Over the years, rice vinegar has become incredibly popular, so almost every household has it stocked in their pantry worldwide.
In fact, you must have used rice vinegar for your skin while doing laundry or whipping up a delicious meal.
Rice vinegar takes loads of time to make and uses a number of ingredients, from rice to sugarcane to grapes.
It is an Asian delicacy that comes in a variety of flavors and colors. Understanding if rice vinegar goes bad can be confusing, especially since it always smells and looks fine even past its expiry date.
We will help you understand the shelf life and storage of rice vinegar in this article so that you never have any doubts again.
Rice Vinegar – What is It?
If you are interested in cooking or skin care, you are probably familiar with vinegar.
Vinegar comes from a French word that means sour wine, owning to its sour and tangy taste. It is produced by fermenting sugar into alcohol and fermented into vinegar.
Does It Need to be Refrigerated?
Rice vinegar needs to be stored the same as red wine and balsamic vinegar. Even though it is a different type of vinegar, its storage is similar.
For most bottles of rice vinegar, you need to keep them in a dark, cool place.
Rice vinegar must be stored away from any kind of heat and light. You can put it in the pantry or any cupboard in the kitchen. Moreover, once the bottle has been opened, you must seal it tightly so it does not go bad.
Many people questions where vinegar should be stored after it has been opened.
In most cases, you need to read the label on the bottle and check to see what the manufacturer has recommended. Vinegar is usually a product that stays well on shelves, and as long as it is stored at room temperature, it does not go bad.
Some people recommend putting rice vinegar in the fridge after it has been opened.
This depends on what the label of the bottle says.
How Long Does Vinegar Stay Fresh
Just like other varieties of vinegar available in the market, rice vinegar does not have any shelf life.
Usually, you will find a best-before date on the bottle. This is mainly because people trust food more when there is a date of expiry on it. We do not recommend trusting this date completely – it is only a rough estimate that points to how long the vinegar will stay fresh.
Sometimes known as rice wine vinegar, rice vinegar is a little sweet and less acidic when compared to other kinds of vinegar. Despite this, rice vinegar can last several years after its date of expiry.
That being said, given that rice vinegar isn’t as acidic as other vinegars on the market, it does not retain its flavor for too long.
For example, after five years of keeping it in your pantry, you might find that it tastes slightly different. If you are planning on storing it for longer, it is better to give it a spot in the fridge or purchase a smaller bottle.
Rice vinegar can last for more than ten years if stored in the refrigerator.
Don’t pay attention to whether it is opened or unopened – storing it in the refrigerator will increase its life. Yet, keep in mind that we only recommend this if you cannot tolerate the slightest change in rice vinegar flavor.
If you can, you can store it in your pantry indefinitely without worrying about it going bad.
How to Tell if Vinegar Has Gone Bad?
When you buy vinegar, notice its color.
There are many different colors of rice vinegar available in the market. Each color of vinegar has a different taste. Clear vinegar is the most common one, but you will also find brown and red shades of rice vinegar.
If you are not aware of the color of your rice vinegar when you initially got it, you will not be able to tell when it has changed color. When vinegar changes its color, it shows that it has started to deteriorate.
The weirder the color, the weirder the vinegar taste will be.
Like other kinds of vinegar, rice vinegar does not go too bad. In fact, it will always be safe to consume. If you find that the color is extremely different or it smells rotten, you should probably throw it out.
When rice vinegar has been stored for too long, some changes can take place. Hence, before using rice vinegar in your dishes, try to taste it before.
Tips to Store Rice Vinegar
- Rice vinegar is best stored in the pantry if it has not been opened. It can be stored in the pantry even after it has been opened.
- If you do not have a pantry, you can store your rice vinegar on any dry shelf or cabinet as long as it is away from direct heat and sunlight.
- Rice vinegar should only be stored in plastic that is safe for food, stainless steel, wood, or glass containers. Never store vinegar in metals like brass, iron, copper, or aluminum.
- Once your bottle of rice vinegar has been opened, make sure to shut it tightly.
- When your vinegar is close to its expiry date, pop it in the refrigerator. Moreover, if you plan on using vinegar for more than five years, store it in the refrigerator instead of the pantry.
- It is not necessary to freeze your vinegar. Freezing it will only water it down and reduce the acidic taste.
- If you plan on freezing the vinegar, use a safe container to put in the freezer. Glass can easily shatter inside the freezer, so avoid using it.
What Can Rice Vinegar Be Replaced With?
Rice vinegar is great to use as salad dressings or sauces in your sandwich.
If you cannot find rice vinegar in the market, you can always replace it with white wine vinegar. However, white wine vinegar is not as sweet, so you will have to add some sugar to make it taste like rice vinegar.
The key is adding ¼ teaspoon of sugar for every tablespoon of white wine vinegar that you use so that you can make it taste like rice vinegar.
Here are some other alternatives to rice vinegar:
1. Apple Cider Vinegar
If you cannot find rice vinegar, you will definitely be able to find apple cider vinegar and use that as an alternative.
Apple cider vinegar has a fruity and sweet taste that alleviates any dish if used correctly. There are many flavors and forms available for this vinegar, depending on what you are looking for.
Some kinds of apple cider vinegar include the “mother.”
This culture results from the process of fermentation. You will find some bits and pieces floating around inside this vinegar, making its texture hazy.
Apple cider vinegar has antioxidant, antifungal, and antibacterial properties (1).
2. Champagne Vinegar
Made from sparkling wine, champagne vinegar is crisp and light.
Its subtle flavor makes it the perfect replacement for rice vinegar. You can use it as a salad dressing or in foods as well. However, this vinegar is more costly.
Champagne vinegar tastes like grapes and is known for its health benefits.
Before including rice vinegar in your everyday routine, we recommend seeking medical advice because it is powerful.
When you add rice vinegar to any dish, you will notice its sour flavor.
Too much of this vinegar can cause tooth decay, so it should never be consumed without being dissolved. If you do not dissolve rice vinegar before consumption, it can weaken your teeth very quickly.
Even though rice vinegar is excellent and includes potassium, as well as other minerals, consuming too much of it may cause the body to reject potassium (2).
This can cause osteoporosis in the future.
That being said, consuming rice vinegar in standard doses is safe and healthy for most people.
In conclusion, rice vinegar does not need to be refrigerated.
You can store it in a dry, cool place such as a cabinet or pantry. As long as it is not exposed to direct sunlight or heat, it should be okay to consume.
But, if you plan on using your bottle of white vinegar for several years, you can put it in the refrigerator.
Also, if you feel like its color is changing, along with its taste, we recommend putting it in the fridge so that it does not change the taste of your food.
Over time, rice vinegar tends to become less potent, and if that is an issue for you, you should store it in the refrigerator.
Remember to note its color so that you can compare it later to ensure that it has stayed intact!