Does balsamic vinegar need to be refrigerated? Food enthusiasts know the added flavor and richness that balsamic vinegar brings to our meals.
Its fruitiness and sweetness make it a perfect condiment not just for your salad but also for your soups and braised dishes.
Despite its popularity in Italy, it has become a vital part of American cuisine in the last century.
Chefs and food lovers can play around with its flavor and create one-of-a-kind meals for their family and friends.
But one question lingers in many people’s minds, “Should this condiment be placed inside the refrigerator?”
If you are one of the people looking for the answer on the internet, then you have come to the perfect place!
Here, we will discuss everything you need to know about this type of condiment.
We will also reveal a superior alternative that you can try out if your local grocery runs out of this delicious condiment.
Does Balsamic Vinegar Need to Be Refrigerated
Suppose you have been to the grocery at least once in your whole life.
In that case, you may have stumbled upon two varieties of balsamic vinegar, one that is traditionally made and the other, which is commercially prepared.
We will compare the two types below.
Traditional balsamic vinegar comes from grape must and is aged inside wooden barrels for at least 12 years.
Compared to its other variety, one bottle of this is usually more expensive in the market. But like rum and whiskey, storing it will result in an enhanced flavor over time.
Meanwhile, commercially prepared condiments have a much shorter production time.
Manufacturers also add enhancers and other ingredients to mimic the taste of the traditional one. But despite this, it still has an excellent flavor but for a more affordable price.
Should This Be Refrigerated?
A general principle that you need to consider when storing sauces and meals is their ingredients.
Typically, products containing components that need to be refrigerated must be placed inside the fridge.
Otherwise, their quality will slowly deteriorate and eventually go bad. Fortunately, the two varieties mentioned above can last long under the right conditions.
Unlike other sauces, opening this condiment will not trigger any chemical reaction with the environment’s oxygen.
As a result, your dressing’s quality will not deteriorate or change in any way.
Hence, you can store them indefinitely on your cupboard at room temperature or even inside your refrigerator.
Although these two varieties do not go bad over time, their peak quality only lasts for a few years.
Commercially prepared condiments have a shelf life of around three to four years, while traditionally made ones can go beyond 20 years in your pantry.
Does Balsamic Vinegar Need to Be Placed in The Fridge: An Excellent Substitute
Balsamic vinegar undoubtedly adds more depth and flavor to your dishes. But aside from its varieties, there are other excellent alternatives available in groceries.
The most popular substitute is red wine vinegar, another grape-based product.
This dressing comes from red wine and has a much shorter aging time than traditional balsamic vinegar.
Typically, this substitute does not age beyond two years, resulting in a more acidic flavor. However, it can also last as long as it is stored properly.
Below are some of its common uses.
Does Red Wine Vinegar Need to Be Refrigerated: When Should I Use This?
Red wine vinegar still offers a wide range of use, especially for European meals. Compared to the former, it has less sweetness and a more aggressive acidity.
Thus, using this dressing for recipes that require fruitiness and mildness would not give your dishes the same richness that balsamic has.
But that does not mean it will ruin your food. Instead, your meals will only be less sweet but still enjoyable.
Because of this, it would be best to use red wine vinegar for recipes that require a concentrated acidity, such as vinaigrettes and marinades.
You can even submerge your pickles and other vegetables in it for more flavor. If you want to spice up your potato salad, you can drizzle little amounts of this dressing over it.
Does Red Wine Vinegar Need to Be Refrigerated: How to Store Properly
Balsamic and red wine will only last for generations if you store them properly, regardless if you put them in your refrigerator or cupboard.
Here are some tips to ensure your condiment’s quality over time.
Tip #1 – Keep away from Light and Heat
Too much light and heat are the worst enemies of balsamic and red wine vinegar.
When exposed to these conditions, they can alter their flavor. But that does not mean your sauce has gone wrong.
So, to keep your sauce’s quality at its best, make sure to place it in cool and dark spaces.
Additionally, it is also highly recommended to store balsamic in the refrigerator if you use it as a salad dressing.
Otherwise, keeping it in the pantry is good enough.
Tip #2 – Close the Bottle Tightly
Besides keeping your condiments in a calm and dark place, make sure to seal them tightly immediately after opening their cap.
If not, airborne particles may contaminate the liquid.
Tip #3 – Cloudy does not Mean Unsafe
A cloudy liquid does not mean that it is unsafe for consumption because both balsamic and red wine condiments can last for years.
However, their quality may deteriorate over time, reducing their flavor and richness.
Tip #4 – Don’t Risk it
If you have forgotten to close the bottle tightly or misplaced it in questionable areas at home, we highly suggest replacing your balsamic vinegar with a new one from the market.
Aside from this, watch out for changes in its smell, taste, and color.
Does Balsamic Vinegar Need to Be Refrigerated: Our Verdict
Balsamic vinegar enhances the flavor of our meals. But aside from its fruitiness and sweetness, it can also last for years.
In addition to this, storing it is probably one of the most manageable tasks ever because you do not have to worry about putting it in the fridge or cupboard.
Read Next: Learn if you need to put pickles in the refrigerator.