So, you’ve got some balsamic vinegar. Full of fermented grape juice and complex flavors, balsamic vinegar makes for a tasty dressing, marinade, and sauce.
But your bottle of balsamic vinegar is open, and you’ve found yourself worrying: does balsamic vinegar go bad?
What’s the bottom line? The bad news is that the taste of balsamic vinegar deteriorates over time and can go bad.
The good news is that you can find out if your balsamic vinegar is edible, as well as how to store it so it doesn’t go bad below.
How To Tell If Balsamic Vinegar Has Gone Bad
Is your balsamic vinegar off? It’s not hard to tell. The signs are:
- Taste. If you can taste any harshness in the balsamic vinegar or acidity, it’s time to bin it.
- Mold. See any mold on the spout or in the bottle and your vinegar is ready to get chucked.
You might be wondering: what’s that white stuff in my balsamic vinegar? This will probably look like clumps, and it’s nothing to worry about.
These are caused by harmless vinegar bacteria, aptly named the mother of vinegar.
How To Store Balsamic Vinegar
To protect your balsamic vinegar’s shelf life once opened, store it properly. There are two options.
If you’re going to be making sauces or marinades with your balsamic vinegar, we recommend putting it in a cupboard or pantry, or any other dark and cool place away from heat and humidity.
Treat heat and humidity as your balsamic vinegar’s natural sworn enemy. Not only will they disrupt your vinegar’s natural flavor, but they can also encourage mold growth.
Otherwise, putting your balsamic vinegar in the fridge may be beneficial, especially if you mainly use it as a salad dressing and want to keep it chilled.
If you’re ever in doubt, you can’t go wrong with simply putting your balsamic vinegar in the refrigerator. A cool temperature will allow your balsamic vinegar to maintain its texture and delicious taste.
How Long Balsamic Vinegar Lasts
You might be asking yourself: does the type of balsamic vinegar affect how I should store it?
Thankfully, storing balsamic vinegar is simple, and you should follow the same basic principles, no matter the type of balsamic vinegar.
While some may say that traditional balsamic vinegar lasts longer than condiment-grade vinegar or commercial-grade vinegar, they all last approximately three years.
There is a common misconception that traditional balsamic vinegar lasts longer due to its age, with the average bottle being 12-18 years old.
Condiment-grade balsamic vinegar is usually aged 12 years and under, and commercial-grade is very quickly produced and has the lowest grade of the three.
Remember: always check the best before and expiry dates. Follow the instructions on the packaging first and foremost.
The Verdict On Balsamic Vinegar
Unfortunately, balsamic vinegar does go bad.
However, there are plenty of ways to extend how long your balsamic vinegar lasts, including storing it in a cool, dark area, such as a cupboard or a fridge. If you do this, your balsamic vinegar can last for three years or more, all while maintaining its complex flavor!