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  • Chef Eric

Kitchen Talk - What does shelf stable mean? Do I have to refrigerate your products?

Updated: Apr 17

We often get asked how long our products will last.

All our sauces and dressings are pH balanced to be shelf stable. That means that every batch has a pH of 4.6 or lower to ensure it will not go bad at room temperature. We do this by adjusting ingredients to have the right amount of acidity needed, without compromising on the flavor. Our sauces and dressings land around 3.95 to 4.0, well below the threshold. This means that unopened on the shelf, the product should last for up to a year without spoiling.

What about after it is opened?

Once a bottle is opened, we recommend storing it in the refrigerator. Once you open a bottle of sauce or dressing it is still pH balanced for shelf stability, however, you can introduce air-borne bacteria that can lead to food spoilage. Utensils, and hands contacting the mouth or inside of the bottle can also pose a risk to introducing unseen bacteria. Not all food exposed to the air spoils, and often we consume most foods before any bacteria can spoil it.

Why is there separation in the bottle?

At Township we only use clean ingredients. We do not use any nasty thickeners or filler used to keep ingredients from settling or separating. Common commercial fillers include starches as arrowroot, cornstarch, potato starch, sago, wheat flour, almond flour, tapioca, and their starch derivatives. While these ingredients keep the product from settling or separating, they may contain gluten or common allergens that we do our best to avoid in our own foods.

If we don’t want to eat it, it doesn’t go in our products, especially for aesthetics only. Clean, gluten free, and delicious. We stick by that mantra for every product.

A quick shake of the bottle is all you need to remix a sauce or dressing that has settled.

What about the spices and spice blends?

When people smell or taste our spices, they often remark on how fresh they smell. There are two reasons for that. Firstly, they are just plain fresher! Grocery store spices are often a year old by the time they make it to a grocery store shelf. We order ingredients from as close to the source as possible so that it is fresh. Quality ingredients make for quality products. Many of the spices we bring in come whole, and we grind fresh at batch time.

Paprika is our longstanding example of our quality versus average grocery store quality. Our sweet smoked Spanish paprika comes from Spain directly. You can smell the difference as soon as you take the lid off the jar. Many of our customers have commented that before our Paprika, they really didn’t understand what paprika was adding to their dishes, except the color red.

Secondly, all of our spice blends and pantry spices are available in glass jars to hold in that sourced freshness. In plastic packaging, spices can lose their flavor and aroma much faster than when stored in glass. According to Primal Survivor most spices will go bad within a year in their original packaging. While we do offer smaller sample sizes and mailers for shipping, we strongly recommend that you transfer to tightly sealing glass jars as soon as you get home to preserve freshness.

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