Can you freeze vinegar?
In this article, we will answer the question “Can you freeze vinegar?”, and how to safely freeze vinegar?
Can you freeze vinegar?
Yes, you can freeze vinegar.
In most cases, there will be absolutely no need to freeze vinegar, and this is mainly because it has a very long shelf life at regular temperatures.Because of its acid nature, vinegar is self-preserving and does not need refrigeration. (1)
Despite that vinegar can be frozen for various reasons. In 1705 glacial acetic acid was produced by freezing vinegar. (2)
Processes for freezing vinegar and filtering ice crystals, or centrifugal separation of the ice, are still very common practices to produce a vinegar containing a higher level of acetic acid.
This is done in order to reduce the cost of transportation and storage, and packaging and for pickling of high-moisture fruits and vegetables. (3)
Vinegar can also act as a deodorant agent while it freezes in the freezer in a molded ice cube tray. The cubes can then be used to deodorize and clean the garbage disposal. (4)
How to freeze vinegar?
Freezing bottles of vinegar is a resounding no. Because the glass bottle that contains the vinegar is very fragile and breaks under freezing temperatures. So, you will need another container that is more tolerant to the low temperatures of the freezer.
In this regard, a sturdy plastic bottle or container is just the right pick. Pour the vinegar into the plastic bottle or container and cling wrap its mouth. Then tightly put the lid on the container.
For added protection, tape the lid. But this is optional. Last but not the least, make sure your freezer can maintain a steady temperature of 28℉.
If you have a small amount of leftover vinegar to take care of, opt for freezing it in an ice cube tray. Pour the vinegar into the ice cube tray and freeze for 6-12 hours.
Cling wrap the ice cube tray or pop the cubes and store them in an air-tight container or freezer bag. Be sure to check the seal of the container or bag.
Vinegar only comes with a best-by date and not an expiration date. This means that vinegar could last forever if stored correctly but is best used within a certain time window. Even if the printed date says “expiration date”, it is just an estimate.
This only applies if the vinegar is stored in a cool pantry, away from sources of heat like direct sunlight and the stovetop. As per the USDA, an opened bottle of vinegar should not be kept for more than 2 years.
Even though the vinegar is self-preserving by nature, it develops visible changes in appearance if it has been sitting for too long. You can expect slight discoloration in old vinegar.
But the flavor and usefulness of vinegar remain unaffected in most cases. Just give it a vigorous shake and you are good to go. (5)
How to expand vinegar shelf life?
Optimal storage practices play a crucial role in minimizing food waste and preserving the quality of food by slowing down its decay and deterioration.
To maintain the freshness of vinegar, it is essential to store it in a well-sealed, airtight container, shielding it from oxidative alterations.(1, 6)
Exposure to direct sunlight and heat can significantly accelerate the degradation of vinegar.
To prolong its shelf life, it is important to store vinegar in a dark place, away from heat sources and light. This ambient storage condition will help maintain the quality of the vinegar over a longer period.(1)
What happens when you freeze vinegar?
What’s more likely to happen is that the vinegar will become diluted over time, whether frozen or stored in the pantry. Old vinegar just won’t be the same as fresh vinegar in terms of acidity and flavor.
The freezing point of vinegar is 28℉. It can easily freeze if left outside in a cold environment. Vinegar does not necessarily go bad. It just loses its acidity and potency due to the breakdown of acetic acid. (7)
This may be a problem if you intend to use frozen or old vinegar for cleaning or pickling. Both of these processes rely on the acidic strength of vinegar. However, you should be fine if you intend to use frozen or old vinegar for making dips, dressings, or cooking.
Other FAQs about Vinegar that you may be interested in.
In this article, we answered the question “Can you freeze vinegar?”, and how to safely freeze vinegar?
- Marlene Geiger, Vinegar Shelf Life and Safety, Iowa State University, Answer Line, 2021
- Paul A. Putnam. Handbook of Animal Science. Elsevier, page 45 1991
- Hsu, E.J. Rice Vinegar Through Acetification of Rice Wine. In: Luh, B.S. (eds) Rice. Springer, Boston, MA. page 259, 1991.
- Vicki Lansky Vinegar: Over 400 Various, Versatile & Very Good Uses You’ve Probably Never Thought of, Book Peddlers,page 27, 2004.
- U.S. Department of Agriculture. www.nifa.usda.gov/ Website. Washington, DC. Food Safety and Quality.
- Minjeong Kang, Jung-Heun Ha, Youngseung Lee, Physicochemical properties, antioxidant activities and sensory characteristics of commercial gape vinegars during long-term storage, Food Sci. Technol, Campinas, 40(4): 909-916, 2020.
- Ashby, B. Hunt. Protecting Perishable Foods During Transport by Motortruck. Estados Unidos: Agricultural Research Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture, page 133. 1970.