Does vinegar need to be refrigerated (+3 tips on how to store vinegar)

In this brief guide, we are going to answer the question “does vinegar need to be refrigerated” with an in-depth analysis of which type of vinegar needs to be kept in the fridge. Moreover, we are going to discuss the chemistry behind the processing of vinegar and the tips to store vinegar efficiently.

Whether or not the vinegar should be refrigerated has been a frequent inquiry with the groups being divided into the ones that are in the favor of refrigeration of the vinegar while the others that do not find it necessary to keep the vinegar in the fridge. If you are also confused between the two, you need not worry as we will give you a thorough analysis that will rectify your confusion of “does vinegar need to be refrigerated”.

So without much ado, let’s dive in and figure out more about it.

Does vinegar need to be refrigerated?

So let me get this straight, vinegar does not have to be refrigerated as the vinegar itself is a  preservative. But it is also a fact that whether or not the vinegar needs to be refrigerated depends upon the ingredients that were used to make it. 

The unopened bottle of vinegar can last for about 2 years in the pantry or the kitchen cabinet. While the opened bottle of vinegar can last for as long as 1 year by sitting in the pantry or kitchen cabinet.

One thing to keep in mind is that there is no doubt that refrigeration significantly decreases the rate of oxidation reaction and thus increases the shelf life of the vinegar. 

Does apple cider vinegar need to be refrigerated?

While talking specifically about apple cider vinegar it is safe to store it outside the refrigerator as long as you are storing it in a cold, dark place away from direct sunlight. It can have a shelf life of 5 years.

Apple cider vinegar contains a considerable quantity of vinegar in it which acts as a preservative and makes the apple cider vinegar last for much longer even at room temperature outside the refrigerator.

One thing to keep in mind is that no doubt apple cider vinegar has a lot of health benefits including its role in weight loss and boosting immunity but that does not mean that you should gulp it down like water. You can find how much apple cider vinegar you should consume here.

Which type of vinegar needs to be refrigerated?

If the vinegar is acidic like apple cider vinegar or white distilled vinegar then it has self-preserving properties and it is safe to keep them in a cold, dry corner or shelf of your pantry or kitchen cabinet away from direct sunlight.

If the vinegar is less acidic like wine vinegar or balsamic vinegar, it does not have self-preserving properties, therefore it is recommended to store it in a refrigerator to preserve its freshness and flavor for a long time.

What is the chemistry behind the production of vinegar?

Truth be told the word vinegar is derived from the French words vin aigre which roughly translates as sour wine. 

As we all know that a yeast devouring the sugars in grape juice makes alcohol as a by-product. The same is the case with vinegar, where Acetobacteria changes the alcohol present in the wine to form acetic acid. This acetic acid is the ingredient that is responsible for the characteristic sharp smell and taste of vinegar.

Does vinegar go bad?

Like any other food material, vinegar does tend to go bad after a certain time. As it is formed by the alcohol therefore it tends to lose its flavors over time. Moreover, many of the compounds that give vinegar its characteristic flavor are volatile and are prone to evaporation.

If you see some sediments floating in the vinegar it is better to filter them out. Moreover, the change in color of vinegar indicates that it has started to lose its quality. Moreover, the acidity of the vinegar will also decrease with time owing to the water absorbed from the air in it.

How to store vinegar?

  1. Vinegar is acidic, therefore it should be kept in mind never to store it in a metallic bottle like those made of brass, tin, or steel or the vinegar will react with them and have a corrosive impact on these metallic bottles. It is better to store it in a bottle or container made up of glass or plastic with glass being the safest choice.
  2. Vinegar should be kept in a cold, dry, and dark place away from direct sunlight.
  3. You should always close the lid of the bottle tightly once it has been opened. Never leave the bottle of vinegar without the lid.

Conclusion

In this brief guide, we answered the question “does vinegar need to be refrigerated” with an in-depth analysis of which type of vinegar needs to be kept in the fridge. Moreover, we discussed the chemistry behind the processing of vinegar and the tips to store vinegar efficiently

Citations

https://www.myrecipes.com/ingredients/where-to-store-vinegar

https://www.streetsmartkitchen.com/does-vinegar-go-bad/

Mahnoor Asghar is a Clinical Nutritionist with a bachelor's degree in Nutrition and Dietetics. She is compassionate and dedicated to playing her part in the well-being of the masses. She wants to play a fruitful role in creating nutrition and health-related awareness among the general public. Additionally, she has a keen eye for detail and loves to create content related to food, nutrition, health, and wellness.

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