It’s normal to wonder if balsamic vinegar can go bad. The straight answer to this question is “Yes“. However, balsamic vinegar goes bad on rare occasions. This is because balsamic vinegar is acidic and a very concentrated environment for microorganisms like bacteria to survive. It’s microbes that make foods go bad, but not in the case of balsamic vinegar. The main reason why balsamic vinegar would go bad is inadequate storage.
Balsamic vinegar can go bad when it is not properly stored. If properly stored, the vinegar would take years before getting bad. We are talking about its shelf life that might take over 10 years.
If you have ever noticed a different taste or different appearance of the same balsamic vinegar, it could be as a result of different additives used by the producers. Different tastes don’t mean that it’s bad.
Storage of balsamic vinegar
Balsamic vinegar is stored in a cool dry place(preferably a pantry) void of sunlight. It must be stored in a place to prevent sunlight from penetrating the bottle thereby causing a drop in the quality of the vinegar(change in taste).
Also, once a bottle of balsamic vinegar is opened, it is expected to be properly covered and put away as leaving the bottle opened for a long period could cause contamination (appearance of molds in the bottle). However, if the balsamic vinegar is properly covered and put away, the balsamic vinegar would have a longer shelf life.
Shelf life of balsamic vinegar
When it comes to figuring out whether a balsamic vinegar can get bad or not, the shelf life is an important factor to consider apart from the storage of the balsamic vinegar.
Balsamic vinegar is of two types; traditional balsamic vinegar and commercial balsamic vinegar. These two types of balsamic vinegar have different shelf lives. So, it’s of utmost importance that you know the type of balsamic vinegar you are buying from the market.
Traditional balsamic vinegar
This type of balsamic vinegar is prepared traditionally. It is allowed to ferment for at least 12 to 18 years in wooden barrels before they are sold. The shelf life of this balsamic vinegar is 20 years and above.
Commercial balsamic vinegar
This type of balsamic vinegar is mixed with wine vinegar as this would allow for Mass production of the vinegar instead of going through the daunting traditional process of making this Vinegar. The shelf life of this vinegar is 3 to 4 years. After the shelf life of this vinegar elapses, it doesn’t mean the vinegar will get spoilt. It’s only a best before the date set by the producing company to point out when there will be a possible drop in the quality of the vinegar.
How can you tell balsamic vinegar is bad?
Apart from noticing molds in balsamic vinegar, another way you can use to detect if a balsamic vinegar is bad is by its taste or odor. The taste of a normal balsamic vinegar is mildly acidic accompanied by a sweet taste. However, if it’s bad, it tastes harsh and it would only be wise to dispose of such vinegar to avoid health issues.
Balsamic reduction (balsamic glaze)
It is quite easier to make the balsamic glaze in the comfort of your home. It is much healthier than going to a nearby store to get one. The balsamic reduction (glaze) gotten from stores might contain chemicals and emulsifier which are dangerous for your health especially when such a Balsamic glaze is used in your salad dressing.
How to prepare balsamic reduction (balsamic glaze)
When preparing balsamic reduction at home, it doesn’t take much time as stated earlier.
Once you know how to prepare it, you no longer need to spend a lot buying it from local stores or online.
Steps to making a balsamic reduction
- Pour a cup of balsamic vinegar into a small pot.
- Boil it afterward.
- Then you reduce the heat and allow it to simmer for about 10-15 minutes.
You can reduce the temperature as you wish depending on how thick you want your balsamic glaze to be. Just note that the glaze continues to thicken as it cools off. It’s totally up to you if you want to add a sweetener (sugar or honey) because when balsamic vinegar is reduced, it becomes sweeter than it used to be.
Then you can use it on savory and sweet items
Balsamic glaze is perfect for you to drizzle on vegetables and serve as a dip with aged cheese. It is quite versatile. A very perfect ingredient for cooking your meals.
Health benefits of balsamic vinegar
Balsamic vinegar has a lot of health benefits to its name. However, it can also affect our health if taken too much. Below are the health benefits of balsamic vinegar.
Positive effects on our health
1. Balsamic vinegar can be used to treat wounds
Balsamic Vinegar has been used to treat wounds for a very long time now. Studies have proven that vinegar has antibacterial, antiviral, and antifungal properties which could help protect a wound from possible infections. However, these studies have not been well documented.
2. Helps in the loss of weight
Balsamic vinegar contains probiotics that enable a person to feel full for a longer period. This means that when you add balsamic vinegar to your morning meals, you will tend to take in fewer calories or no calories throughout the day.
3. It improves the skin health
Balsamic vinegar contains antioxidants, acetic acids, and antimicrobial compounds which enables the improvement of the skin complexion. Some regions use balsamic vinegar to clear acne from the skin.
Note: vinegar causes stains. So, it is advisable not to apply it directly to the skin.
4. Lowers cholesterol
The antioxidants present in the balsamic vinegar contain properties that help to block toxic cells that can increase the level of cholesterol in the body. According to studies, it helps to reduce high levels of cholesterol.
5. Reduces blood sugar
The anti-glycemic impact of balsamic vinegar when consumed as part of a meal, helps to regulate blood sugar in the body. Some reports have revealed that it can drastically lower the blood sugar level of a person after a meal with vinegar. Also, research has revealed that it could help create a blood plateau for about five hours after a meal. This blood plateau would help reduce the spike of blood sugar in the body.
6. Relieves congestion
Another importance of balsamic vinegar is that it helps relieves congestion. Add a drop of balsamic vinegar in the hot steamy water and breathe in the vapor for a long time.
7. Enables proper digestion
One of the prominent compounds contained in balsamic vinegar is acetic acid. It contains traces of probiotics which aids digestion. The probiotics in acetic acid also help to promote good gut health while supporting the overall immune function of the body.
Other health benefits include:
- Reduction of hypertension
- Acid reflux reduction
- Promotion of blood circulation
Negative health effects of balsamic vinegar
- It causes stomach upset when taken too much.
- Throat inflammation.
- Damages the food pipe due to excessive drinking.
Although the positive effects of balsamic vinegar intake are more than the negative effects, it’s wise to consume balsamic vinegar moderately.
Is balsamic good for diabetes?
Since diabetes deals with a high sugar level in the body, it is very good to take balsamic vinegar since it is one of the numerous types of vinegar that can help limit the increase in blood glucose level.
Studies suggest that if balsamic vinegar is taken in moderate proportion before eating, it can help people with type 2 diabetes to manage their blood sugar level efficiently. Balsamic vinegar has no fat in it. Also, it has a little quantity of natural sugar content.
Best vinegar for diabetes
Vinegar has a lot of benefits to health as stated earlier. Also, it is very useful when it comes to diabetes treatment. There are different types of vinegar with their different uses ranging from cooking to the regulation of sugar level. So, it’s up to you to use the appropriate vinegar for the right thing. For diabetes, these are the kinds of vinegar to take note of.
- Apple cider vinegar
This vinegar is only second to white vinegar when it comes to popularity. It is more expensive than the distilled white vinegar. An unfiltered type of apple cider vinegar has many medicinal properties. It also has a good flavor. The most widely used apple cider vinegar is the unpasteurized and raw type.
- White vinegar
White or red wine vinegar is preferred by most people compared to apple cider vinegar and the distilled white vinegar because they are less acidic. The wine vinegar is also good in bringing out the flavor of the greens in your salad. The best type of wine vinegar is champagne and Sherry. They are both good to liven up chili and soup. They are also good for making marinades.
- Rice vinegar
This type of vinegar has a lower acidity level compared to wine vinegar. They are mostly combined with sesame oil. It adds freshness to food and also helps to lower acidity in foods. Rice vinegar is used in the preparation of Asian dishes. You might want to avoid the seasoned rice vinegar because it contains added sugar.
- Balsamic vinegar
The real balsamic vinegar does not contain any balsam. It is produced in specific regions in Italy. It is the vinegar with the highest content of carbohydrates and calories. However, balsamic vinegar is very expensive.
- Distilled white vinegar
This is the most available vinegar worldwide. It is the least expensive of all the kinds of vinegar listed above. Distilled white vinegar has various uses because of its acidity level. Moreover, it has the strongest taste in comparison to other kinds of vinegar.
Difference between the white balsamic and the dark balsamic
The white balsamic
This type of balsamic is all white and subject to oxidation. It has a sweet subtle flavor accompanied by a clean color. It is majorly used as an ingredient in light-colored sauces, salad dressings, and marinades.
The white balsamic can be left in new wooden barrels for about 12 years. However, the natural process of oxidation can lead to the darkening of the vinegar from a golden color to a deep amber color. But the oxidation process does not affect the flavor of the white balsamic vinegar in any way.
If the white balsamic vinegar appears critical, it is advisable to consume it within three months of purchase.
The dark balsamic
This is the most commonly used vinegar. It is often tagged as “the real balsamic”. The dark balsamic has a long tradition as it has been in use since middle age. Dark balsamic has thick color and lasts longer than white balsamic. Moreover, it lasts longer than the white balsamic.