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How to Store Apple Cider Vinegar So It Stays Fresh for Years — Food Pro’s Easy Trick

Placing it in *this* part of your pantry maintains its color and flavor longer!

We can all agree that apple cider vinegar (ACV) is a pantry goldmine. Its smooth and fruity flavor infuses dishes with a subtle tang that’s not overpowering like white vinegar is. However, forgetting when you bought this ingredient may cause you to wonder, Does apple cider vinegar go bad? You’ll breathe a sigh of relief learning that the answer is no. We spoke to food pros who say that ACV is one of the few foods that doesn’t spoil to the point where you can’t consume it. Still, they note that the vinegar’s appearance and taste may change over time depending on if it’s filtered or unfiltered. Keep reading to find out more about the shelf life of ACV along with tips for storing it to use for your food and nutritional needs.

What is apple cider vinegar?

This type of vinegar is made by fermenting fresh apple juice. During fermentation, yeast and bacteria are added to the juice to turn the fruit’s sugars into alcohol. This process changes its pH level so it’s more acidic and has a strong taste and aroma. Afterwards, the vinegar is either filtered to remove the sediment and bacteria cluster (also called a “mother”), or it’s left unfiltered and then bottled. (Click through to learn how ACV can help calm heartburn.)

Filtered vs. unfiltered apple cider vinegar

Filtered ACV has a transparent appearance and less intense sharpness since it doesn’t contain the mother. This makes it great to use for cooking — whether you’re adding a few drops to a sauce, marinade, salad dressing or sautéed dish. In contrast, unfiltered ACV looks cloudy and tastes more pungent than the filtered kind. Also, the mother in unfiltered ACV is reported to be a rich source of probiotic bacteria and acetic acid — potential drivers for benefits like weight loss and blood sugar control. In addition to being a natural health ingredient, unfiltered ACV can be added to brining or pickling liquid in order to preserve fruits and vegetables.

Filtered apple cider vinegar being poured into a small bowl as part of a guide answering the question: "Does apple cider vinegar go bad?"
Filtered ACV being poured into a small bowl.Getty

Does filtered apple cider vinegar go bad?

Before filtered vinegar is bottled, it’s heated (or pasteurized) to kill off any harmful bacteria that could significantly reduce its quality. “Filtered apple cider vinegar varieties that have most likely been pasteurized typically have a longer shelf life and their taste will be more predictable,” Olivia Roszkowski, chef-instructor of Plant-Based Culinary Arts at the Institute of Culinary Education, says.

While the expiration date on the bottle may list 2 years for peak flavor and color, food scientist Bryan Quoc Le, PhD, reassures you can consume the vinegar past that point. “Over time, some of the minor flavor compounds may break down or evaporate, but the vinegar will still be edible and there should not be any risk of pathogen growth,” he says.

Does apple cider vinegar with mother go bad?

As for unfiltered ACV, Roszkowski notes that it’s unpasteurized, so the quality is likely to diminish faster. “Pasteurized products will not continue to age, whereas unpasteurized bottles have live strains of bacterial and yeast colonies inside that will continue to consume any residual sugars in the vinegar, causing it to become higher in its acidity percentage the longer it sits,” she explains. “It will also appear less clear and vibrant the longer it sits.” Even with the vinegar becoming more acidic and cloudier in color, it’s fine to use as a natural remedy or an ingredient when pickling fruits and vegetables.

How to store apple cider vinegar

Shiel ACV’s acidic content prevents it from spoiling in a way that makes it inedible, storing the vinegar correctly is still key for maintaining its freshness longer. “To slow down the aging process, it is recommended to store apple cider vinegar, especially the unpasteurized varieties, either in a cool, dark place or refrigerated,” Roszkowski says. “This is the best way to keep the flavor close to what the manufacturer hoped for you to enjoy.” With this in mind, you’re ready to maximize it in your everyday cooking!

3 tasty recipes that use apple cider vinegar

Get the most out of a bottle of ACV by using it in these three recipes straight from our test kitchen. Whether you’re adding it to salad dressing or root vegetables before roasting, this pantry staple will provide the dish with a delicious tang!

Kale-Apple Salad

A recipe for Kale-Apple Salad as part of a guide answering the question: "Does apple cider vinegar go bad?"
Getty

We topped our maple-kissed kale salad with crumbled goat cheese for a hint of creamy flavor.

Ingredients:

  • 2 Tbs. apple cider vinegar
  • 3 Tbs. olive oil
  • 2 tsp. maple syrup
  • 2 tsp. Dijon mustard
  • 5 cups chopped fresh kale leaves, tough stems removed
  • 2 apples, cored, sliced into wedges
  • ¼ cup thinly sliced red onion
  • ¼ cup crumbled goat cheese

Directions:

  • Active: 20 mins
  • Total time: 20 mins
  • Yield: 6 servings
  1. In bowl, combine vinegar, oil, maple syrup, mustard, ¼ tsp. salt and ¼ tsp. pepper. Place kale in salad bowl; drizzle with half of dressing.
  2. Using fingers, gently rub kale with dressing to tenderize leaves. Add apples and red onion. Drizzle with remaining dressing. Toss until evenly coated. Transfer to serving platter; top with crumbled goat cheese.

Enchilada Sweet Potatoes

A recipe for Enchilada Sweet Potatoes as part of a guide answering the question: "Does apple cider vinegar go bad?"
Getty

Convenient canned beans jazzed up with enchilada sauce and smoked paprika are the secret to this vegetarian pleaser.

  • 1 (15.5 oz.) can great northern beans
  • 4 (10 oz.) sweet potatoes, baked
  • ½ cup enchilada sauce, from 10-oz. can
  • 2 Tbs. packed light brown sugar
  • 2 Tbs. apple cider vinegar
  • ½ tsp. smoked paprika
  • ¼ cup shredded white cheddar cheese
  • 1 small jalapeño, sliced
  • 2 Tbs. sliced scallion, green parts only
  • 2 Tbs. fresh cilantro leaves

Directions:

  • Active: 10 mins
  • Total time: 25 mins
  • Yield: 4 servings
  1. Drain beans reserving liquid; rinse and drain beans. Reserve beans and liquid. Slice ½-inch from top of each potato. Scoop out half of potato flesh leaving ¼-inch border around inside edges; save remaining potato for another use.
  2. In large nonstick skillet, combine enchilada sauce, reserved bean liquid (about ½ cup), brown sugar, apple cider vinegar and smoked paprika. Over medium heat, bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Add beans; stir to combine. Cover.
  3. Reduce heat to low and cook, stirring occasionally, until beans are softened and mixture is thickened slightly, about 10 minutes.
  4. Dividing evenly, spoon bean mixture into potato boats. Sprinkle with cheese. Top with jalapeño, scallion and fresh cilantro leaves.

Roasted Rainbow Root Vegetables

A recipe for Roasted Rainbow Root Vegetables as part of a guide answering the question: "Does apple cider vinegar go bad?"
Getty

A splash of apple cider vinegar, Dijon mustard and fresh herbs give this earthy side a pop of brightness.

Ingredients:

  • 6 carrots, peeled, sliced diagonally
  • 6 parsnips, peeled, sliced diagonally
  • 3 turnips, peeled, sliced
  • 2 large beets, peeled, sliced
  • 6 Tbs. olive oil
  • 1¼ tsp. salt
  • ¼ tsp. pepper
  • ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 Tbs. minced fresh oregano
  • 1 Tbs. Dijon mustard
  • 2 tsp. fresh thyme leaves

Directions:

  • Active: 15 mins
  • Total time: 1 hr.
  • Yield: 8 servings
  1. Heat oven to 400°F.
  2. In large bowl, combine carrots, parsnips, turnips, beets, olive oil, salt and pepper; toss until evenly coated. Transfer to 2 rimmed baking sheets; spread out vegetables in single layer.
  3. Roast, stirring halfway through cooking time, until vegetables are tender, about 45 minutes. Transfer to serving bowl.
  4. In small bowl, whisk together oregano, mustard and apple cider vinegar. Pour over roasted vegetables; toss until evenly coated; sprinkle with thyme leaves.

To discover more uses for apple cider vinegar, read the stories below:

Apple Cider Vinegar For Thinning Hair: How to Use It To Boost Hair Growth & Skin Health

Apple Cider Vinegar For Laundry? Yes! It Makes Clothes Look, Smell + Feel Brand New

Get Rid of Bacne and Prevent Scarring With Apple Cider Vinegar

This content is not a substitute for professional medical advice or diagnosis. Always consult your physician before pursuing any treatment plan.

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