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Does Apple Cider Vinegar Go Bad? How Long Does It Last Once Opened?

According to Donna Langely, Apple Cider Vinegar has been consumed for years, and it aids with detoxification, aging and it’s a natural healer.

Apple Cider Vinegar is an asset to both the kitchen and the human body, little wonder people like to have it stored up. But you might wonder, how long does Apple Cider Vinegar last? Does it go bad?

Let’s find out these and more.

What is Apple Cider Vinegar?

Simply put, Apple Cider Vinegar is fermented chopped apples which has been fermented twice. It is made by covering chopped apples immersed in water for a long period to ferment into ethanol.

It’s a great ingredient in salads,  marinades, baking, cooking, even beverages.

apple cider vinegar

You can’t just finish a bottle of Apple Cider Vinegar in one sitting especially if you don’t use it constantly; hence the question arises: how long does Apple coder last once opened?

We’ll see.

Futher reading: What’s the Difference Between Apple Cider and Apple Cider Vinegar?

How Long Does Apple Cider Vinegar Last Once Opened?

Apple Cider Vinegar is acidic, which automatically confers a self-preserving characteristic on it. That means it doesn’t expire or get sour even when opened.

Usually, white distilled vinegar remains unaltered, even after a long period. With other Apple Cider Vinegar, you might notice a color change or sediment formation; this is just an aesthetic change, not a functional one. Hence it’s still useful.

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Most Apple Cider Vinegar comes with a “best before” date. Remember to check for that information when you pick out your favorite Apple Cider Vinegar from the grocery store.

Once opened, the most important thing to do to preserve Apple Cider Vinegar is “store in a cool dry and dark place“.

Some brands of Apple Cider Vinegar have a 2-year “best before” date stated on the bottle label,  while others might have five years. This doesn’t mean after the time elapses, you toss your favorite Apple Cider Vinegar into the trash. It still can be used.

The Best before date is the manufacturer’s estimated time of how long Apple Cider Vinegar would remain at apex quality.

You might wonder, is Apple Cider Vinegar really “immortal”? Does it not go bad?

Does Apple Cider Vinegar Go Bad?

No. Apple Cider Vinegar does not go bad. As long as it is stored properly, it can last indefinitely as it does not expire.

Due to the acidity of its major constituent, Acetic acid, Apple Cider Vinegar possesses antimicrobial qualities that hinder bacterial growth, so you can be certain it has a good shelf life.

Does Apple Cider Vinegar Go Bad If not Refrigerated?

Since we already established that Apple Cider Vinegar does not go bad, you might ask, can it be refrigerated? Does it go bad if not refrigerated?

Simply put, Apple Cider Vinegar does not need to be refrigerated. Apple Cider Vinegar has a pH level of 2-3, this is pretty high, and this prevents it from going bad, so you don’t need to refrigerate it.

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Think of Apple Cider Vinegar as “fine wine”, when stored or preserved properly it can last indefinitely. The only difference is once opened, wine has to be consumed within a certain period. This automatically makes Apple Cider Vinegar “the greatest kitchen asset alive”.

As long as you store it properly it doesn’t need refrigeration and it can even serve as a preservative for other foods, amazing!

How Can You Tell If Apple Cider Vinegar is Bad?

So, let’s say, you might have skipped the lesson on how to store Apple Cider Vinegar properly. Or you have had it for so long, and now you want to determine if your Apple Cider Vinegar is bad?

Colour and Taste Change

 A color change of your Apple Cider Vinegar might be one way to tell if it is bad, it might become cloudy and hazy if some contaminants get into it.

The taste might also change, it could become more acidic and have a stronger flavor than its original.

Presence of Sediments

Over time, due to opening and closing, Apple Cider Vinegar might undergo oxygenation(exposure to oxygen). This causes a release of sulfur dioxide and critical acid, constituents of Apple Cider Vinegar.

Once this happens you might notice cloudy fibers and sediments at the bottom of the jar or bottle.

Presence of “Mother” of Vinegar

Mother of vinegar [1] refers to a slimy, foggy, gelatinous substance that can be found in Apple Cider Vinegar. Although it looks scary and might make you uncomfortable when you see it in your bottle, it is completely harmless.

It is the result of fermentation and on the bright side, Mother can be used to produce a new band of vinegar. Talk about regeneration!

If you haven’t used a bottle of Apple Cider Vinegar for a long time and you notice these changes, the best thing is to taste and check properly if it’s still fit for use in your recipes. Once you do that and you do not like what your taste buds tell you, then you might have to add Apple Cider Vinegar to your next shopping list.

So that being said, how does one preserve Apple Cider Vinegar, to prevent it from going bad?

How to Store Apple Cider Vinegar?

The storage of Apple Cider Vinegar is quite simple, and it’s important to preserve its shelf life.

  1. Store an unopened bottle of Apple Cider Vinegar away from direct sunlight.
  2. Keep your bottle of Apple Cider Vinegar in a dark and cool place, like a kitchen cabinet or pantry.
  3. Always keep the contents of an opened Apple Cider Vinegar bottle in its original container. Don’t change containers or store them in another bottle.
  4. Immediately after use, close the lid or cap of the bottle. Do not leave the bottle open. 

Final Words

If you love foods with sour flavor, Apple Cider Vinegar is a great addition to your meal plus it balances out the bitter taste some foods might have.

Without Apple Cider Vinegar your kitchen is incomplete, but while you are at it keep this in mind:

  1. Always ensure your bottle of Apple Cider Vinegar is stored in a dark, cool, dry place away from direct sunlight.
  2. Maximize the shelf life of Apple Cider Vinegar by sealing it tightly after it has been opened.
  3. If stored properly, and the bottle isn’t damaged, Apple Cider Vinegar can last way past the manufacturer’s “best before” date.

The secret to an “immortal” Apple Cider Vinegar is in the storage. So, enjoy this versatile asset and its many benefits by storing it properly.

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I’m Jennifer Schlette, a Registered Dietitian and Integrative Nutrition Health Coach. I love cooking, reading, and my kids! Here you’ll find the healthiest recipes & substitutions for your cooking. Enjoy, and be well, friends!

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