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A recipe I am planning to make calls for chili paste, which I have never used before. I found some in the grocery store (it is Sambal Oelek ground fresh chili paste), which seems to be more liquidy than, say, tomato paste. I only need 1/2 a teaspoon, however, so I will have plenty left over.

Does chili paste require refrigeration after it is opened? It does not say anything about it that I can see on the jar. Also, how long will it last after being opened (regardless of whether or not it needs to be in the fridge)?

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I'm looking at a jar right now and sodium bisulfite and potassium sorbate are listed in the ingredients –  user11123 Aug 2 '12 at 19:11
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3 Answers 3

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I don't know if it technically requires refrigeration, but I've always kept mine in the refrigerator and had it survive for at least 6 months with no noticeable degradation.

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+1, I'd say that most don't require refrigeration, but unless you're really space constrained, I'd store it in the fridge. The fridge isn't going to hurt the flavor any. I used to keep mine out with the Tabasco, but once after a few months it started growing some mold and had to be thrown out. Now I keep it in the fridge and haven't had similar problems. I think those wide mouthed containers are more prone to infection than the ones with the smaller twist-open-and-squirt caps like sriracha comes in. Better safe than sorry. –  Cold Oatmeal Jan 14 '11 at 1:47
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Sambal Oelek doesn't generally require refrigeration. I've had a jar in my condiments cupboard for quite some time without any issue, and at work they have a jar next to the wok food station to add a bit of heat to the meal.

I don't have a jar to hand right now, but if you look at the ingredients, are there any acids? I recall a slight liquid (it's a wet paste) and a slight vinegar taste, so it's possible it's already got some preservative qualities without refrigeration.

It wouldn't hurt to keep it in the fridge though, it could add to the life expectancy of it, if you have space... in the UK we don't have big fridges, so having jars of long-life products isn't a great use of space.

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Sambal Olek contains sodium bisulfite and potassium sorbate... so it doesn't need to be refrigerated. However, it will last longer in the fridge. Generally speaking, condiments should not be held longer than 90 days. Bon apetit.

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I don't think sodium bisulfite and potassium sorbate are standard ingredients of Sambal Oelek, even though they may be present in many commercial Sambal Oelek products. –  Jacek Konieczny Mar 21 '12 at 9:15
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