What is the shelf life of anchovies and anchovy paste?

Anchovies and anchovy paste are flavorful and versatile ingredients that are commonly used in a variety of dishes. Both anchovies and anchovy paste have a shelf life, and it is important to know how to store them properly to ensure they remain fresh and flavorful for as long as possible.

Anchovies are usually preserved in oil, brine, or marinade and are sold in cans or jars. The paste, on the other hand, is most commonly sold in tubes and is made by grinding anchovies into a paste and mixing them with olive oil and other ingredients.

One of the main questions people have about anchovies and anchovy paste is whether they go bad and how long they can be stored. Here is some information on the shelf life of anchovies and anchovy paste:

Table of Contents

    Do anchovies and anchovy paste go bad? 

    Yes, like all perishable products, anchovies and anchovy paste can go bad if they are not stored properly. They can spoil due to the growth of bacteria, fungi, or other microorganisms. However, both are preserved using salt, oil, or vinegar, which helps to extend their shelf life.

    How long do anchovies last?

    The shelf life of anchovies depends on whether they are canned, jarred, or fresh, and whether they have been opened or remain unopened. Here are some general guidelines for the shelf life of anchovies:

    Canned anchovies

    Unopened cans of anchovies can be stored at room temperature for 18 months or more, as long as the can is not damaged or leaking. It is best to store the can in a cool, dry place at a temperature between 4 and 25 degrees Celsius.

    Once the can of anchovies has been opened, transfer them to an airtight container and store them in the refrigerator. It is important to keep the anchovies submerged in the oil or brine to prevent spoilage. 

    Alternatively, if you prefer to keep the anchovies in the jar, you can cover them with cling film or their own lid. Opened anchovies in oil will typically last for 1 to 2 months if stored properly in the refrigerator.

    If you prefer, you can also freeze anchovies by laying them out individually on a baking parchment-lined tray and flash-freezing them. Once frozen, transfer the anchovies to a freezer bag and store them in the freezer for up to 3 months.

    It is also a good idea to label the container or can with the date of opening to help you keep track of how long the anchovies have been stored.

    Fresh anchovies

    Fresh anchovies should be stored in the refrigerator and consumed as soon as possible after they are purchased. If you are unable to use them within a day or two, you can store them in the freezer for up to 3 months.

    How long does anchovy paste last?

    The shelf life of anchovy paste also depends on whether the tube or jar is opened or unopened. Unopened tubes or jars of anchovy paste can be stored at room temperature for several months, depending on the manufacturer’s guidelines.

    Once opened, tubes or jars of anchovy paste should be tightly sealed and stored in the refrigerator for up to 2-3 weeks, or in the freezer for up to 3 months for best quality.

    It is advisable to store anchovy paste in its original can or tube and keep it at a temperature between 4 and 25 degrees Celsius to ensure it remains fresh and flavorful. 

    Anchovy paste will typically last for several months if stored properly in the pantry or refrigerator. Once the anchovy paste has been opened, it should be stored in the refrigerator and used within 1 to 2 months for best results.

    How to know if anchovies have gone bad:

    There are a few signs that anchovies may have gone bad. If the anchovies have a strong, rancid smell, or if the oil or brine they are preserved in has a strange odor, they may have spoiled. If the anchovies have a slimy or sticky texture, or if they have visible signs of mold or discoloration, they should be discarded.

    Similar to anchovies, anchovy paste can spoil if it is not stored properly. If the anchovy paste has a strong, rancid smell, or if it has a strange texture or appearance, it may have gone bad and should be discarded.

    Can you eat expired anchovies or anchovy paste?

    It is generally not recommended to eat anchovies or anchovy paste that have passed their “best before” date. While the texture, color, or flavor of the anchovies or anchovy paste may change after the “best before” date, they may still be safe to eat if they have been stored properly and the can or jar is not damaged.

    Keep in mind that consuming expired or spoiled anchovies or anchovy paste may cause discomfort or perhaps you will get a bellyache, but you will probably be fine. If you get very unwell go to the hospital.

    However, it is always best to use caution and err on the side of caution when it comes to eating expired products.

    Storage tips for anchovies and anchovy paste

    To ensure that anchovies and anchovy paste remain fresh and flavorful for as long as possible, it is important to store them properly. Here are some tips for storing anchovies and anchovy paste:

    • Keep unopened cans of anchovies in a cool, dry place at a temperature between 4 and 25 degrees Celsius.
    • Once the can of anchovies has been opened, leave them in the oil and seal the can tightly with a lid or cling film. If you prefer, you can also transfer the anchovies to an airtight container and store them in the refrigerator.
    • Make sure that the anchovies are completely submerged in oil or salt to prevent spoilage. If necessary, top up the container with more oil or salt to cover the anchovies completely.
    • If you prefer, you can also freeze anchovies by laying them out individually on a baking parchment-lined tray and flash-freezing them. Once frozen, transfer the anchovies to a freezer bag and store them in the freezer for up to 3 months.
    • To store anchovy paste, keep the tube sealed and store it in a cool, dry place at a temperature between 4 and 25 degrees Celsius. Once the tube of anchovy paste has been opened, refasten the cap and store it back in the pantry or cabinet at room temperature. 
    • It is important to note that anchovy paste will go bad more quickly if it is stored at room temperature, especially if it is exposed to heat or light than if it is stored in the refrigerator or freezer.
    • It is important to discard cans of anchovies that are leaking, rusting, bulging, or badly dented, as they may be unsafe to eat. Also avoid using anchovy paste that has an off smell or appearance, as it may be unsafe to eat.
    • Always follow the storage guidelines provided on the packaging of anchovies and anchovy paste to ensure they remain fresh and flavorful for as long as possible.

    Related posts:

    What is the difference between anchovy paste and anchovy fillets?

    How Many Anchovies are in One Tablespoon of Anchovy Paste?

    Anchovies vs sardines: What is the difference?

    Why are anchovies so salty?

    Are anchovies good on pizza?

    In conclusion, anchovies and anchovy paste are delicious and flavorful ingredients that can add a unique twist to many dishes. It is important to follow the storage guidelines provided on the packaging of anchovies and anchovy paste to ensure they remain fresh and flavorful for as long as possible. If you are unsure whether the anchovies or anchovy paste you have is still safe to eat, it is best to discard it to prevent any risk of illness.

    Leave a Comment