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Apple cider vinegar is quite versatile in its uses. Many add it as an ingredient in marinades and salad dressing. It is a reliable preservative and quite popular for people who use it as a remedy for many illnesses.
There are many types of apple cider vinegar on the market. You will find that some look clearer while others are cloudy and have “stuff” at the bottom.
The clearer vinegar has been filtered of all sediment including what is called the “mother.” This is cellulose that occurs naturally throughout the fermenting process.
The mother is not only harmless, but it is also the most nutritious part of the vinegar. You will find them in bottles labeled “raw” apple cider vinegar.
There are those who prefer filtered vinegar because the liquid looks clean. A filtered vinegar will not have sediment, as well as the mother.
Once the bottle is opened, even though it is closed tightly, the fermenting process will resume which allows the mother to form in the bottle.
Apple cider vinegar’s versatility makes it a valuable addition in the kitchen. Like any other food you want to know does apple cider vinegar go bad.
To answer this question we will cover how to store apple cider vinegar. What is its shelf life and what can make apple cider go bad?
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Storing Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar is in the same category as balsamic vinegar, distilled white vinegar, red wine vinegar, etc. As a rule, it is recommended to store vinegar in a cool and dark place keeping it in its original bottle. Be sure that once the bottle is open that it is always sealed tightly.
The pantry or kitchen cabinet is the typical storage place. You want to keep it away from sunlight and other heat sources. For example, you don’t want to store it in a cabinet that sits right above your oven.
Due to the high acidity level of apple cider vinegar, it is typically resistant to bacteria forming. The pH level of undiluted cider vinegar is in the range between 4.25 to 5.0.
The malic and acetic acids found in apple cider vinegar also makes this product a powerful antibacterial disinfectant. These factors are why apple cider vinegar will not easily spoil for a very long time, if ever.
Apple cider vinegar is not easily prone to becoming tainted. When you see the “Best By” or “Use By” date printed on the bottle that does not mean you will have to throw it out immediately by that date.
It has become standard practice for foods to have stamped expiration dates on the label. Consumers feel more confident in the quality of their purchases when they see these dates on the packaging.
For apple cider vinegar, these dates are more of an indicator as to how long the best quality of the product will remain. Nevertheless, this product will be quite useful for many years after the stamped date.
The shelf life of an open bottle does not adversely affect apple cider vinegar. The only risk of contamination that may occur is from dust collecting in a poorly closed bottle.
Otherwise, this product is fine for consumption at least between 3-5 years. After that time the flavor will get stronger and more intense. The full nutritional value may diminish a bit, but this item is nowhere ready to be discarded.
As long as the bottle is closed properly it can be kept in your kitchen pantry for an indefinite period of time. It seems there are some people who prefer to store an open bottle in the refrigerator to ensure the quality remains as long as possible.
Refrigeration is really unnecessary for an opened bottle of apple cider vinegar. Its high pH level inhibits bacterial growth, and the indefinite shelf life applies even when kept in the pantry at room temperature. Refrigeration will prevent the formation of the mother, if unwanted.
Is the Apple Cider Vinegar Bad
It is most likely you will never find a spoiled vinegar in your kitchen. If that should ever happen then you will want to check the vinegar to see if the color or taste has a noticeable change. See if it smells right or is their sediment, that is not the mother, found at the bottom of the bottle.
Good apple cider vinegar in its natural state is cloudy or hazy. There is an acceptable change in the vinegar’s taste, like more acidic and intense flavor and odor, when it has reached its “by-use” date.
To be certain that your vinegar is okay taste it before using. If it tastes okay then you need not throw it away.
Can Apple Cider Vinegar Make You Sick?
People seek this product out for its health benefits. It is unlikely you will get sick from apple cider vinegar, even if it should go bad. To get the optimal health benefits of this product, its best to use it up and buy a new bottle every two years.
Because apple cider vinegar is an acid, if you have any digestive issues that are hyper-acidity related then you want to start with consuming small amounts and see how your body responds.
Apple cider vinegar diluted with water needs to be stored in the refrigerator in a sealed glass bottle. This mixture increases the pH and reduces the acidity of the vinegar.
Not only does this mixture dramatically reduce its shelf life to a few weeks, now there will be a real risk of the vinegar going bad. This mix will create a bacteria-friendly environment that can grow in the vinegar.
Therefore, if the vinegar is not sealed and refrigerated properly and consumed after its shelf life expires the odds are higher that it will make you sick.
As a rule, apple cider vinegar, in its original form, is a hardy kitchen staple. If you follow these recommendations you will find this low maintenance drink to bring you many benefits.
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