What is the shelf life of Balsamic vinegar opened and unopened? A friend gave me an unopened bottle of expensive Balsamic vinegar. She said it had been in her pantry for almost a year and wasn't sure it was still good.
I use almost every time I cook -in the dressing for the salad or as seasoning or marinade, so it goes quick -- at 34dollars (on sale) small bottle that hurts. No experience keeping it open on shelf for that long. You could email the company @ website. Happy cooking!
Because of its acidity, balsamic vinegar (or for that matter any vinegar) does not need refrigeration. Its shelf life is indefinite unless it is corked and the cork rots. Otherwise it will be good indefinitely. I would not refrigerate. That said, the fermenting/aging process happens in the barrel and further flavor improvement once bottled will not happen.
I can't call what I come up with "balsamic" vinegar - but I make my own flavored vinegar. Starting with apple cider vinegar in a pint jar I add a little sugar and various flavorings like fresh cuttings of homegrown basil, thyme, and chives, and a clove of garlic. Each small batch is different, and I like to taste and experiment until I get a flavor I really like.
I let that jar sit at room temperature in the pantry for a week or two, then strain the flavored vinegar into an empty "balsamic" vinegar bottle. I like to use this on salads and sandwiches along with olive oil, and to my taste anyway it's just as good or better than some expensive vinegars. I never refrigerate this, and have never had a problem with it.
"I would love to have your recipe Ozark. I use balsamic vinegar in so many things."
Good. This is easy to make, but there's no recipe beyond what I said above. I start out by pouring apple cider vinegar into a jar - enough to fill my many-times refilled empty balsamic bottle. Then I dissolve in a little sugar to taste - get that slightly sweet-and-sour balance that store-bought "balsamic" vinegars have. Ya know - except for the very expensive ones that say they're actually cask-aged on the label, I think most of them are just flavored vinegars anyway.
Beyond that, experiment with adding herbs and letting them soak to your taste. I always use basil and thyme because I grow those. Maybe a little garlic, a little onion or chives, maybe a dash of seasoned salt. Just get it to where you enjoy the flavor, and I've found that's pretty easy.