How To Tell If Your Vinegar Is Still Good To Use

Vinegar is a common ingredient in many recipes, so it's likely that you have a variety of vinegars in your cupboard. Some of the most common vinegars used in cooking include white distilled, apple cider, balsamic, red wine, and rice vinegars. However, if the most of your meals just require a dash or two of vinegar, you can find yourself gazing at a bottle that is only half full and that you bought more than you can recall and asking, "Can vinegar go bad?" 

Indeed, vinegar is so indispensable that it ranks as one of the pantry essentials, alongside oil, pepper, and salt. While bottles are sometimes purchased with good intentions to be used for cooking experiments or for cleaning up, their staple status might lead them to be practically attached to the floor or pantry shelf, sitting unused. 

What Is Vinegar? 

To begin answering these important concerns, let's define vinegar. Because it is an acid, vinegar gets its acidic flavour from the fermentation process, in which microbes break down ethanol into alcohol. It may be prepared with any alcoholic beverage, including wine, hard cider, vodka, or white vinegar, which is a grain-based neutral spirit. One notable exception to this rule is balsamic vinegar, which is not produced from fermented alcohol but rather by ageing squeezed grape juice in oak barrels until it thickens and concentrates, rather than fermenting alcohol itself. 

Can it Go bad 

Vinegar, as said before, is a result of fermentation. Its innate antibacterial qualities greatly contribute to its "near indefinite" shelf life. The acidity (pH 2-3) really makes it self-preserving, so you can keep it in your pantry for longer without worrying about spoilage. 

There will be no modification to the white vinegar. Some kinds may undergo changes in colouring, opacity, or deposition. No need to worry; they are only visual alterations that won't affect the vinegar's safety in any way. meaning there's no need to worry for your stomach. 

Potentially the most unattractive consequence of long-term inactivity is the introduction of a slimy material known as a "mother." For those who enjoy sourdough or, more precisely, kombucha, this is a more recognisable phrase. 

Leaving vinegar unattended has no significant drawbacks other than a steady reduction in its acidity, which makes it less effective over time. Therefore, there is a "best by" date on the bottle; nevertheless, it is not a "expiration date," as the product is completely OK even beyond that. Your vinegar will keep forever. You won't become sick by eating "old" vinegar, but like other spoiled foods, its flavour and quality will degrade with time. 

Although vinegar does not have an expiration date, there is a "sweet spot" for how long it may be stored, which differs depending on the variety. About two to three years is the typical shelf life for rice, balsamic, and wine vinegars; five years is the typical shelf life for apple cider vinegar; and, well, distilled white vinegar lasts till the end of the world. 

How to Store Vinegar 

A basement or pantry is an ideal spot for vinegar because of its cold, dark temperature. You don't want the colour to fade any faster than it would naturally over time, so keep any unopened bottles away of direct sunlight. It also prevents the vinegar from getting too hot. You shouldn't bother transferring opened vinegar from its original container because it's best kept in its natural state. Also, replace the lid or cap immediately after use; don't leave it unattended for a long period of time.