I use vinegar in my dressings and salads, and I wouldn't mind looking for the best method to ensure it lasts a lifetime. Does vinegar freeze? Here is the truth about it!
I know this seems like a hard question when asked, often because it is rare to see frozen vinegar, but the answer is, why not? I use vinegar is made of dilute acetic acid.
Pure acetic acid has a freezing point of 16 degrees Fahrenheit. The freezing point of vinegar is estimated to be 28 degrees Fahrenheit, and this will vary from one type of vinegar to the other depending on the flavorings.
While tackling this, it will not hurt to know a little background about vinegar, right. History suggests that vinegar dates back to ancient times.
Traces of it were found in Egyptian vases. To the Romans, it was used as an alcoholic beverage when mixed with water.
It is also said to have been used to treat and clean bodies.
Vinegar Comes in so Many Varieties
So many people do not realize that the term vinegar is just a broad word that encompasses so many types available in the market.
They come in different tastes and for different usage in food preparation. Let us have a look at a number of them.
Apple cider vinegar, distilled white vinegar, and balsamic vinegar are the most common types you will find lying around in a household kitchen. They are used for salad dressing.
Apple cider vinegar is mostly known for its health benefits. Studies suggest that it can be used to lower blood pressure, help with acne, and conditioning the hair.
Distilled white vinegar is mostly used in cleaning and gives the right result when mixed with baking soda.
Rice vinegar is uncommon and is usually sweeter and used in fish. There are also red wine and white wine vinegar, which are used in strong and light sauces, respectively.
White wine vinegar is mostly used in pickling while red wine is used in marinades. It is important to note that the less money you spend on a large quantity of vinegar; you are probably buying "cheap stuff" that you would rather use as a cleaning agent instead of in food.
Knowing and appreciating varieties of vinegar and their different uses will be an eye-opener.
Vinegar is Useful in so Many Ways
Firstly, it comes in handy while in the kitchen in different meal preparations. Secondly, it is widely used as a cleaning agent.
It removes stubborn stains, used to clean surfaces, toilets, kitchen equipment; it can remove clogged showerheads and so many other things.
It all depends on the ratio of mixing with water and baking soda for a good result. Once you master how to use it as a cleaning agent, you will notice that its benefits surpass its usage in cooking.
Is Vinegar Good for your Health?
I believe it has both its pros and cons. For starters, for those trying to avoid sodium, it is a suitable replacement for salt as it does not contain sodium. Most kinds of vinegar are also calorie-free.
On the other hand, for those with health problems like stomach ulcers, it is advisable to avoid as it can irritate the stomach lining leading to stomach inflammation.
It also tends to trigger acid reflux. That aside, we are here to tackle vinegar and freezing, so let us dig in.
What Happens when Vinegar Freezes?
Its shelf life is not known, but studies suggest that vinegar can keep for long without going bad, whether frozen or not. So it's not a must to store vinegar in the freezer, but when you do, just know that it is, however, said that when frozen, it tends to lose its acidity faster.
This is because it freezes, and then when you want to use it will have to melt it again, thus adding more moisture (water). This dilutes the acetic acid concentration.
Therefore, it is good to note that as much as vinegar does not expire, it loses some of its acidity. If you were to use it for salad dressing, you probably would not realize the taste difference.
But, if it was for a more robust sauce, dish like pickling, or used for extra strength cleaning, it will not give the same results.
What is the Best way to Freeze Vinegar?
The main goal when you want to freeze vinegar is to prevent any leaks. Vinegar freezes at 28 degrees Fahrenheit while water freezes at 32 degrees Fahrenheit.
Remember that when vinegar is poured on frozen water (ice), it melts it. Can you imagine freezing vinegar at the same time you have leaks, will you achieve your objective?
It is, therefore, crucial to put into consideration the type of container you want to freeze your vinegar in to prevent any leaks and bursts.
Here are the steps to follow:
- Identify a clean container of reasonable size that can hold the vinegar and leave allowance and has a tight seal/ lid and no crack.
- Pour the vinegar, and don't forget to leave enough allowance at the top. Liquids expand when frozen. If there is no extra space, the container can burst open.
- For extra caution to prevent any leaks, cover the container with a plastic bag first and then attach and seal with the lid and tape too for extra caution
- Put it in the freezer in a steady position and let it freeze till when needed.
However, do not forget the freezing point of vinegar and that the more freezing is done, the more acidity is lost. Therefore as you freeze, be sure to maintain the freezing point temperature and do not exceed.
This method has its cons too. Imagine you want to use a small portion of the frozen vinegar, yet you have a whole chunk sitting in the freezer!
For this reason, here are steps that you can also use to store your frozen vinegar in small portions for efficacy.
On a clean ice cube tray, pour your vinegar. Put it in the freezer and let it freeze.
Once done, pop them out and store them in an airtight plastic bag and return it to the freezer. Ensure that the plastic container is sealed to prevent any leaks.
Honestly, this saves you time and energy. When you want to use a small portion, you will just open the bag, take out what you need and seal the bag well and return the remaining.
How Long can Vinegar Stay on the Shelf?
The shelf life of vinegar or the expiry date is not known. As much as recommendations are written on the bottles concerning the expiry dates, it is just a guideline for you to enjoy the best results, and surpassing the times to continue using your vinegar will not cause any harm.
Vinegar itself is acidic, and thus, it is a self –preservative (for all types of vinegar). People have varied thoughts when it comes to time limits to get the best results.
Some say it should not go past six months; others say past two years, so it is hard to know which to follow, but as long as you are satisfied with the end product when using your vinegar, then go ahead and use your vinegar however long you want.
How Best Can you Store Vinegar
As mentioned earlier, it is a self-preservative, although caution should be taken when storing it.
If you have ever stored vinegar for more than a year, when taking it out, you will notice some discoloration of the mixture just because it has sat for long, but this should not bother you much as the usefulness has not been tampered with.
When storing vinegar, keep it away from direct sunlight. Put it either in a pantry or dark area.
Acetic acid decomposes over time, and this explains the discoloration that you might see if left for long. This does not make it go bad but just decreases in acidity.
That aside, as much as all bottles of vinegar can stay on the shelf indefinitely, apple cider vinegar tends to "spoil faster" compared to other kinds probably because it is fermented with apple juice.
It is generally stored in the pantry/ cabinet.
On the other hand, red wine vinegar once opened is recommended to store in the refrigerator for best results when using as opposed to in the kitchen cabinet.
You can however keep it in the cupboard, depending on your preference. Distilled white vinegar stays indefinitely in the pantry, and there is no need for storing in the refrigerator, though you can if you want to.
In summary, vinegar is a beneficial product that cannot go unappreciated in a household.
Apart from its usage as a cleaning agent and preparing varied dishes, studies suggest that some types of vinegar have a remarkable health impact like they contain antioxidants, promote heart health, and help out with acne problems. Everyone ought to own a bottle somewhere at home.