My husband made home-made tomato sauce two years ago that we still have on the shelf. It's stored in air tight mason jars and smells fine. Can we still eat this?

  • Were the jars vacuum sealed in any way when you put them in the jars? Was the vacuum still there when you opened them?
    – razumny
    Commented Feb 16, 2014 at 18:29
  • Homemade tomato sauce CAN last two years, it doesn't mean or guarantee however that this particular jar is good.
    – MandoMando
    Commented Feb 17, 2014 at 17:37

1 Answer 1


I would be very wary of that sauce, despite its good smell. For full disclosure, I am extremely conservative when it comes to food safety and shelf life, but here is some information that I found compelling:

WRT to average time any commercial tomato sauce can last on the shelf, a quick answer can be inferred by using this site: http://www.eatbydate.com/vegetables/fresh-vegetables/spaghetti-sauce-shelf-life-expiration-date/

It states that commercial sauce has a shelf life of about 1 year past the "eat-by" date. Your sauce, of course, has no such date, but assuming an eat-by date of about 1 year past bottling is probably pushing it. So, even a commercial product is probably on the edge of your 2 year scenario.

From a home-preparation POV, if you used the boiling-water method to preserve the sauce, I would say no, don't eat it. The pH associated with most spaghetti sauces (~5.0) is rarely low enough for the boiling-water method to be workable. Pressure-canning is an option (and if your sauce had meat or any meat products in it pressure canning is the ONLY option). If you pressure-canned, then I still think you're on the edge, but it's less scary to me.

Here's a link to a good article on that subject.


Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.