Does Apple Cider Vinegar Expire or Go Bad?

Does Apple Cider Vinegar Expire or Go Bad?

Apple cider vinegar is a great pantry item that has so many uses, from flavoring foods to baking cakes. No matter what you use it for, you want to make sure that it’s fresh and tasty so that you won’t have to worry about a ruined meal.

Does apple cider vinegar expire? Since it is highly acidic, apple cider vinegar doesn’t really expire. Though there are expiration dates on bottles of apple cider vinegar, it will often last years after this date without any problems. However, its quality will deteriorate overtime, so not everyone will want to eat it after the expiration date.

The rest of this article is going to teach you all about apple cider vinegar: How to store it, deciding whether or not it’s gone bad, and how it affects you if you eat it when it’s gone bad.

How Long Does Apple Cider Vinegar Last?

Apple cider vinegar lasts for about 2 years if it’s unopened and 1 year after it’s opened. However, it usually stays good a lot longer after this point. It will lose its quality, and it may start tasting a little more acidic or have a harsh flavor, but this doesn’t mean that it isn’t consumable.

The way you store it also affects how long it lasts. If you properly store it, the product should last at least 1 year after being opened before losing its quality. But if you don’t take care to store it properly, it may start to lose its quality quicker.

Though apple cider vinegar technically only lasts about 2 years, it’s really up to you on when you want to toss it out. If it’s been more than 2 years but the flavor doesn’t bother you, it’s completely safe to put it in your food and consume it.

How Should You Store Apple Cider Vinegar?

So you now know that it’s important to correctly store this product in order to preserve it’s shelf life. But how do you do it?

The answer is simple: Keep it in its original container, making sure that it’s tightly sealed, and store it in a cool and dry place. This could be in the back of a pantry or in the refrigerator. If it is homemade or you just want to keep it in a different glass jar for some reason, this is completely fine; just make sure it seals tightly!

It needs to be in a tightly sealed container because this prevents contaminants from entering it. Even if it’s just some air that is carrying dust particles getting into the jar, the quality of your apple cider vinegar will worsen because of this, so keeping it tightly sealed is your best bet.

It’s important to note that it doesn’t really matter whether it goes in the pantry or fridge. Putting foods in the refrigerator usually makes them last longer because the cold will slow down bacteria growth. However, since apple cider vinegar is highly acidic you don’t really have to worry about bacteria, and it will do fine in either location.

Can You Freeze Apple Cider Vinegar?

Freezing it is great if you don’t like the extra acidity that develops when it’s been sitting around for too long. Putting it in the freezer will stop it from getting to this point so you can use it in the future. But keep in mind that it may actually lose its flavor a little bit after being frozen, so only freeze it if you really want to.

The easiest way to freeze it is to pour it into ice cube trays. This is also handy if you only want to use a little bit at a time, because if you freeze it all in one block it will be a lot more of a hassle to thaw. 

You can leave it in the ice cube trays for as long as you want, but if you need to use the trays, simply transfer the cubes into a freezer safe container or bag. This way, they will still be cubes that you can take out whenever you need.

How Do You Tell If Apple Cider Vinegar is Bad?

It’s almost all about taste when you’re trying to tell if it has gone bad. If it tastes different, it might be a little bad. Bad apple cider vinegar will usually taste a lot more vinegar-esque, and it will be pretty harsh and acidic.

Sediment also tends to gather at the bottom when it has gone bad. If you see this sediment and it tastes different, it’s not the end of the world. You can honestly still use it if you really want to. However, most people don’t enjoy the taste of old apple cider vinegar and will throw it out; in the end, it’s all up to you.

Will Consuming Apple Cider Vinegar That Has Gone Bad Make You Sick?

Apple cider vinegar is so acidic that it’s really hard for any bacteria to grow. This means that it’s practically impossible to get sick from consuming it when it’s old.

Though there is a risk of getting sick if your apple cider vinegar isn’t pasteurized. Almost all of it that is store-bought is pasteurized, but double check the label before you eat old apple cider vinegar. If it’s unpasteurized, you risk getting diseases such as E. Coli or Salmonella.

It still rings true that pasteurized apple cider vinegar is almost always completely safe to eat, and won’t get you sick. Just make sure that it’s pasteurized, because if it’s not pasteurized it is possible to get sick and you should exercise caution if that’s the case.

Final Thoughts

Apple cider vinegar lasts a really long time, and it’s hard for it to really “go bad”. That being said, it’s still possible for the quality and taste to decline, and it’s all up to you on whether or not you want to consume that old bottle sitting in your cabinet.

Whatever you choose, we hope that this article gave you some insight and helped put your mind at ease when it comes to apple cider vinegar.