Stupid question time re: vinegar

gemini007, Apr 15, 6:03am
Can vinegar go off? I have had some in my cupboard for years - is it safe to use or should I just biff it? Thanks

cookessentials, Apr 15, 6:06am
No question is a stupid question gemini. Vinegar does go bad and once opened, has a life of around six months. I would throw it and replace with a new one - that is if you will use it though.

cookessentials, Apr 15, 6:07am
Always store it in a cool dark place or in the refrigerator

gemini007, Apr 15, 9:14am
Thanks for that - this is unopened "speciality" vinegar - it must have come in a gift basket & has herbs in it. I use malt, white & balsamic vinegar regularly & have never thought of it going off, but this other I have had for years literally. I also use red wine vinegar less regularly - I might start putting that in the fridge. Thanks for the advice!

uli, Apr 15, 9:19am
If it is unopened - it hasn't "gone off".

In fact it is very rare for any vinegar to "go off" - as it has a high acid component - being vinegar to start off with LOL.

I would be wary if the herbs look like they have slimy mould around them - which I have seen only once in my life though - so this would be very rare indeed.

Once opened I would use it rather quickly though if it has "additions" like herbs.

Otherwise vineger is virtually not going off at all - but might grow some slimy "mother" bits - which you can just get rid of by pouring it through a sieve.

Some people on here (TM message board) have thrown the vinegar out upon coming across the "slime" - this is a normal occurence - nothing to worry about.

cookessentials, Apr 15, 9:41am
Not quite sure about the "LOL" uli, so for information for gemini from an expert, I have copy and pasted this for you - and uli you MAY actually something yourself if you would care to read it.

A. Vinegar is indeed a product of wine that has gone bad. In fact the word "vinegar" is from the French words vin aigre which translates to "sour wine. "

Just as yeast consuming the sugars in grape juice creates alcohol as a by-product, bacteria known as "acetobacteria" consume the alcohol in wine and create acid. This acetic acid is what gives vinegar its characteristic sharp, bright flavors.

Bottles of balsamic vinegar
Abigael Tay
Vinegar should be stored in a cool, dark place.

Since the acetobacteria live off the alcohol they consume, any number of different alcoholic products can be turned into vinegar. And the type of alcoholic liquid used as the initial ingredient of an alcohol has a pronounced effect on the flavor of the vinegar. That's why red wine vinegar tastes different from champagne vinegar.

Vinegars are often further flavored with additional ingredients such as herbs, or -- like balsamic vinegar -- through aging in wooden barrels.

When purchasing vinegar, keep in mind that you often get what you pay for. Some "cider flavored" vinegars are really just cheap distilled white vinegar to which coloring and additional flavors have been added.

Much of what is sold as balsamic vinegar here is simply red wine vinegar with caramel or caramel coloring added to make it syrupy and sweet like true balsamic.

The surprising news is that vinegar does indeed go bad. Since it is created from alcohol, many of the essential elements that give vinegar its flavor are prone to evaporation.

A significant amount of these components typically are gone by about six months after a bottle of vinegar is opened, and most vinegars are tasteless after a year of sitting opened. Vinegar's flavor can be preserved if it is stored in a cool dark place or in a refrigerator.

Some vinegars, if stored improperly or too long, will develop a cloudy look. This cloudy substance (called "mother of vinegar" since it can be used to make more vinegar) can be filtered out with a paper coffee filter in order to salvage the vinegar. However, if either the mother or the vinegar smells bad or rotten, discard both immediately.

uli, Feb 3, 9:12pm
Interesting read cooky - where is it from?
Can you give a link?

Since I do my own cider and then my own cider vinegar since decades - I have never found it to be "off" - even if I leave it in a jerry can for years - with lots of air above.

So in your "speak" - "open" - but all it does is make more "mother" which I filter off when I want to use it LOL :)

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