How Long Is Apple Cider Vinegar Good For?

If you have just found a dusty bottle of apple cider vinegar in your pantry, then you might be wondering whether it is still good to use or not. 

Hey, wait, has it already been opened?

How Long Is Apple Cider Vinegar Good For

Whether you are just wondering out of curiosity, or you have found an old bottle of apple cider vinegar lurking in the shadows of your kitchen, you will want to know how long it is good for. 

Fortunately, apple cider vinegar is one of those things that never really goes bad. Due to its acidity, it is seen as self-preserving. Still, you might be unsure as to whether to consume that old bottle of ACV.

In this article we shall take a look at how long apple cider vinegar is good for, and how can you tell if it has gone bad. 

What Actually Is Apple Cider Vinegar?

Apple cider vinegar, also known as just cider vinegar, is made from apples which have been fermented. 

The process involves crushing fresh apples and pressing them into an apple-based juice. At this point yeast is added. This helps the apple juice to ferment.

The natural sugars will soon convert to alcohol. Once this process takes place, another fermentation process happens. The bacteria within the liquid changes the alcohol into acetic acid. 

You may have heard of acetic acid. This is because it is the base of most vinegars. It is what gives the vinegar a sour and tangy profile. 

When it comes to actually buying the apple cider vinegar, it is often filtered or unfiltered. Unfiltered apple cider vinegar includes what is called the ‘mother’.

This jelly-like blob in the bottle is a byproduct of when the alcohol changed to vinegar during the second fermentation process. 

It is seen to be very healthy due to including beneficial yeast and bacteria. However, if you do not want to have this gelatinous blob in your apple cider vinegar bottle, choose the unfiltered route.

It is less cloudy and does not include anything extra.

Can Apple Cider Vinegar Go Bad?

Apple cider vinegar, and any other vinegar, does not tend to go bad. Due to its acidity, it is a liquid that can self-preserve. This means that it will not go bad.

Because of this, apple cider vinegar (see also: How Do You Use Apple Cider Vinegar For Neuropathy) can last for a very long time. In most cases, it can last forever. This means that if you find a bottle in the back of a cupboard you can still use it.

You will however notice that there is an expiration date on the bottle. The FDA says that all manufacturers should put an expiry date on their food items. 

While it is often an indication as to whether food will go bad or not, you can ignore the date when it comes to something like apple cider vinegar. Vinegar rarely goes bad, if at all. The date is likely to be when the vinegar is at its most freshest.

Even though it might not look its best after a year in the pantry, it will still taste the same. This means that using apple cider vinegar years after the date on the bottle is absolutely fine to do so. 

How Long Is Apple Cider Vinegar Good For (1)

Are There Ways To Tell Apple Cider Vinegar Is Bad?

Apple cider vinegar is likely to never go bad. However, what you may find is that it changes in appearance over time. This can make you think that the apple cider vinegar has gone bad.

Do not be fooled however, because these changes are natural. If the apple cider vinegar is of the unfiltered variety, then it may become even cloudier and produce extra sediments.

This is especially true if the bottle has been opened. This is all down to the fact of the vinegar being exposed to oxygen every time the bottle is opened. You may also notice that the ‘non-mother’ kind has also become cloudier.

None of this means that the apple cider vinegar has gone bad. All of this happens naturally over time, and is often a natural reaction to the elements. 

What Is The Best Way To Store Apple Cider Vinegar?

There are no special ways to store apple cider vinegar. Due to it being highly acidic, it does not need to go into the refrigerator either. 

So long as you place the apple cider vinegar in a dark and cool place like a cupboard or pantry, then you should be able to use the vinegar for years to come. 

You will also want to make sure that you fasten the lid on tightly every time you come to use it. Making sure that oxygen cannot get to the apple cider vinegar will slow down the rate at which the vinegar ages.

If you let it be exposed to oxygen over a long period of time, it will begin to oxidize prematurely and change in appearance. Again, while this does not mean it has gone bad, you may be put off by how it looks. 

Final Thoughts

If you have found an old bottle of apple cider vinegar in your pantry, whether unopened or opened, you will be happy to know that it never goes bad – or at least it is a rarity.

This is due to it being highly acidic. The acid is a self-preserver, meaning that the likelihood of apple cider vinegar going bad is slim. 

However, what you will notice is the changes in appearance. Over time apple cider vinegar may become more cloudy. If you have the unfiltered variety, you might notice extra sediments forming.

Even so, despite these changes, your bottle of apple cider vinegar that has been sitting in the kitchen cupboard for more than a year is absolutely fine to use.

If you are a little skeptical, and do not like how it looks, then feel free to throw it out. However, even though it has passed its expiry date, the apple cider vinegar will be absolutely fine to splash on that salad.

Adam Maxwell
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