While apple cider vinegar can spice up so many delicious meals, we rarely use it all in one sitting. This happens because a small amount always suffices, and vinegar usually comes in a large bottle. So it’s only natural to ask yourself – does apple cider vinegar go bad?
Most of us don’t buy apple cider vinegar so often, and this is sole because one bottle can last you for months, if not years! If you have an opened bottle of apple cider vinegar sitting in your pantry right now, you can guess the answer to the question. But now it’s time to get more educated and to find out real facts about apple cider vinegar and how long it lasts.
If this sounds like something that interests you, keep on reading as we tell you all you should know about apple cider vinegar!
How To Store Apple Cider Vinegar
Before we answer the great question, there are a few things we should get into, like how to store apple cider vinegar. Storing plays a crucial role in the shelf life of vinegar, so it’s essential always to make sure you do it the right way.
The only way to properly store apple cider vinegar, or any vinegar for that matter, is in a cool, dark place away from sunlight and heat. A kitchen pantry or a basement would be ideal.
Also, make sure to store it in an airtight glass container. Plastic is never a good option for both environmental and health reasons. Besides, glass is more durable and sturdier than plastic!
One more important thing is that you should not refrigerate apple cider vinegar. It won’t cause any side effects, but it also doesn’t play any role in improving its shelf life. Putting apple cider vinegar in the fridge is unnecessary unless you like to add chilled vinegar to your meals.
If you don’t want to keep apple cider vinegar stored for too long, you can repurpose it! There are numerous ways you can use apple cider vinegar, for example to make salad vinaigrette or to boil better eggs! Proteins in egg whites firm up more quickly when they get in touch with something extremely acidic, thus resulting in perfect boiled eggs! You can even put it in soup, in sauces, or use it as a mouthwash!
Does Apple Cider Vinegar Go Bad?
You’ve probably already noticed that apple cider vinegar has a best by date. What you maybe don’t know is that the expiry date on a bottle of apple cider vinegar indicates not when it will go bad, but when the quality, the flavor, and the consistency will start to decline.
Apple cider vinegar is self-preserving, and if you store it the right way, it will last indefinitely. This means it will not go bad even if you open it and reseal it many times.
But, why doesn’t apple cider vinegar go bad?
The answer lies in the acidity of the vinegar. Apple cider vinegar has antimicrobial properties. In fact, those antimicrobial properties are the reason it lasts so long. Because of the high acid content, and the unique fermentation process that the vinegar goes through, bacteria cannot survive nor multiply in apple cider vinegar for more than a few hours.
If you’re not familiar with the pH scale, here’s a few important notes to understand it. The pH scale ranges from 0 to 14, and it tells how acidic a substance is. If something has a pH level below 7, it’s acidic, and if it’s above 7, it’s basic.
To understand the acidity level of apple cider vinegar, you must know how it’s made. The first step is to chop up apples, cover them with water, and leave them to ferment. They will create ethanol, which will then be converted into acetic acid, the main ingredient in apple cider vinegar. Acetic acid has a pH between 2 and 3, which means it’s highly acidic!
So, the answer to your question is simple – apple cider vinegar can last indefinitely!
However, it’s crucial that you store it properly and make sure that it doesn’t touch any external factors that could compromise its acidity, like other liquid substances!
How Apple Cider Vinegar Changes Over Time
Since apple cider vinegar does not go bad, how can you tell if its quality has started to deteriorate? Well, there are a few ways you can find out.
Apple cider vinegar will undergo specific changes over time, and they are quite noticeable. As it ages, the first thing you’ll notice is the change in appearance. It will start to look hazy or cloudy, and you may see some fiber build up on the bottom of the bottle.
This aesthetic change happens mainly due to exposure to oxygen. Every time you open the bottle, oxygen goes in and causes the process of oxygenation to start. This process also causes the release of citric acid and sulfur dioxide, which are effective preservatives in the vinegar.
These chemical processes don’t affect the shelf life of apple cider vinegar, but they create changes you’ll be able to see and taste.
None of this means that your apple cider vinegar is no longer useful. It simply suggests that it’s not the same as it was when you first bought it. It’s still entirely usable if you do not mind the slight changes in the original flavor and smell. However, it does indicate that apple cider vinegar has lost a lot of its nutritional value and effectiveness.
Health Benefits Of Apple Cider Vinegar
For centuries, people have been praising apple cider vinegar as an effective home remedy, and it’s been widely used in cooking and medicine. There is some truth to it, and, if consumed in reasonable dosages, apple cider vinegar can benefit your overall health.
Firstly, apple cider vinegar has antimicrobial and antioxidant properties. Organic, unfiltered apple cider vinegar is rich in protein, enzymes, and beneficial bacteria. It doesn’t contain a lot of minerals and vitamins, but it has some potassium.
Furthermore, apple cider vinegar can help you reduce cholesterol and lower your blood sugar level. It is especially recommended if you have type 2 diabetes.
Interestingly, apple cider vinegar can also help you lose weight. It won’t make you skinnier per se, but it can give you a feeling of fullness that may lead to eating fewer calories or smaller portions!
If you want to get the most out of vinegar regarding your health, we recommend you use both apple cider vinegar and balsamic vinegar in your diet. Just like apple cider, balsamic vinegar is loaded with beneficial ingredients for your health!
However, you have to be careful about how much apple cider vinegar you intake. Yes, the benefits that come with this type of vinegar are great, but there are also some disadvantages you have to consider.
The disadvantages usually regard the amount of apple cider vinegar you ingest every day. Consuming too much of it can cause indigestion and throat burns, it can damage tooth enamel and interact with certain medications, including Digoxin and some diuretic drugs. Also, try to avoid apple cider vinegar if you suffer from gastroparesis.
Like most things in life, apple cider vinegar can also cause allergies. However, the cases of this happening are sporadic, but keep this option in mind if you notice any side effects while consuming apple cider vinegar!
So, what is the recommended amount? Around two tablespoons or 30ml a day is enough to get all of the benefits from apple cider vinegar without risking an overdose!
The Bottom Line
The good news is that apple cider vinegar has an indefinite shelf life! You can use it for years, and it can be as good as new. That is, if stored properly.
If you don’t take care of it in the right way, there’s a considerable risk your apple cider vinegar’s quality will start to decline, and it will lose its original flavor over time. It’s still viable, but don’t expect the rich taste it had when you first opened it!
If you’ve just remembered that one bottle of apple cider vinegar that’s been collecting dust in your pantry, don’t give it too much thought. It’s still good enough to eat, but if you don’t like how old apple cider vinegar tastes, you can always make an all-purpose cleaner for your home or trap annoying fruit flies that have been bothering you all day.
Aren’t you glad that you don’t ever have to worry about apple cider vinegar going bad? We sure are!