Does Balsamic Vinegar Go Bad? And What You Can Do About It.
Does balsamic vinegar go bad? The short answer to that question is NO. Balsamic vinegar never expires, and under proper storage conditions, it is most likely that it can last for a very long time and safe to consume. However, just like any other condiment if not kept properly it will deteriorate in quality.
Origins of Balsamic Vinegar
Balsamic vinegar is a unique type of vinegar in comparisons with other vinegar. Balsamic vinegar originates from Italy, and it is only made in the region of Modena and Reggio Emilia.
The only ingredients used to make balsamic vinegar is white Trebbiano grapes. Balsamic vinegar is made using the process of gradual reduction press of the grape juice, then heated and distilled before it is finally transferred into barrels where it is left to age and ferment for a minimum of 12 years or up to as long as 25 years or even more.
The extended aging combined with careful and detail process of balsamic vinegar will produce a dark brown, syrupy texture and due to this, the end product can be very expensive. Real or traditional balsamic vinegar has a less acidic flavor with a very distinct taste and sweetness which is an indication of long aging.
However, if you come across a cheap bottle of balsamic vinegar in the grocery store, it is most definitely an imitation which is made using artificial reduction process and fermentation of grape juice. While both original and replica might have the same dark brown color, the viscosity, taste, and texture of both are different.
Shelf Life of Balsamic Vinegar
Vinegar generally has a long shelf life if stored properly, but unlike other types of vinegar such as apple cider vinegar, balsamic vinegar has an extraordinarily long shelf life. Also, a high-quality balsamic vinegar can last for a very long time and safe for consumption.
Balsamic vinegar will not deteriorate or get spoiled over time, but like wine, it gets better as it ages. The longer balsamic vinegar is aged, the more superior and smoother it gets.
Traditionally prepared balsamic vinegar typically has a long shelf life and only used sparingly. In some cases, they are even left as inheritance and passed down generations and could probably be centuries old and treated as prized possession or heirloom.
There are also commercially prepared balsamic vinegar in the market with a shorter shelf life and their ideal consumption period normally ranges from 3 to 5 years. After the period, they can still be consumed but the quality will be reduced, and you may not like or be happy with the taste.
As we have mentioned above, balsamic vinegar does not have an expiration date and can be stored forever due to its acidic attributes and self-sustaining. It is also a good idea to taste the balsamic vinegar first before using it to determine the quality before you go ahead and use them.
Storing Balsamic Vinegar
Again just like any other condiment, when it comes to storing balsamic vinegar it is pretty much similar. Every time after you unseal and open a new bottle of balsamic vinegar, always remember to seal the cap back after using to ensure that its quality is well preserved.
The following reasons are important why the bottle cap should be tightly sealed:
- To prevent foreign contaminants from getting into the vinegar.
- To ensure that the vinegar is not exposed to air.
- Avoid unhealthy or bacteria from growing in the vinegar.
Balsamic vinegar should be stored at room temperature, in dark and cool places away from sunlight. Keeping it in a regular food cabinet in your pantry would be perfect, and you do not need to store it in the fridge. However, if you want to use the balsamic vinegar as salad dressing and you need it chilled, you may keep it in the refrigerator.
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Does Balsamic Vinegar Go Bad?
Sometime, balsamic vinegar may look cloudy too. The possibility of the cloudiness is that due to exposure to contaminants, and as a result of bacterial activity, the balsamic vinegar may look cloudy but that is perfectly normal.
If you see strange, weird substance in the vinegar, it is probably just a substance called “mother of vinegar” that is formed from cellulose and acetic acid bacteria on fermenting alcoholic liquids with the help of oxygen from the air. The substance is harmless, but you may strain it out with a coffee filter if you don’t like to looks of it.
So, by now, you should already know that balsamic vinegar does not expire or go bad. But if you opened the bottle and did not close the lid tightly it may evaporate away, though.
Taste it first
The first thing to do if you want to determine if your balsamic vinegar is bad or not is to look for signs of mold or strange sediments in the bottle. If there is mold or smells moldy, throw it away. Otherwise, you can proceed to check the taste.
Balsamic vinegar has a slightly acidic and mildly sweet taste. If you want to know how fresh balsamic vinegar tastes like, you can always test it first when you first buy and open. If the taste is harsh and sour, it is a sign that your balsamic vinegar is spoiled and it is probably wise to discard it.
We hope that this article has answer well on the question of “does balsamic vinegar go bad?”
Balsamic vinegar never expires and it rarely goes bad unless it is not properly stored. We also hope that this article has help you to know a bit more about balsamic vinegar and what you need to do to ensure that you get to enjoy it to the fullest. Just remember always to keep it in the right place make sure the cap is sealed tightly every time after you use it.
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February 25, 2017