Does Balsamic Vinegar Go Bad? (What To Know About Vinegar)
For me, balsamic vinegar isn’t an ingredient I use every week. Sometimes, I want to make a balsamic based dressing or marinade, so I’ll reach into the back of my cupboard to find my stash, only to wonder how long it has been since I used it.
Does balsamic vinegar go bad?
This is an answer those who don’t use their stock of balsamic vinegar up very quickly might be wondering, and thankfully, it’s not hard to answer. Let’s dive into what you need to know about this expiration period and how to keep it fresh for as long as possible.
Can Balsamic Vinegar Expire?
If store properly, balsamic vinegar will last for years! But it is possible for it to go bad if you don’t store it properly, so make sure that you read the following information about how to store balsamic vinegar properly.
How Should Balsamic Vinegar Be Stored To Preserve Freshness?
The first thing to make sure is that you put the lid on the bottle very tightly. If you don’t seal this tightly, it is possible for contaminants to get into the bottle, ruining the flavor or allowing bacteria to develop.
Thankfully, it’s unlikely for vinegar to develop much bacteria or microorganisms because it is still acidic. Still - it can happen. Keeping the bottle tightly sealed when not use is the best way to avoid any risk.
Like other vinegar, you should also keep your bottle of balsamic out of heat and light. This means you should not store it in open light and also should not store it directly next to or above your oven, as these areas can get too warm and cause the flavors to break down more rapidly.
Always store your balsamic vinegar in a cool, dry area, away from light, for the longest period of freshness.
What Is The Shelf Life On Vinegar?
If stored properly, vinegar will last for years!
Much like wine, vinegar is made through an aging process that can take anywhere from 15 to 25 years, so it makes sense that it can be stored for practically forever (in kitchen time, anyways!) Some specialty balsamic vinegars are actually aged for more than 50 years. These are very rare and delicious!
Check it out:
High-quality balsamic vinegar (store properly), can last for up to 10 years in the cupboard! Yes; seriously! Most high-quality balsamic vinegars can be stored for 5 to 10 years.
But notice that I’m saying high-quality. The quality has to start very good to be able to last this long because the quality of the balsamic vinegar will get worse over time.
After 2 to 3 years of storage, the vinegar’s flavor will start to break down and not taste as good. Sure, you might come across a 7-year-old bottle that is safe to consume, but it might not taste great! You want to taste the vinegar before using it to make anything in case you are not happy with the flavor any longer.
I recommend not keeping a bottle of balsamic vinegar for more than two years. You should be able to find ways to use it within this time period without wasting any, so it seems very reasonable to me.
How Can I Mark My Bottles?
In the past, I’ve had to toss many bottles of ingredients like vinegar because their bottle expiration date had passed or I wasn’t sure how long they had been hiding in my pantry.
To avoid this problem, I usually write the dates I open the bottle on the outside of the label!
This way, I always know how long the bottle has been open and in use. For something like balsamic vinegar, you will want to write down the month and year, so you have a good timeline of how long you have been using that singular bottle.
Then, when you pick it up, you’ll know whether it is OK to use or not!
How Do I Know If The Balsamic Vinegar Has Gone Bad?
I mentioned that you would want to taste your balsamic vinegar to be sure it hasn’t lost its flavor. But if you don’t know what balsamic vinegar usually tastes like, it might be difficult to use this technique!
Here’s what to do:
- Make sure the lid is on tight when you pull it out of the cupboard. If it’s not and you haven’t used it in more than week, toss it. It’s bad.
- Don’t worry if the vinegar is a bit cloudy - this is normal.
- Look for mold. You should also sniff it to get an idea of the smell. If you don’t see or smell any mold, move on to the next step.
- Taste the vinegar! It should taste mildly acidic with a tiny hint of sweetness. If you can’t taste any sweetness or the flavor taste very harsh, it should be discarded - it’s gone bad.
- If it passes all these steps and has not been open for more than three years, you’re good to go! Get cooking!
The best way to test your balsamic is to taste it, so it’s good to taste your freshly opened bottles of balsamic, so you have an idea of what the ideal balsamic vinegar flavor is. With this knowledge, it will be easier for you to know if your vinegar goes bad or not.
And The Answer Is…
Does balsamic vinegar go bad? When stored properly, you can keep balsamic vinegar for up to 10 years, and it will still be safe to consume!
Still, I recommend not using any balsamic vinegar that has been stored for more than 2 to 3 years because the flavor will be deteriorating if you let it sit for any longer than this.
How do you use your balsamic vinegar? Let me know your favorite ways to use it in the comments!