Whether it’s for submerging your pickles, sizzling up your salads, marinating your steaks, or making cheese, vinegar is the star ingredient you need!
This is why white vinegar has become a staple in almost all kitchens throughout the world.
Not only that, but white vinegar is quite healthy too and may provide certain health benefits.
Despite its popularity, white vinegar isn’t a condiment that you use in heavy quantities. Hence, more often than not, white vinegar may sit in your kitchen cabinet for weeks or even months.
So, the next time you turn to your white vinegar, you may wonder, “how long does white vinegar last?” Or, “do they even go bad?” The answer to these questions would be yes!
However, there is more to it! The shelf life and expiry of white vinegar aren’t that straightforward as a lot of other factors come into play.
Thus, if you want to find out in detail about the shelf life and storage of white vinegar, please read on!
How Long Does White Vinegar Last? Does White Vinegar Go Bad?
Yes, white vinegar does go bad. However, like any other kind of vinegar, white vinegar has an almost indefinite shelf life. That’s because vinegar is a highly acidic product.
Because of its acidic nature, it becomes nearly impossible for food contaminating elements like fungi or bacteria to grow in. Hence, it does not go bad for a very long time.
However, if it comes in contact with some other external factors, your white vinegar will start deteriorating quickly until it becomes completely rancid.
Most store-bought white vinegar may come with a best before date. However, you can consider this date just as a mark up to which the vinegar will retain its best quality.
Once it crosses its best before date, you can still use the white vinegar for years, on the condition that you practice proper storage methods.
Note that white vinegar may also slightly degrade in quality after a certain period. This simply means that your white vinegar may not taste as strong as it was when you first opened the bottle.
The bottom line is that when stored properly, both unopened and opened white vinegar has an almost indefinite shelf life in your pantry.
As far as storage is concerned, white vinegar is one of the most shelf-stable additives. You don’t need to refrigerate your bottle of white vinegar, unlike other condiments.
You can simply store it in a cool, dark place like your pantry or kitchen cabinet.
Just make sure to keep it away from direct heat sources. Also, ensure that you properly seal your white vinegar with the cap before storing it.
How to Tell if White Vinegar is Bad?
You must have read this multiple times throughout the article, but it is true that white vinegar lasts pretty much forever as long as you store it correctly. Since it is highly acidic, white vinegar is self-preserving.
However, when it comes to white vinegar or any kind of vinegar, for that matter, there is one thing that you should be aware of. That is the so-called “mother of vinegar,” (bacteria naturally present in vinegar).
If your white vinegar is filtered and does not contain the mother, it will begin to form on its own in the following years. This is when you’ll notice a kind of slimy disc to appear on the surface of the vinegar.
So, don’t mistake this for spoiled white vinegar. That is just the formation of the mother and is a completely safe and natural process.
When it comes to the actual sings of spoilage in white vinegar, here’s what you need to look out for:
If you notice any discolorations accompanied by an odd smell, your white vinegar may not be safe for consumption.
If you notice that the vinegar has been contaminated with external elements, it is best to discard the entire vinegar content.
Use your sense of smell to identify if your white vinegar has gone bad. Take a good whiff. If it smells too sour or unusual, the vinegar may spoil the quality of your dishes.
If you can’t tell by sight or smell at all, you can try doing a small taste test. Taste a teaspoon of the vinegar. If it tastes anything different than its usual acidic and strong flavor, it’s time to toss your white vinegar in the trash.
White vinegar is the cheapest and cleanest of all other types of vinegar. This is why white vinegar is the go-to for pickling, marinating, and other cooking recipes.
Not only that, but vinegar is generally an excellent source of magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, calcium, and antioxidants.
In fact, white vinegar, like any other kind of vinegar, provides possible health benefits like blood sugar control, reduced cholesterol, weight management, and antimicrobial.
Along with its many great benefits, the cherry on top of the cake is its almost indefinite shelf life.