How To Store Bagoong

This includes Bagoong Balayan!

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If there is one ingredient that is almost always served with your kare-kare dish, it's the bagoong. Bagoong, or more commonly known internationally as fermented shrimp paste, is more than just a sawsawan for your favorite dishes. It can also be an ingredient.

Dishes such as a binagoongan baboy and bagoong rice obviously use bagoong as an ingredient but other dishes use it, too, to make the dish extra delicious. Think other Pinoy ulam recipes such as pakbet, laing, apan-apan, and other regional dishes with shrimp flavors. This is also the condiment used as the pairing to green mango slices that we love to eat for merienda

Having a bottle or two of bagoong is a common Pinoy kitchen ingredient but are you storing it correctly? 

Bagoong is a fermented and salted ingredient. You normally would be storing bagoong on your kitchen shelf since it's naturally stable at our room temperature. 

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Ginisang bagoong is a delicious pairing to tart green mango slices!
Photo by Dairy Darilag
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This is all thanks to the natural preservation qualities of salt. If the bagoong is or was pink, it probably was treated with angkak, a red rice yeast that is commonly used as a food coloring. This however doesn't prevent it completely from developing mold although it will inhibit its growth along with other bacteria. 

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Despite the bagoong being a naturally preserved ingredient, it can be stored in the refrigerator as well, especially if you do not consume the bagoong on a more regular basis. 

Other kinds of bagoong, including bagoong Balayan which is a liquidy fish-based bagoong, should also be stored on the shelf until opened, which can then be kept on the shelf or chilled for longer storage than usual. Just remember though that when jars and bottles of bagoong are opened, it is still advisable to stick to certain hygienic practices so that your bagoong doesn't spoil faster than it should.

Here are the habits you need to develop so your food won't go bad quicker: 

  • • Always use a clean spoon or fork to prevent cross-contamination while eating. 
  • • Only spoon out what you can eat. You can always get more. 
  • Do not return any uneaten portions back into the jar or container. This too prevents cross-contamination. 
  • Tightly close the jar or bottle tightly after every use. 
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Keep all these tips in mind so that no matter what condiment you have on the table, it will safe to eat with your kare-kare dish and for the next time bagoong pairing you make. 

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