Can Balsamic Vinegar Go Bad?

Balsamic vinegar

Balsamic vinegar is much more expensive than traditional vinegar, so if you’ll find a bottle of it stored for a long time in the pantry, you’ll surely ask yourself “can balsamic vinegar go bad?”. While there’s a slight possibility that it will go bad (if stored improperly), in almost all cases it will be fine to use for years after buying. So, the answer to the question is affirmative – balsamic vinegar can go bad, but it happens very rarely and only in certain circumstances. Let’s go through the most important pieces of information about storing vinegar, how its quality will be good and how to tell if it bad. Sounds interesting? Read on!

Storing balsamic vinegar

Balsamic vinegar should be stored like any other vinegar. That is, it should be kept in a cool, dry area, away from light. Therefore, most people keep it in the pantry, as it seems to be the best choice. Heat and light will affect the taste of balsamic vinegar, so do your best to keep it away from them. You do want your balsamic vinegar to be the best quality possible, right?

Balsamic vinegar
(credit: 96dpi)

After opening the bottle, the thing to remember is that it should be always sealed tightly when not in use. If you’ll store vinegar in a bottle without its cap, chances are some contaminants might find their way into the bottle and start to develop in there. Even though vinegar isn’t the best place to develop for bacteria and other microorganisms due to acidic environment, it might happen. When you always keep the bottle sealed, vinegar going bad isn’t a risk.

Shelf life of vinegar

As mentioned earlier, vinegar will last years if stored properly (what isn’t that difficult at all, isn’t it?). But the sole fact that balsamic vinegar is safe to consume after 5 or 10 years after production date isn’t the only thing that matters. There’s one more thing that’s even more important – the quality of vinegar over time. You should remember that balsamic vinegar is in its best quality only for a couple of years ( 2 to 3 years maybe) and its quality slowly deteriorates. So if you’ll find a bottle of balsamic vinegar that was siting in the cellar for 10 years, the vinegar is safe to consume, but in most cases you really won’t be happy about its taste. The best thing to do is to taste it before using, so you’ll be sure if it still can be used or you would much rather discard it for quality reasons.

How to tell if balsamic vinegar is bad

As mentioned in the beginning of the article, balsamic vinegar doesn’t go bad unless stored in a bottle with its cap removed. The thing to remember is that vinegar often becomes cloudy and that’s completely normal, the liquid is still safe to consume.

When it comes to checking f it has gone bad, looks for mold first. If you can’t find any mold in the bottle, you should taste the vinegar. The taste you should get is mild acidic with a bit of sweetness (taste a freshly opened bottle of balsamic vinegar, so you will know how it should taste). If the liquid tastes harsh, it’s probably bad and should be discarded. If it tastes fine, it’s in all probability fine to consume.

As you should know by now, balsamic vinegar can go bad, but it happens very rarely and unless you’ll store it in a bottle without its cap, it’s not a real risk.