We all know about the magic that red wine vinegar can do in your kitchen.
You can splash it with some herbs, pepper, salt, and olive oil to add a tangy flavor to your greens. Or mix it with mustard to marinate the meats, or use it in large quantities to preserve fruits, vegetables, meat, and eggs.
It is a master chef’s favorite condiment. So it is inevitable to have a few unused or half-used bottles lying around.
You have seen ads that proclaim that it can last for an indefinite period. But today, when you picked up one of the old stray bottles, you noticed that there is a best-before date on it!
Now you are wondering if your red wine vinegar is spoiled. Is it safe to use it past that date?
No worries! If you don’t want to use it in cooking, there are plenty of other ways to use it.
- Red wine vinegar has acetic acid that can kill E.coli, so why not mix some vinegar with water and wash vegetables and fruits with it?
- Put some vinegar into an ice tray and freeze it. Put the cubes in your disposal to freshen it.
- Pour it into one of your spray bottles and spray it on the weeds to get rid of them.
- Mix one teaspoon of vinegar, a little food color, and one cup of warm water. Use the mixture to make beautiful colored easter eggs.
How To Know If Red Wine Vinegar Has Gone Bad
Now: You may have noticed slimy or cloudy sediment in a bottle of red wine vinegar. It is a harmless byproduct of vinegar. Sometimes people refer to it as the mother. You can remove it by filtering the vinegar.
The mother is usually present in a bottle of raw vinegar. You can check the label. If it says that the vinegar is filtered or pasteurized, it means that the mother is not present.
But if you leave the processed varieties of vinegar on the shelf after opening the seal, you may find the formation of sediments in their bottles, too!
Don’t toss the bottle in the bin because it does not mean your red wine vinegar is spoiled.
There are very few chances of spoilage, but you can examine the vinegar before using an old bottle to be doubly sure.
Pour some vinegar into a small glass. Check if there is a color change. Sniff it and see if there is an odd smell. Taste it and see if it has become bitter.
If you notice any such negative signs, discard the vinegar.
It may not be harmful to use it. But it may impact the flavor and aroma of your recipes.
How To Store Red Wine Vinegar
Let it remain in a dark and cool place. It’s the best way to store red wine vinegar. Maybe your bottle of vinegar is tinted. Even that should be kept the same way.
That means leaving your vinegar bottles in your kitchen cupboard or pantry is ideal. Remember to close the lid tightly after use.
Are you wondering whether to keep it in the fridge?
Nope! There is no need to refrigerate it even after opening the bottle.
Did you know?
Vinegar has self-preserving properties. It has a low pH and more acid content. Pathogenic bacteria do not have any scope of surviving in vinegar.
The best part is it does not have any special requirements for storage.
How Long Red Wine Vinegar Lasts
Don’t get baffled when people say that red wine vinegar has an indefinite shelf life and also see a best-before date on its bottle. The date indicates that it will be fresh and at its best quality until that time.
Of course, it is only an estimate, and you can enjoy the flavor of your vinegar for several months or years, even after that date.
In short, whether you have an opened or unopened bottle of red wine vinegar, it will remain fine indefinitely in the pantry. However, the quality may decrease beyond the best-by date.
The Bottom Line On Red Wine Vinegar
A bit of bad news: Whenever you open the bottle to use red wine vinegar, some oxygen may enter into it and cause oxidation. Some physical changes may occur if the vinegar is very old. Its color may become dark, sediments may form in the bottle, or the vinegar may have a different smell.
Good news: These changes are not harmful in any way. You can consume old vinegar safely.
Bonus: If you do not want to use it for cooking, you can use it for non-culinary purposes.