Rice vinegar is a type of vinegar coming to us from Vietnam. There, it’s a fairly popular dressing and condiment for many different dishes, and some of those dishes would surprise you.
For example, did you know that rice vinegar can be used as a dressing for fries? It sounds weird, we agree. But once you try it, you will see how delicious it is – believe us, we tried it and we loved it!
Everyone who likes to cook some dishes from Eastern Asia must have rice vinegar in their kitchen. So, you were no different and went out to buy some.
In the aisle with Asian food, you saw some rice vinegar on sale and started thinking about stocking up on vinegar. Of course, there is the age-old problem – will you have enough time to finish it before it goes bad?
For starters, does rice vinegar even go bad? And if it does, how long does it last? How to store rice vinegar? For all the answers, read our article!
What Is Rice Vinegar Made Of?
Well, rice vinegar, like all kinds of vinegar, is made with a magic process called fermentation. In this case, vinegar is made by fermenting rice wine.
Rice wine is more commonly known as sake. The rice vinegar can also be made with fermentation starters and brown or red rice, without the rice wine.
This usually depends on the country where rice vinegar is made. The countries that traditionally produce rice vinegar are Japan, Vietnam, Korea, and China. The flavor varies from country to country, so let’s check out the differences:
|Japan||The mild and mellow flavor|
Colorless to pale yellow
Made from rice or sake lees
|China||Stronger taste than Japanese rice vinegar – deep and smoky|
Red, brown or black color
Made from red yeast rice or sorghum, peas, barley, bran, and chaff (usually black rice vinegar)
|Vietnam||Spicy and sour taste|
Made from brown rice
|Korea||Made with white or brown rice|
Made with fermentation starters or rice leesPale, yellow color
Compared export value of rice vinegar of Japan and China, in USD, 2016 – 2018
|2016||16.7 million||14.7 million|
|2017||20.5 million||16.3 million|
|2018||19.7 million||16.8 million|
Does Rice Vinegar Go Bad?
To get the answer to whether you should stock up on rice vinegar, you should know the simple answer to the question: does rice vinegar go bad?
And the answer is: rice vinegar does go bad. The fermentation process removes pathogens and bacteria. It’s virtually impossible to grow mold in rice vinegar because of the high acid content.
Rice vinegar doesn’t have an exact shelf life, it will stay good for a long, long time. The quality may start to degrade after a while, but it can go bad.
It’s common sense not to use rice vinegar that was produced a decade ago, even if it seems okay. Rice vinegar goes bad because of inadequate storage.
To make sure your rice vinegar is always peak quality, keep it according to the instructions on the label and the guidelines below. This way, your rice vinegar will always be fresh!
Let’s check out the nutritional value of 1 ounce of unseasoned rice vinegar:
|Nutrient||Value||Daily Value In %*|
Storage Tips And Tricks
To get the most out of your food, you must always store it correctly. Pristine storage will ensure your food items don’t go bad before their time. Who wants to be in the position to lose money because they have to throw out food? That’s right, nobody.
So, we know that rice vinegar can go bad if not stored well. Additionally, the quality may not be up to par if you’re not storing it according to the instructions.
Rice vinegar decaying in quality will not give enough flavor to the dish. In other words, it will not do the job you want it to do. Check out our article to find out if vanilla extract can go bad.
Well, storing rice vinegar is fairly easy. Unopened bottles can be stored at room temperature without worry it might affect the quality.
Make sure to choose a place away from a window or any sources of heat like air vents or radiators. The pantry works best, but kitchen cabinets work as well – just choose one away from the stove.
Once you open the bottle, you should follow the manufacturer’s instructions. Some state that the rice vinegar is fine at room temperature, but some say it should be left in the fridge.
Either way, follow the manufacturer’s recommendation for the best results. If you damaged the label and can’t check it anymore, just store it in the fridge after opening.
That’s the safest thing to do, anyway. One more thing: make sure that the bottle is tightly sealed after use!
Freezing Rice Vinegar
Many foods can last longer in the freezer but can rice vinegar?
We would certainly advise against freezing rice vinegar. The reason behind that is that freezing temperatures can affect the taste and make the flavor rather bland.
You will not be welcomed by the distinct flavor of rice vinegar once thawed, unfortunately, it will change. However, if you’re set on freezing rice vinegar, keep in mind these tips:
- Transfer the liquid into a freezer-safe, airtight container
- Leave overnight in the fridge to thaw.
The Shelf Life Of Rice Vinegar
Rice vinegar can go bad in specific situations, we have already concluded. Even the quality can be affected after a while. How long is that while?
To be fair, rice vinegar comes with a best-by or a best-before date printed on the label. What does that mean?
The best-by date is a manufacturer’s guarantee that the product in question will retain the same quality up to that date. After the specified date passes, the product will probably not go bad.
To be honest, the quality usually remains the same for quite some time, provided that the food item is stored correctly. The best-by should simply be taken as an estimate.
Rice vinegar will stay safe for around five years past the production date. That’s around three years past the best-by date if kept at room temperature.
If you want your rice vinegar to last more than that, you should store it in the refrigerator. There, it can stay for up to ten years. Do note that the quality can change after a decade, even in the fridge!
See Also: How Long Does Balsamic Vinegar Last?
How To Check If The Rice Vinegar Has Gone Bad
Unfortunately, rice vinegar can go bad, and it will usually go bad at the worst possible moment. On the other hand, proper storage will make sure that it doesn’t go bad anytime soon.
So, the first thing to do to check the wellness of your rice vinegar is to look at the liquid. Because of acidity, vinegar is not likely to grow mold or mildew, but it can happen. Also, any changes in the color are a sign that the vinegar has gone bad.
If you’re not sure about the state, even if the color is fine, a sniff test is a good tell-tale sign your rice vinegar is no longer good. If it smells rotten or just unpleasant, discard it!
The same thing applies if it tastes bad or off. The safest thing to do is throw it out!
However, if you notice that the liquid is cloudy, don’t be alarmed. As long as there are no changes in color, smell, or taste – it’s fine. Cloudiness appears because it’s stored away for a while, nothing else.
Never, under any circumstances, should you use rice vinegar that’s gone bad. Rice vinegar releases peroxides after it’s kept for a long time.
Peroxides are toxic compounds and they can give you food poisoning. Be careful and always check the state of your vinegar before you add it to meals!
Does Rice Vinegar Go Bad? – Conclusion
To conclude, rice vinegar can go bad, but there is a long window of time before that happens! If you want to stock up on rice vinegar – do it without any worries.
Rice vinegar is good for at least five years post-production. And if you store it in the fridge? Up to a decade!
Make sure to store rice vinegar in a dark, cool place. Freezing vinegar is not the greatest idea, but it can be done – just don’t use a glass container because they can shatter.
Furthermore, if you bought rice vinegar a long time ago, take a few moments before you use it to check it out. If it doesn’t look and smell good, throw it out.
If it’s good but a little cloudy, it’s still perfectly safe. Add it to your meal without any worries it will make you ill. Enjoy!