So, you want to know the shelf life of balsamic vinegar?
For you to answer the question you need to know what balsamic vinegar is. I know you have probably seen it on your supermarket shelves but didn’t know what it was and how to use it. This article is going to answer your questions making it easy for you to make use of it.
What is balsamic vinegar
This is a dark, concentrated vinegar that is richly flavoured. It contains reduced grape must and left to age over several years in the wooden barrels. However, most vinegar that poses as balsamic is never authentic balsamic vinegar rather regular balsamic vinegar.
This is because the vinegar contains caramel, red wine vinegar and grape juice flavour. Some people use wheat starch to thicken it.
The authentic balsamic vinegar that is rich and highly flavoured with sweet aroma has received massive attention in America, but, it has been in existence for long in Italy. Being an Italian made vinegar, it is a major ingredient in their recipes especially because they are another nation that is proud of their cuisines.
This vinegar’s major ingredient is the grape must and not wine although it’s classified under wine vinegar. As earlier mentioned, the aging process takes long. During the aging process, the moisture evaporates from the vinegar helping it to thicken.
Making the balsamic vinegar
Uses of balsamic vinegar
Vinegar is known to add the rich flavour to the salad. Therefore, the major use is usually salad dressing. Below are other uses:
- It can make a robust flavour when you need to braise your beef, pork, lamb meats.
- You can make some appetizing dipping sauce from: chopped parsley, minced garlic, olive oil, balsamic vinegar and a pinch of salt. You can serve it with crusty baguette bread. I guarantee you, this will leave your stomach yearning for more food.
- In the company of rosemary, sage, garlic and salt, balsamic vinegar can help in the marination process of your meats.
- Since this vinegar adds its rich floral flavour and acidity, it is the best choice for using in cocktails and mocktails as well as other non-alcoholic drinks.
- When making your soups or stews, you can add a splash of the vinegar into the soup.
- You can make a syrup by passing the vinegar over low heat. This way it thickens and reduces its glaze. Use it to drizzle over your roasted vegetable.
- Some people use it over ice creams by drizzling over rich vanilla ice-cream.
The above uses are not the obvious ones that people know of. Most people buy the vinegar then use it for salad dressing and marination then keep it in their stores for many months/years and they even forget they had it. After some time, they come to their stores and see it then wonder whether it is still fresh.
This is a question that people ask every so often and this article is going to tackle that bit.
So, let’s delve into it:
How long does balsamic vinegar last?
Unlike other liquids and condiments, you use in your kitchen, balsamic vinegar if it was an authentic quality and stored properly can last so long some go up to 10 years. This vinegar like wine is best as it ages. It gets thicker and richer in flavour.
The best kind of this vinegar’s major ingredient is Lambrusco and Trebbiano grapes. This traditional kind of vinegar takes even longer in the wooden barrels making it richer with increased shelf-life.
This kind of vinegar may pass from generation to generation. In some instances, it takes up to 150 years. The sad part is that finding this vinegar in the market today is next to impossible.
If you need authentic balsamic vinegar that is processed traditionally in Italy, you may want to purchase those with Aceto Balsamico Tradizionale di Modena label. However, for the modern and commercialized balsamic vinegar, it is best to keep it for 3-5 years. During which it still maintains its richness.
If you will store it past that time going to 10 years, it will work but, the vinegar will begin to lose the flavour, quality and authenticity. Needless to say, balsamic vinegar has no expiry date it is the quality that deteriorates over time. The acid content of the vinegar acts as the self-preservative.
This makes you the ruler, in case the vinegar has been in your store for long. Always taste the vinegar to see if it still has its quality upfront and if not then you can discard it.
How to store the vinegar
Once you open your vinegar and use it for various purposes, make sure you close the cap back to place and make it tight enough.
For cleanliness, wipe the vinegar drops, on the bottle cap with a clean kitchen cloth. Remember, the reason for tightly closing the cap is not to avoid oxygen from contaminating the liquid since it doesn’t. It is to prevent other microorganisms from contaminating it, avoid direct sunlight and ensure it doesn’t stay open for long.
If you store the vinegar in a cool, dry place and away from direct sunlight, your vinegar will be good to go. In fact, your kitchen cabinets are the best for this storage. This is because they will keep your vinegar at an optimal temperature and away from direct sunlight.
Can you store the vinegar in the refrigerator?
Yes, you can, but, it is not a must. If you can maintain your temperature at 59-78 degrees F and at times 104 F when you can’t avoid it, the vinegar will be good. Unless you live in an area that is very hot throughout the year then refrigeration is a must.
Note, whether you are storing in the fridge or on your kitchen cabinet, ensure you cap the vinegar bottle. Because the vinegar will lose the taste in cases where you didn’t cap it.
How will you know when your vinegar has gotten bad?
I will not contradict with the above information. Because like the article has indicated vinegar doesn’t go bad unless you aren’t keen on the storage. However, if it has stayed for longer than stated above and you open the bottle to find a rancid smell throw it away.
The cloudy nature of vinegar is normal, therefore, don’t confuse it with spoilage. Albeit, if it has moulds or it doesn’t have a mild acidic taste with some sweetness, it has gone bad and you should discard it.
Note, this is a very rare occurrence.
Balsamic vinegar like other drinks has vast health benefits.
Will lower your cholesterol
This is the best vinegar to maintain or lower the cholesterol and eventually reduce the possibility of developing clogged arteries. The antioxidants in the vinegar help reduce the production of toxic cells.
Good for your digestion
A major component of balsamic is acetic acid. The acetic acid contains probiotic bacteria. This preserves food and helps you have a healthy digestion while improving your gut health. Some people also claim that the vinegar makes them feel full for long hours thus reducing overeating.
Helps reduce cancer risks
The antioxidants in the vinegar are known to enhance your immune system. This helps you avoid inflammation and health risk diseases like cancer.
For weight loss
Hello to all those who have weight concerns. Balsamic vinegar like other vinegars show characteristics of anti-obesity. The above mention of probiotics bacteria helps you feel fuller.
Moreover, unlike other flavouring agents like mustard, butter and mayonnaise, vinegar contains no fats. With that said do not get me wrong it is not a magic wand to your weight issues but when promptly used, it may lead to your weight loss.
Improves blood circulation
The fact that the vinegar contains of grapes is an advantage to your body. This is because grapes make the platelets not to aggregate which consequently prevents cardiac arrest.
It is an anti-aging ingredient
The antioxidants enhance cell growth which prevent premature aging of your skin. Furthermore, the acetic acid, antimicrobial compounds and antioxidants make your skin look clearer while enhancing your complexion.
It may control your insulin
It is an antiglycemic therefore, when consumed those with insulin resistance experience insulin sensitivity and thus reduced the risk of diabetes.
It is good for pain relief
Where are those of you who experience minor headaches and migraines? It is time to start using natural remedies to heal your pains and avoid too much medicine in your body. Balsamic vinegar helps heal the pains while healing your infections and wounds.
Balsamic vinegar is an underutilised amazing ingredient for most of the world recipes. As you can see the health benefits of the ingredient are dire.
Nevertheless, it is expensive and worth the expense because the process of production is intense and the ingredients used in the production are equally expensive. Therefore, you should ensure you don’t waste it away by poor storage.
- Always make sure you cap the vinegar after use.
- If it appears cloudy, know that it is still safe for consumption.
- Consider maintaining the temperature at the required rate.
And the best part is:
The vinegar can last a lifetime if you buy the authentic one and store properly. So why not go to the supermarket and get yourself one?