Soy sauce is used as a flavor enhancer in Asian cuisine predominantly in China. Soy sauce comes in a variety of flavors and strengths. The shelf life of the sauce relies on the producer. The use by date is printed on the packaging but thanks to the vinegar content of soy sauce it does not rot easily. Air can cause the flavor to change the taste that we are familiar with. Soy sauce has a surprisingly long shelf life and under proper storage can be used for three years. However, since different soy sauces are ready-made the shelf life and price vary.
Purchasing Soy sauce
Inspect the packaging, as any cracks or punctures can let bacteria in. With an ample shelf life, Soy sauce can be bought in large quantities. Some Soy sauces contain MSG more commonly referred to as Chinese salt. The salt can cause blood pressure to fluctuate – especially in heart patients. Excessive use of MSG can cause the body to exhibit numbness, tingly, or a burning sensation generally in the hands and feet followed by arms and legs. Besides MSG-free versions, there are artisan lines available for soy sauce. These artisan versions will almost always be more expensive than the commercial counterpart.
Storing Soy Sauce
Soy sauce does not require a fridge for storage. The vinegar content of the sauce keeps bacteria from consuming it. Soy sauce can be stored on the counter, in the cabinet, or in the pantry. Homemade versions do not need refrigeration either and have a shelf life for up to a year and more and at the minimum six months. There is no need to transfer the contents to another container as Soy sauce is well equipped to handle temperature fluctuation. Keeping it in the fridge prolongs the flavor consistency and in rare cases increase the life of the sauce.
How to handle Soy sauce
Soy sauce is a thin sauce which spreads around easily. There are some Soy sauces that can stain clothes but detergents made for removing organic stains can be used to restore the clothes. Transferring from the bottle to the dish is quite simple as most Soy sauces have a pouring cap. Washing the residue off utensils is very easy and does not need large amounts of dishwasher soap. Another simple way is to wipe down the container dry and swish clean water through once to clean the entire surface. Soy sauce does not emit an odor and when it goes bad there will be white deposits on the top surface.
Cooking with Soy sauce
Soy sauce does not mix well with heat. Pouring the sauce into a hot empty pan will cause it to splutter around and the water will dry out almost instantaneously. Soy sauce is added to soups to enhance the flavor and can be used to marinate meat such as beef or chicken. The use is most dominant in Asian cuisine creating multiple flavors and taste profiles. Even so, the essence of Soy sauce is captured by the variants as the base flavor profile is the same in most if not all cases.