Does Apple Cider Vinegar Go Bad?

Many people use apple cider vinegar for lots of different reasons. From adding a delicious flavor to recipes or a dressing, all the way to skincare. 

Apple cider vinegar is made using apples that are fermented to create ethanol. The natural bacteria begin to grow within this mixture which then changes the ethanol into what the base of vinegar is, acetic acid. 

Does Apple Cider Vinegar Go Bad?

The majority of people never use a whole apple cider vinegar bottle in one go. For this reason, you may be wondering whether apple cider vinegar goes bad. 

If you read on, you will find out all about apple cider vinegar – from whether it goes bad, to how to store it properly. 

What Actually Is Apple Cider Vinegar?

Apple cider vinegar is usually made from apples that have been sliced and crushed. The apples themselves are then fermented which involves two key steps.

Once the apples have been crushed, yeast is put with the apples. This does a job of helping to speed the process up of fermentation. This is when the sugar in the apples converts into ethanol – otherwise known as alcohol. 

The alcohol changes to acetic acid due to the bacteria that form within the liquid. This is how apple cider vinegar is made.

What Is Raw Apple Cider Vinegar?

When the label of the apple cider vinegar says that it is either unfiltered, unprocessed, or raw, it means that the liquid has not been treated by filtering or heat.

When you find this type of apple cider vinegar, you might notice that the liquid looks less see-through and ‘clean’. The vinegar might appear to be murky or have a blob-like substance floating within it.

This is often known as ‘the mother’.

Seeing this within the apple cider vinegar does not mean that the product is bad or dirty. It just means that it has not been treated to remove it. Some say that this is the healthiest kind of apple cider vinegar. 

This is because the ‘blob’ within the vinegar has lots of healthy bacteria and enzymes. 

How Long Does Apple Cider Vinegar Last?

Apple cider vinegar will technically last for a very long time due to it being a self-preserving liquid. This is because it has an acidic base. For this reason, it actually never really expires.

This is especially true if the apple cider vinegar bottle is never opened. It is likely that it will never expire, especially if stored in the correct conditions too.

However, if the apple cider vinegar has been opened, it is a different story. This is because oxygen will reach the apple cider vinegar every time the bottle is opened.

It will change both the appearance and the texture over a quicker rate of time. 

Even so, vinegars in general are often fully pasteurized, as well as sealed well to avoid the liquid from going bland quickly. If the apple cider vinegar is exposed to a lot of oxygen over a long period of time, eventually it will taste like water.

However, this is over a very long time, so the untouched yet opened vinegar that has been sitting in your pantry for a year is likely to still taste and look like vinegar. 

Does Apple Cider Vinegar Go Bad?

Apple cider vinegar will only go bad if it is exposed to lots of oxygen. However, this is something that has to happen over a long period of time, or if the lid is left off the bottle. 

Any changes that are significant will take years to happen. If you leave the bottle of apple cider vinegar in your pantry or on a shelf for a few years, you will find that it still tastes just as acidic.

Apple cider vinegar does not go bad, even if it is exposed to a lot of oxygen. What happens is that it will lose its natural characteristics and become bland and water-like.

Does Apple Cider Vinegar Go Bad? (1)

The color of the vinegar may change too, especially if left out in the sunlight.

If the vinegar tastes as it should, yet looks a different color, it does not necessarily mean you cannot consume it. 

How Should You Store Apple Cider Vinegar?

Apple cider vinegar is very easy to store. Because it can live out on a shelf or in a pantry, it means that it does not need to be in the refrigerator. However, what it does need is a dry, cool, and dark place.

Putting it in a pantry or a cupboard that does not have the sun on it all day is a great place to store apple cider vinegar. You can also leave it in a cellar too, though this is best if you have a few that you would like to store until opening.

The storage is the exact same for both open and unopened bottles of apple cider vinegar. This means that you do not need to store the opened bottle in the refrigerator either.

In fact, putting it inside a fridge will do absolutely nothing when it comes to making the apple cider vinegar last longer.

Also, remember to keep the vinegar out of the direct light of the sun. Doing so will cause the apple cider vinegar to change in texture, appearance, and even flavor. 

You will also want to remember to keep the bottles sealed well in order to limit their exposure to oxygen. 

Final Thoughts

The good news is, apple cider vinegar does not go bad. Instead, it can degrade over time. This is all down to being exposed to oxygen and sunlight.

Over time the vinegar can lose its color, and taste, as well as become murky. 

For this reason, you will want to make sure that you store the apple cider vinegar correctly to prolong its life. This does not mean putting it inside the refrigerator – this will not help.

So long as you place it in a cool, yet dry and dark place, it can last for years!

Mark Williams
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