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How Long Does Relish Last? Does it Go Bad?

Relish is a great condiment that can add flavor to ordinary dishes.

It’s a mixture of pickled vegetables, like cucumbers, peppers, onions, and sometimes fruits, that have been combined with vinegar, spices, and sugar.

It’s a versatile food that can be used as a condiment to spice up burgers, hot dogs, sandwiches, and more.

But how long can we keep it around? Does relish go bad?

Relish can last up to two years when stored unopened in a cool, dry place. Once opened, it can last up to six months in the refrigerator when stored properly. If the texture or color of the relish changes or it develops an off odor, it’s probably best to discard it.

In this article, we’ll dive into the world of relish, discussing its shelf life, how to store it, and how to tell if it’s gone bad.

We’ll also provide some useful tips for using up any leftover relish, so let’s get started.

What is Relish?

Relish is a condiment that can be made from a variety of ingredients. It often includes pickled cucumbers, which give it that tangy, slightly sweet flavor we all know and love. But it can also contain other vegetables, such as peppers, onions, and carrots, as well as fruits like apples, raisins, or cranberries.

The vegetables or fruits are typically diced or chopped, mixed with a vinegar-based brine that has been flavored with sugar and spices, and then cooked.

Does Relish Go Bad?

The shelf life of relish depends on how it’s stored and whether it’s been opened or not. Unopened jars of relish, if stored in a cool and dry place, can last up to two years past the expiration date on the label. However, after opening, the shelf life shortens significantly.

Most relishes have a shelf life of approximately six months when stored properly in the refrigerator. However, the shelf life can vary depending on the ingredients used in the relish.

How to Store Relish

You can store unopened relish in a cool, dry place, such as a pantry or a cupboard. Once opened, it’s best to store it in the refrigerator, where it can stay fresh for up to six months.

It’s important to keep your relish in an airtight container, such as the jar it came in or a resealable plastic container. This will help maintain its flavor and prevent it from absorbing odors from other food in the refrigerator.

How to Tell if Relish Has Gone Bad

It’s easy to tell if your relish has gone bad. Here are some signs to look for:

  • Texture changes: If you notice that the relish has become slimy, it’s a sign that bacteria have started to grow.
  • Color changes: If any discoloration appears, especially an unnatural one like pink, it’s a sign that something is off with the relish.
  • Off odor: If relish begins to have a sour, musty smell or an unusual odor, it is a sign that it has gone bad.

If you notice any of these signs, it’s best to discard your relish. Eating bad relish can lead to food poisoning and other health problems.

Tips for Using Leftover Relish

If you find yourself with leftover relish, don’t worry, we have some creative ideas to help you use it up:

  • Deviled eggs: Add some relish into the creamy filling of deviled eggs for a tangy twist on this classic dish.
  • Tuna salad: Mix some relish into tuna salad for extra flavor and crunch.
  • Meatloaf: Add relish to your meatloaf mixture for a slightly sweet and tangy flavor.
  • Grilled cheese: Spread some relish on your grilled cheese sandwich for an extra pop of flavor.


Relish is a great condiment to have on hand in the kitchen. It’s a perfect topping for burgers, hot dogs, sandwiches, and baked potatoes. But how long does it last and does it go bad? As mentioned before, relish can last up to two years unopened in a cool, dry place and six months opened in the refrigerator when properly stored.

By following the tips in this article, you’ll know how to tell if your relish has gone bad and how to properly store it, ensuring that you have delicious relish for many meals to come. Don’t be afraid to get creative and use leftover relish in different ways, it’s a versatile ingredient that adds a pop of flavor to any dish.

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Jenny has always been passionate about cooking, and she uses her platform to share her joy of food with others. Her recipes are easy to follow, and she loves giving tips and tricks to help others create their own unique culinary creations.