Balsamic vinegar, which is made from grapes, is very popular around the world even though it originated from Italy. It is known for its velvety black color and its rich flavor. It also has a lot of health benefits as it can be used for weight loss, blood circulation, immunity improvement, blood sugar regulation, and help in digestion.
If you have a bottle of it in your kitchen cabinet, you might ask this very question: How long does balsamic vinegar last? This post will give you some enlightenment about balsamic vinegar’s shelf life, proper storage, and how you can tell if it has gone bad. I hope after you read this post that you will be able to use it to prevent food wastage.
How Long Does Balsamic Vinegar Last?
It is interesting to know that balsamic vinegar belongs to the consumable food products category but it does not get stale over a long period of time. Like honey, wine, whiskey, and rum, balsamic vinegar is one of the products that get better while aging. If properly stored, balsamic vinegar will start aging but the flavor will be enhanced over time.
You should be aware that balsamic vinegar comes in two types: commercially produced and traditional. Commercially produced balsamic vinegar can last for 3 to 4 years but traditional ones can last for as long as twenty-five years. As mentioned above, the more the balsamic vinegar has aged, the better it will taste.
Unlike other condiments that have short shelf lives, the balsamic vinegar is an extraordinary one. It should be noted though that generally the good quality balsamic vinegar can last if stored properly. There are a lot of grades of balsamic vinegar but the good quality ones are made from Trebbiano and Lambrusco grapes.
These grapes are reduced and transformed into vinegar inside barrels. The longer these grapes age, the thicker, richer, and darker they become. As mentioned above, traditional ones last for a longer period of time compared to commercially produced ones. It is also interesting to know that some of them are passed down through family generations.
In addition, there are some high-grade vinegar that were kept for as long as 150 years but these are rare and you don’t see it every time in the market. To be able to make sure that you are buying traditional and authentic balsamic vinegar, you have to check the label and it should say that it is processed and aged using traditional methods only.
However, for commercially produced balsamic vinegar, its shelf life is a lot shorter than traditional ones. It can only last for up to 3 to 4 years if stored properly. It should be noted that you can still consume the vinegar even after the expiration date but you will notice a change in quality and you may not be satisfied with its taste.
Basically, balsamic vinegar does not have an expiration date in its bottle so it can be stored indefinitely. This is because this type of vinegar has an acidic nature and has the ability of self-preserving. It is important to check first whether the vinegar has gone bad before using it for food preparation.
Don’t waste that balsamic vinegar just sitting in your kitchen cabinet. Here’s a video on how to make a salad mix using balsamic vinegar:
How Do You Properly Store Balsamic Vinegar?
Balsamic vinegar should be stored in a cool and dark place. Exposure to heat and direct sunlight can make deterioration a lot quicker. In addition, it can destroy the naturally developed flavor of the balsamic vinegar. If you open a bottle, remember to shut the lid sealed tightly to prevent oxygen and other contaminants from entering the bottle.
It is also important that you wipe the edges of the bottle and cap clean using a dry kitchen towel before you seal it shut. Doing this will prevent any exterior substances from contaminating the whole bottle. It will also prevent overexposure to air and it can prevent harmful microorganisms from developing in the balsamic vinegar.
Your kitchen cabinet or pantry are the best places to store your bottle of balsamic vinegar as it is very far away from light and high temperatures. Proper storage is necessary to prolong the best taste and flavor of the vinegar. Lastly, if you wish to use the balsamic vinegar as a salad dressing, you may want to refrigerate it before serving.
How Do You Tell If The Balsamic Vinegar Is Already Bad?
There are a lot of ways on how to tell if the balsamic vinegar has gone rancid and no longer to be used for food preparation. The appearance may seem cloudy but it does not mean that it has gone bad. Try to get a little taste and check if it has spoiled. If it tastes very sour than normal and a bit harsh on the taste buds, throw it away.
Another way to check is to look for molds and other external substances that may have entered the bottle. If it does contain these gross substances, it is best to throw it away. This is the reason why you should always seal the cap after every use, as it can result in spoilage and slow evaporation of the balsamic vinegar.
How long does balsamic vinegar last? According to the discussions above, its shelf life is indefinite. To sum, here are some of the important points mentioned above:
- The shelf life of balsamic vinegar will depend on its production. If it is traditionally produced, it may last up to 25 years with proper storage. However, if it is commercially produced, it can only last up to 3 to 4 years.
- Balsamic vinegar should be stored in a cool and dark place, away from heat and direct sunlight.
- If you notice any negative alterations to its taste and appearance, it is best that you throw it away.