8 Familiar Vinegar Types and their Shelf Life

8 familiar vinegar types

There is a plethora of vinegar available in the market. Here are 8 familiar vinegar types:

1. Apple Cider Vinegar

It is popularly abbreviated into ACV. This vinegar is made from either crushed apples or apple juice. First off, these ingredients are distilled and then fermented.

Afterwards, the sugars turn into acetic acid, which forms the integral component of vinegar.

ACV has been all the rage among health enthusiasts. Consequently, it is touted for its detoxifying, weight management and immune-boosting properties.

A common practice during fall and winter entails – drinking warm ACV brewed with spices and citrus fruits like oranges. As a result, this helps to wade of the cold and keep your body warm.

Besides being used for consumption, ACV is used for:

  • Cleaning,
  • Air freshening,
  • Sanitising
  • Personal care

A simple cleaning concoction is made from ACV and baking soda. Use it for cleaning toilets, removing stubborn stains, dishwashing, carpet cleaning and overall household cleaning activities.

For beauty purposes, ACV is renowned for cleansing and clearing skin blemishes. Moreover, it helps in reducing dandruffs and itchy scalp.

Always dilute any vinegar before using. It causes skin burns or irritation.

2. Red Wine Vinegar

Like the name suggests, red wine vinegar is produced from fermenting red wine. The resulting mixture is strained and aged before being bottled.

Red wine vinegar serves numerous purposes. For instance, red wine vinegar is used in both culinary and personal care use.

Red wine vinegar works well on marinades, sauce reductions, roast dishes as well as salad dressings. On the other hand, you can use it as a facial toner. Dilute slightly with water before applying on your face and neck.

3. Rice Vinegar

Rice vinegar is synonymous with Asian cuisines and practices. Most importantly, it is made from fermented rice and is sometimes known as rice wine vinegar.

The fermentation results in production of alcohol. Additionally, the alcohol undergoes further fermentation. The solution is then strained to give off vinegar.

Rice vinegar is not as harsh as other types of vinegars. As such, it gives off a sweet, mild flavor.

There are different types of rice used in vinegar production – black, white, brown and red.

Additionally, each type can vary based on country of origin.

Rice vinegar likes to hang out with Asian stir-fry dishes, salad dressings, dipping sauces as well as pickling solutions.

4. Balsamic Vinegar

Balsamic vinegar originates in Italy. Its production dates back to the Middle Ages.

There are two types of balsamic vinegar – traditional type and the commercially modern one.

Traditional balsamic vinegar is the original variety. It is made using grape musts. These are the contents of freshly pressed grapes, including the juice and crushed grapes.

The musts are boiled, fermented and finally acidified. After that, ageing is done for many years. Ageing can take up to 25 years. Nonetheless, production is usually done in small batches. Traditional balsamic vinegar is quite expensive and rare.

Commercially modern balsamic vinegar abounds. As a matter of fact, it is made in high volumes. It is readily available in most stores. Ingredients used include white vinegar and grape must. Aging takes a shorter period – from 3 months to 2 years.

Due to its high concentration, traditional balsamic is used in small amounts. Use it in marinades, vinaigrettes, condiments or drizzled over meat, fish and roasted vegetables.

5. White Wine Vinegar

This is simply fermented and oxidised white wine. This vinegar is made from several types of white wine (wine stock).

It gives off a tangy taste. However, it does not overpower dishes. Furthermore, white wine vinegar has a mild acidity level.

White wine vinegar works well on salads, marinades, sauces and vinaigrettes.

6. Distilled White Vinegar

In some parts of the world, distilled vinegar is known as spirit or alcohol vinegar.

Distilled white vinegar is made by oxygenated alcohol. With this in mind, the alcohol is obtained from diverse grains. Oxygenated alcohol results in formation of acetic acid and bacteria.

This vinegar has a low acidic level of 5%. As a result, this vinegar is highly versatile. It is used both in cooking as a cleaning agent.

In cooking, you can use it in: pickling solutions; poaching eggs; marinades; vinaigrettes and cake icings.

As a cleaning agent, use it to: brighten dull surfaces; remove odor; stubborn stains; polish cutlery and freshen flowers.

7. Malt Vinegar

This brown tarty vinegar is made from ale – malted barley grains. Not to mention, it is a common condiment in fish and chips dishes.

Malted barley grains produce beer or ale. This is then fermented and acidified to produce malt vinegar. This liquid is then aged to produce the tartness.

It is a popular condiment in Canadian as well as British cuisines.

8. Sherry Vinegar

Traditional sherry vinegar is a native of Spain. Furthermore, it is made from fermented Sherry wine. Ageing is done for half a year or more. As such, the color of sherry vinegar varies. It can range from light to dark, depending on how long the vinegar was aged.

Sherry wine vinegar has a crispy, tart flavour. Hence, it works well on sauces, bean soups and salads.

Shelf Life of Vinegar

Does vinegar go bad? Vinegar is a fermented item with high acidic levels. These two qualities make vinegar to self-preserve. Therefore, it can last indefinitely. In fact, vinegar is used as a food preserving agent. Needless to say, the shelf life of vinegar majorly depends on:

  • Storage conditions
  • How it is handled after each use
  • Type of ingredients used

Store your vinegar bottles in a cool, dry area. Preferably, use your pantry or kitchen cabinets. Never leave them opened for long. This prevents entry of contaminants.

You can safely use vinegar way past its best before date.

Tell-tale signs of spoilage

Vinegar can last indefinitely. However, after a few years of using, you may notice the following:

  • color change
  • sediments settling at the bottom
  • hazy or cloudy appearance.

All the 8 familiar vinegar types will display such characteristics.

Any fermented food can produce vinegar. However, you are bound to find the above 8 familiar vinegar types in any local store.

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