at all. Unfortunately, the length of time it will remain consumable will be much shorter.

Lastly, it is important to note ways on making sure the mustard stays “fresh.” Sometimes it will dry up because of exposure from the air. This leads to the vinegar in the mustard to dry up. The best way to combat this is to stir or shake a little vinegar into the mustard. The stirring will also help mustard that has started to separate.

Final Thought

I hope that this article will have answered your queries on “Does mustard go bad?” Now you know ways on making sure the mustard lasts a long period. Did you know that it also works the same way for ketchup as well? By the way, if you know any other ways of further preserving condiments, I would love to hear it in the comments section below.

Charlotte Lane

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