Have you ever been to someone else’s house and wondered why they keep their peanut butter in the fridge, or questioned why their soy sauce had been sitting out on the counter? Well, some of these choices can be preference — after all, some people like cold Hershey's syrup ready for their chocolate milk. But that doesn’t mean every condiment absolutely has to be stuffed in the fridge shelf. 

Here’s a handy guide for how some of the most common condiments should be stored: 

Ketchup

Refrigerate? Yes

Unopened ketchup can stay in the cabinet, but once you pop the top, the clock starts ticking. You can store on the counter for up to a week. But store it in the refrigerator and it will keep for six months. 


Mayonnaise 

Refrigerate? Yes

 You can enjoy mayonnaise for up to three months after it’s opened, as long as it has been refrigerated. 


Mustard

Refrigerate? No

Mustard is shelf-stable when stored at room temperature even after opening. It is good up to one year after opening. Of course, quality may decrease a bit, but safety-wise — you’re in the clear. 


Peanut Butter

Refrigerate? No

Natural peanut butter can last 3 to 4 months without refrigeration. Not a fast PB eater? If you want to make it last longer, store it in the fridge and get a full 12 months before it goes bad. Or you can opt for commercially produced peanut butters which will give you up to 9 shelf stable months, and 12 if stored in the fridge. 


Jam/Jelly/Preserves

Refrigerate? Yes

These guys will give you a full 12 months of delicious fruity flavor if stored in the refrigerator. 


Pure maple syrup

Refrigerate? Yes

While some “maple syrup flavored” grocery store products might be fine at room temperature, pure maple syrup should be refrigerated after opening. It will keep for one year unopened in the pantry, then another year after opening if kept in the refrigerator. The freezer is actually the best way to store syrup — it won’t freeze solid and the flavor will keep for a long time. 


Hot sauce

Refrigerate? No

As long as your hot sauce brand is vinegar based, you can keep it on the counter for up to three years. Plus, who ever heard of cold hot sauce? 


Honey

Refrigerate? No

What they say about honey is true — it is the only food that never spoils. However, it does crystallize and become thick and cloudy. If this happens, keep it in its glass jar (or transfer it to one), and place it in a pan of warm water on low heat until the consistency and clarity returns. 


Soy sauce

Refrigerate? No

Like most condiments, soy sauce will last longer and keep its flavor better if kept in the fridge, but it’s not required for food safety. Once open, soy sauce can last a few months on the counter, especially if kept in stable temperatures. 


Chocolate syrup

Refrigerate? No

Hershey’s recommends refrigerating after opening, but that’s more to help preserve flavor. Chocolate syrup can safely be stored on your countertop for up to 6 months. 

Source: FoodSafety.gov