Recipes that call for some cooking sherry are not so common, but they are delicious. Therefore, it is a good idea to have a bottle in your stock – just in case.
Cooking sherry will add pleasant nuttiness to the flavor of your pork or poultry dish. It pairs superbly with seafood too. Your favorite soup or stew will benefit from a spoon or two of cooking sherry as well. There are also some great sherry-enriched sauces you should try.
The problem is, once you buy it and use some of the cooking sherry to prepare a delicacy to please your taste-buds or wow your guests, what shall you do with the rest of it? Does cooking sherry go bad? How to properly store it for maximum shelf-life? Will it change over time?
All these questions will be answered in the following text, so stay with us till the very end!
How Does Cooking Sherry Compare To Your Regular Drinking Wine?
The wine or sherry that is labeled for cooking will surely be less expensive but also of poorer quality. There are subtle nuances when you compare different brands of cooking cherry, though, just like when you taste fine wines.
Cooking sherry usually contains more salt as well as preservatives and sweeteners. This is exactly why it does not taste as good as your regular glass of drink, but it has some advantages to it too. Namely, thanks to these additives, cooking sherry can last longer than a standard bottle of wine or sherry.
If you do not want to risk your meal being overly sweet, salty, or sometimes even metallic tasting, you should better cook only with wine you also drink. It would be best if you did not do it the other way around. Bottles labeled as “cooking” are not intended for drinking. There is a reason why they are shelved next to the vinegar bottles and salad dressings in almost any store.
If you really aim to wow somebody with the superb richness of flavor, you can opt to use a bottle of regular wine. Still, do not go overboard. There is no reason to break the bank; go with a decent, moderately priced bottle of wine, the results will not be too far from those you would get using top-range wines.
Why Should You Use Cooking Sherry When Cooking? How to Use It Properly?
The acidity of cooking sherry, or any other alcoholic drink you use for cooking, serves to break down tougher cuts of meat and make them more tender and thus more enjoyable too. You can use it in the marinade or during longer-duration cooking methods such as braising.
Sherry will also help keep delicate ingredients tender and moist when you apply quick cooking techniques like poaching and steaming. We tried adding some of it in poached veggies, and the results were more than satisfying.
While it cooks, sherry becomes more concentrated in terms of flavor, so it can make your dish taste more sweet or savory. Sometimes, it can even make your dish taste a bit bitter when cooked for too long or when it is of low quality.
Here is a chart that can help you cook with alcoholic drinks more successfully:
Does Cooking Sherry Go Bad? How To Store It For Maximum Shelf Life?
As we have already mentioned, dry cooking sherry is a champion among all the types of wine in terms of longevity. Unfortunately, it isn’t invincible.
If you want to be able to use it for the maximum possible time, it would be best to seal it as soon as possible and keep it in the refrigerator.
Do not fret even if you store it without refrigeration. Most cooking sherries contain salt and can thus be safely kept in the pantry as well, at least for some time.
It is always a good idea to read the label and see if the type of sherry you have bought has to be refrigerated or not. We would still store any open bottle of cooking sherry in the fridge as that is sure to prolong its shelf life and keep its flavor and aroma unaltered.
The bottom line is: Cooking sherry typically contains salt and is thus shelf-stable and does not call for refrigeration. On the other hand, drinking sherry can also be used in cooking but has no salt and should be therefore kept in the fridge as soon as you open it.
How Long Will Cooking Sherry Stay Fresh?
Being an enriched wine, sherry can last quite long unopened. However, as soon as you open it, the rich flavor starts to dissipate rather quickly.
If you keep the unopened bottle of cooking sherry in a cool and dark place, away from direct light and heat, it will stay fresh for about a year. If there is the “best used by ” date on the bottle, you should obey it. It will probably be safe to use the unopened a month or two over that date, but not longer than that. Use your sense of smell and taste to determine if the sherry has oxidized.
Once you open the bottle, things change for the worse. You can slow down the process, though. If you cork the bottle tightly, you will prevent the air from coming into the bottle and hinder the oxidation process. In this way, you will buy some time. Still, for maximum longevity, you need to refrigerate the bottle too. Depending on how quickly and efficiently you act and your sherry’s quality, the remaining liquor will stay fresh from one to three weeks. The maximum time is one month.
Be careful when adding salt to the dish you have cooked with cooking sherry. Namely, the sherry itself can be rather salty, and you can easily add too much salt when using it. When you use a drinking sherry, there is no risk of oversalting your cooking masterpiece, but you will have to pay a bit more for it too.
When Is It Time To Toss Your Cooking Sherry?
No matter how well you store it, your cooking sherry will inevitably go bad. When that time comes, you should better toss it than spoil the entire dish you have worked so hard to prepare.
It does not really matter where your cooking sherry has been stored, nor how well it was sealed, you should still always smell and taste it before you start using it. Over time, your cooking sherry ages and becomes bitter or sour. It can even start to resemble vinegar.
Therefore, as soon as you open the bottle, smell the sherry. If it smells off, it has probably gone rancid. If you are brave enough, you can taste it too, just to make sure if it tastes as bad as it smells. No matter what the expiration date says, if cooking sherry fails the smell & taste test, it is time to wave it good-bye.