How long is too long?

From time to time, we are asked to offer our advice to help with life’s little issues. When they’re mustard related, we feel more than qualified:

Dear Mrs. Mustard:

How long can I keep mustard in the refrigerator? I found a jar in my mother’s icebox from 1973. Is it any good? — Gretchen Masnaslics (Kalamazoo, MI)

Dear Gretchen: Your job, my dear, is to eat mustard, not archive it. We have a museum here in Wisconsin for the latter task. For maximum flavor, we recommend consuming mustard within 6 months of opening the jar (and do refrigerate it). If it is any older than that, smell it first; if it doesn’t knock you over you can taste it. If it still tastes good, go for it. If not, it’s not like a major investment to buy some fresh mustard. As for your Mom’s relic, don’t you think it’s a little odd that a woman would be hoarding a jar of mustard that long?…

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