Does Balsamic Vinegar Go Bad?

By Francis Keaveney

A meal isn't the same without a flavor enhancer, such as sweet and tangy balsamic vinegar. Traditionally made with freshly pressed juice, also called must, commercially available variations may also contain matured wine vinegar. Balsamic vinegar has a sweet and fruity flavor that is versatile as a dressing, glaze or sauce component. Like other forms of vinegar, balsamic is naturally self-preserving and does not go bad, provided that you store it properly.

balsamic vinegar
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Add a tablespoon of balsamic vinegar to enhance the taste of meat, fish or salads.

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Storing Balsamic Vinegar

Store balsamic vinegar at room temperature, away from direct sunlight and strong odors. Keep it in a regular food cabinet; it does not require refrigeration. The Vinegar Institute conducted studies that reveal that vinegar's shelf life is almost indefinite. Its long shelf life is attributed to vinegar's acetic acid content that kills bacteria and prevents molding.

Has It Gone Bad?

Old balsamic vinegar may develop a cloudy appearance or a slimy film, but it's still safe to use. However, the vinegar may begin to lose its flavor after a couple of years. It is generally recommended that you use up a bottle within a year to enjoy its best flavor. Use the "Best By" or "Use By" date as a guideline of how long your balsamic vinegar remains in a high-quality state.