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Thread: Vinegar Shelf-Life?

  1. #1
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    Question Vinegar Shelf-Life?

    Does anyone know how long you can keep an opened bottle of vinegar? Should it be refrigerated? Is the shelf-life of all vinegars the same?

  2. #2
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    There was a good article about shelf-life in the Washington Post food section last week. Shelf Life

    Here's what it says about vinegar:

    Vinegar is usually listed as having an indefinite shelf life, but some manufacturers (Heinz included) will give it 42 months unopened, because its "mother," or natural carbohydrate produced by harmless vinegar bacteria, may cause a cloudy appearance in herbal or fruit vinegars; that's why distilled vinegar keeps longer than cider vinegar. The cloudiness does not affect the taste, they say.

    Later on, it says that sesame oil is good for one year after opened. Nothing about refrigeration, though.

    I've been wanting to clean out my spice cabinet, but I have to do it when DH isn't home.

  3. #3
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    I've never had vinegar go bad on me -- perhaps if it had the fancy herbs dangling in it. I've had cider, sherry, raspberry, champagne, rice and balsamic vinegars. Really good balsamic vinegar is aged for 20 years. Vinegar is a preservative of other foods -- my pickles seem to keep forever but those I keep refrigerated.

    I keep my vinegars in the pantry.

    I would imagine if vinegars did go bad, they would start sprouting that mother of vinegar stuff which is used as the starter.

  4. #4
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    I've never had vinegar go bad on me -- perhaps if it had the fancy herbs dangling in it. I've had cider, sherry, raspberry, champagne, rice and balsamic vinegars. Really good balsamic vinegar is aged for 20 years. Vinegar is a preservative of other foods -- my pickles seem to keep forever but those I keep refrigerated.

    I keep my vinegars in the pantry.

    I would imagine if vinegars did go bad, they would start sprouting that mother of vinegar stuff which is used as the starter.

  5. #5

    Cool

    Having something like ten bottles of assorted vinegars of varying vintages in my pantry at the moment, I feel fairly qualified to say that I've get to have one go "bad," per say. On occasion I've had red wine vinegar (not particularly GOOD red wine vinegar, I might add...) develop sediment with age, but it hasn't affected the taste or performance of the stuff beyond needing to be strained.

    ...am I the only one here who had something funky growing on the tarragon in her tarragon vinegar?

  6. #6
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    Thanks all! I've never really pondered the question up until last week, probably because I'd always seen my mother use vinegar that had been opened years previously, with no ill effects. But then I opened a new bottle of white wine vinegar last week and started to wonder. OK, I'll have to find something else to worry about.

  7. #7
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    I can't imagine white vinegar going "bad." If all you had was an inch of red wine vinegar or an herbed one in the bottle of the bottle, maybe in a few years it would go bad. Or maybe it would just solidify . . .
    Work is the ruin of the drinking classes.

  8. #8
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    If in doubt, a mixture of baking soda and vinegar keeps all your drains running well and smelling sweet

  9. #9
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    And it makes a heck of a volcano for the Science Fair. ;D

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