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Thread: Expiration date on vinegar?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2001
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    Expiration date on vinegar?

    I was looking at my bottle of Apple Cider Vinegar and realized that it was best by October 2007. It looks fine, smells fine, tastes fine...but I decided to throw it out since it is so cheap to replace.

    My question is... how can vinegar go bad?
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  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2001
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    I don't know how it can go bad. I have specialty vinegars that I just use , and I don't know that they have a date on them.
    The only time I won't use a vinegar is if "Mother" has shown up. That's that glob sitting in the bottle.

    Vicky

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
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    NashVegas, baby!
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    Vinegar can't really go bad. You can even use it when the mother is there. And if the mother IS there, you can use that to make your own vinegar.

    Food items rarely have expiration dates. They are usually "best by" dates. You don't need to throw out ANYTHING that is past the best by date if it still looks/smells/tastes OK. There's nothing that happens magically on that date which makes the item unusable. If it was bad and you couldn't tell -- i.e., botulism, listeria, etc. -- the date wouldn't have anything to do with it, anyway.

    These dates on things like vinegar serve two purposes as far as I can tell: 1) to prompt the store to put newer items in back and older ones in front on the shelves (helpful if the packaging changes -- you want to get rid of the older product first) and 2) to prompt customers to throw out perfectly good product and buy more.
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  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2000
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    I've never had it go bad and I've had a bottle last years and years. Sometimes a little sediment builds up in the bottom and then I toss that little bit (just because it's not very appealing).

    Google had some interesting things to say...

    I saw a lot of comments about yes, it can go bad but none from anybody who had any go bad, other than it growing a mother, which apparently you can just strain out. And a few comments about evaporation and loss of flavor (I would think if there was evaporation you'd get more a concentrated flavor?) and a few about not canning with really old vinegar unless you checked the pH levels.

    Here's an interesting site on vinegar, and they had this to say:

    How Long Does Vinegar Last?

    The Vinegar Institute conducted studies to find out and confirmed that vinegar’s shelf life is almost indefinite. Because of its acid nature, vinegar is self-preserving and does not need refrigeration. White distilled vinegar will remain virtually unchanged over an extended period of time. And, while some changes can be observed in other types of vinegars, such as color changes or the development of a haze or sediment, this is only an aesthetic change.


    http://www.versatilevinegar.org/faqs.html


    And just for the fun of it, about halfway down this page there's an interesting post from someone who makes her own vinegar.

    http://ourcountryhaven.com/OCH3/inde...topic=5898.new
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  5. #5
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    Balsamic vinegar can be aged for decades and evidently just keeps getting better. I have a jug of white vinegar that looks the same as it did when purchased 12 years ago - it is used for cleaning the soot off the glass on the oil stove so we don't use it for food - but I doubt it would taste any different (except for the carbon smudges around the top).
    Anne

  6. #6
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    vinegar doesn't go bad.
    They age the really good stuff in oak
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