BC-COOKQA:CH – food (200 words)

Ask a cook

By Kathleen Purvis
McClatchy Newspapers
Q. If the seal is broken on red wine vinegar, how long will it keep? Should any vinegars be refrigerated?
A. Vinegar has been used for centuries as a way to preserve food. Even vinegar that has been opened has an almost indefinite shelf life. The high acidity makes it difficult for harmful bacteria to grow in it.
Over time, you may notice some changes, such as increased sediment at the bottom of the bottle, but that’s not dangerous. You can pour the vinegar through a coffee filter and rinse out the bottle if it bothers you.
You also might see a cloudy growth in the bottle. It’s a growth of cellulose and bacteria called Mother of Vinegar, and it can grow even in commercial vinegar if there is some sugar or alcohol present. It’s the starter used by vinegar makers to turn cider or wine into vinegar. It can be unsettling to look at, but you can filter the vinegar to get rid of it if you want.
There shouldn’t be any vinegar that would need to be refrigerated.

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