Does vinegar freeze? Commercial vinegar has a freezing point of about 28°F or -2°C, while its acidity means "self-preserving and does not need refrigeration. Vinegar is one of the most common things you'll find in most people's pantries. It's a very versatile liquid that you can put to many different uses.
You can use it for things like cooking, cleaning, and sanitizing, etc. Some people even drink a thimble-full of vinegar (usually apple cider vinegar)as a complementary remedy to alleviate arthritis. It's handy stuff to have around.
Of course, there are many different varieties of vinegar. I've already mentioned apple cider vinegar, but aside from the classic, malted barley vinegar, you can also get balsamic, red wine, white wine, and sherry vinegar - plus many more besides.
Does Vinegar Freeze?
A lot of people end up accumulating various types of vinegar, which sit on their pantry shelves for month after month, which leads you to wonder if whether you can freeze it. The short answer is yes, you can.
Any type of vinegar keeps for a long time. Some researchers claim it will keep indefinitely, but I have seen it go off eventually. Here's an interesting post on how to freeze foods from the National Center for Home Food Preservation.
Here's a video experiment on how quickly the vinegar freeze.
What temperature does vinegar freeze?
The freezing point of vinegar is 28°F or -2°C. Its freezing point is below that of water because of its acidity.
Does freezing decrease vinegar's acidity?
If you leave the vinegar in your pantry past the expiry date on the bottle, it will lose some of its acidity. It is because the acetic acid it contains begins to decompose.
Similarly, if vinegar is frozen for long periods, it will also lose some of its acidity and flavor. That's why it is recommended that you only use previously frozen vinegar for cooking, except when you're pickling something.
Okay, having accepted that vinegar will lose some of its flavors when frozen, let's now explain the steps to follow if you wish to go ahead.
Guides on how to freeze vinegar
First things first. Don't try to freeze vinegar in its bottle. Glass often shatters at sub-zero temperatures. Even if it doesn't, and you take it out of the freezer intact, it can break as it defrosts. It's best not to risk it. If you're interested, you can learn more about the science of freezing foods and what containers are best used for freezing foods.
- Pour it out of the bottle and into a rigid, or leak-proof container with an airtight lid.
- After pouring, allow one or two inches of space between the top of the liquid and the lid. It will ensure the vinegar has enough room to expand - and expand as it freezes, it will.
- Before putting the lid, drape some cling wrap across the top and down the container's sides before closing. It is a way of giving it an airtight seal. Also, seal the lid on with tape.
- If you keep the temperature at a steady 28°F, the vinegar's acidity will remain unchanged.
Here's a handy tip if you will only want to defrost your vinegar a little at a time. After all, there's only so much you can sprinkle on your fish and chips at a time!
To freeze vinegar in "bite-size-chunks, pour it into a segmented ice-cube tray. Here's how:
- Pour the vinegar into your ice-cube tray and put it into the freezer box of your refrigerator for 6 to 12 hours.
- Once frozen, cover the tray with cling wrap and transfer it to the freezer.
- If you want your ice-cube tray back again, snap the frozen cubes of vinegar out of the tray, place then into a resealable plastic container, pop the lid on, and put into the freezer. Wash the tray, and will be ready for its next task - whatever that might be.
Having successfully frozen your vinegar, at some stage, you will want to defrost it. This is how:
When using frozen vinegar for cooking, you do not have to defrost it. Just add it frozen as it is into your dish. But if you are going to be using it as part of a marinade or a dip, you will need to defrost it.
- To defrost vinegar for use in a marinade or a dip, simply take it out of the freezer and put it into the fridge. Leave it overnight to thaw.
- If you need it in a hurry, you can transfer as much frozen vinegar as you need into an airtight plastic container and immerse it into a bowl of tap water. It will only take a couple of hours to melt.
What happens when you freeze vinegar?
Before we get onto the subject, it's worth just reminding you that ordinarily, you don't have to freeze it to preserve it.
It is a self-preserving product. You ought to be able to leave it on your pantry shelf for years without it noted noticeably degrading unless, of course, you're a connoisseur. Do they have vinegar connoisseurs?
Acetic acid will decompose over time. This is one of the reasons that you might see vinegar discoloring if it's left on the pantry shelf for several years.
Discoloration does not indicate that the vinegar has gone off. All it means is that the potency and flavor of the acidity could be slightly impaired.
However, when vinegar is frozen, its acidity could get diluted. The freezing process adds extra moisture in the form of water. In effect, the acid is watered down.
If you choose to freeze vinegar, be aware of two things.
- Firstly, it won't be as strong as when you put into the freezer.
- Secondly, it won't be as strong as it would have been if you had left it sitting on your pantry shelf for a couple of years.
One of the key things to remember is that if you do freeze your vinegar, it might change the way you use it after it's frozen.
If you're using frozen vinegar for cooking, marinating, and preparing dressings, you will not be able to discern much difference in its taste or acidity.
But remember that we said earlier not to use it for pickling? It's because frozen vinegar may not be as potent as unfrozen; therefore, any resulting pickling may not be quite good.
The bottom line is that you shouldn't freeze it if you intend to use vinegar for pickling or perhaps for cleaning. Doing so may reduce its potency, thereby not giving you the desired results in either your pickling or cleaning.
What is vinegar?
It's probably fair to say that vinegar is one of the least understood products on the market. A lot of people never venture beyond using ordinary malt vinegar. However, if you're reading this article, you're almost certainly not one of them.
Basically, vinegar is acetic acid that contains some trace chemicals, and in some instances, other additives and additional flavorings.
The acetic acid that is the main constituent of vinegar, can be produced in several ways.
The most common way is by fermenting ethanol with various sugars. The many varieties of vinegar owe their existence to a variety of source materials.
Some of these were mentioned at the beginning of the article, but for the sake of clarity, the most popular vinegar types today are:
- Apple cider vinegar
- Balsamic vinegar
- Distilled vinegar
- Red wine vinegar
- Rice vinegar
- Traditional (malted barley) vinegar
- White vinegar
- White wine vinegar
Ordinarily, most of these kinds of vinegar function in the same way and can be interchanged with one another. However, some cooking recipes do call for particular types of vinegar, to cater for people with discerning palates More about the various types of vinegar and their uses later.
First, let's take a look at the shelf life of vinegar as a generic product.
Shelf life of vinegar
Some research carried out into the shelf life of vinegar suggests that is has a limitless shelf life - even after it has been opened.
Instead of chancing it, you might prefer to follow the "best by" dates and recommended storage options and usage times. When you look at recommendations from the Department of Agriculture, you'll see they give it two-year shelf life.
While it is undoubtedly true that, unopened or opened, vinegar can be kept for longer than many other foodstuffs, you may notice some changes in its appearance and would perhaps like to know what they could indicate.
Over time, vinegar can go from clear to cloudy. Its color can change, and sediment can start to build up at the bottom of the bottle. Although I prefer not to use it when this happens, the experts maintain that it doesn't mean your vinegar's gone bad. I leave the choice up to you.
28 ways you can use vinegar at home
Setting aside the ongoing debate about the shelf life of vinegar, there is one thing that cannot be refuted. Vinegar is extremely versatile.
Here are 28 ways that it can be used around the home.
1 As a window cleaner
If you mix equal parts of vinegar with water, it creates a sufficient window cleaning liquid. You simply apply the solution with a sponge and wipe it off with a squeegee.
How to do it:
Don't forget to wet the blade of the squeegee first to prevent it from skipping. The best type of vinegar to use for this is distilled white vinegar, and you can read more about this later.
2 For cleaning blinds
If your blinds are washable, distilled white vinegar is one of the components of an effective cleaning solution.
How to do it:
Mix half a cup with one cup of ammonia, ¼ cup of baking soda, and a gallon of warm water. Once you clean the blind, rinse it with clear tap-water.
3 As a cleaner for automatic coffee making machines
Distilled white vinegar is easy to use. To dissolve any residues of minerals and oily buildups in the machine, fill its reservoir with distilled white vinegar, and program the machine to run through its routine.
Once it's completed, the cycle refills the tank with tap water and runs the machine through its program once more. Don't forget to take note of the manufacturer's maintenance cleaning instructions.
4 Use as a weed killer.
No need to buy expensive weed-killer from the DIY store. Use white distilled vinegar instead. Simply pour the unadulterated liquid straight onto the unwanted patch of weeds. Reapply as and when necessary.
5 Use to maintain the freshness of cut flowers.
By adding two tablespoons of white vinegar, plus two tablespoons of sugar to the water in a 1-quart size flower vase, any cut flowers put into the vessel will stay fresher, longer.
If, after a few days, when the water begins to get a little cloudy, trim the stems of the flowers and change the water solution. You'll be amazed by how long the flowers stay fresh.
6 An alternative to floor wax
To use white distilled vinegar as a floor wax solution, mix half a cup with half a gallon of warm water. Apply with a mop and change the water when it gets dirty. It's rinse-free cleaning at its best.
7 for cleaning your microwave
How to do it? Mix a quarter of a cup of white distilled vinegar with one cup of water. Place the solution inside the microwave and bring it to the boil until steam forms on the microwave door window. Rinse away any residue with clean tap water.
8 Use as a hair rinse
For perfect healthy hair, once every three or four washes, rinse your hair clean with a solution of one to two tablespoons of vinegar (white distilled or apple cider are best) with one cup of water.
If you have greasy hair should use less vinegar and apply more to those with dry hair. After the vinegar rinse, do a second rinse with plain water, and your hair will be beautiful, silky, and shiny.
9 As a dish and glass cleaner
Adding 1 ½ to 2 cups of white distilled vinegar to the bottom of your dishwasher will spark clean dishes and glasses. Afterward, wash on the regular cycle using the same amount of detergent you usually use.
10 As a metal cleaner for brass copper and pewter
To easily remove tarnish from brass, copper, and pewter with the minimum of effort, apply a paste comprising one teaspoon of salt, half a cup of white distilled vinegar, and just enough flour to form the liquid into a paste.
After applying the paste to the metal, let it stand for 15 minutes. Rinse it off with clean water and polish the object with a dry, soft cloth.
11 Bathtub cleaner
You can use white distilled vinegar, baking soda, to remove the ring of grime from your bathtub. After rubbing into the grime, rinse down with clean tap water.
12 Shower door cleaner
You can prevent the buildup of soap scum on your shower doors by wiping them with a sponge that has been soaked in white distilled vinegar. You will get a rinse-free finish.
13 Clogged shower head
White distilled vinegar can be used to dissolve any mineral buildup in your showerhead. Pour a cup of white distilled vinegar into a plastic bag, suspend the bag and place the showerhead in the cleaning solution.
Let it soak overnight. Next morning remove the bag and run clean water through the showerhead. Any mineral buildup will have disappeared.
14 Sealing a cracked boiled egg
If you are boiling an egg, you notice that it has cracked, add a small amount of vinegar to the boiling water, and approximately two teaspoons per quart. This will prevent the white of the egg from leaking through the crack in the shell.
15 Cleaning pet pee from carpets
One of the great annoyances of having pet dogs and cats is that they sometimes pee on your carpets.
- To clean the mess, the first thing to do is to blot up as much of the pee as possible using paper towels.
- Be careful not to walk on the towels as that will only encourage the pee to get absorbed into the carpet.
- Before pouring any vinegar onto the carpet, test it for colorfastness in a place where any possible bleaching won't be noticed.
- If all is well, apply equal parts of white distilled vinegar and water to the area and work its magic for 10 minutes.
- Blot down the area with paper towels again. Apply a sprinkling of baking soda. This helps to negate any odors. After one hour, vacuum clean.
16 Removing auto bumper stickers
If some kind soul has blessed your automobile with a bumper sticker and you wish to remove it, you can do so by saturating the area with distilled white vinegar. The decal should peel off more or less immediately.
However, before you try this, it's a good idea to carry out a little test in an inconspicuous area of the automobile to make sure the paint is fast.
17 A paintbrush softener
If you're about to start a painting job in your home and pick up a paintbrush, it is stiff with paint from a previous job, only to find you have don't have a bespoke paint softener around, all is not lost.
Fill a pot with heated, white distilled vinegar, and put the head of the brush into the solution until it softens. Once soft, rinse it through with warm soapy water. Panic over.
18 Removing wine stains
Wine stains, especially if it's red wine. It can be challenging to remove, especially when spilled on cotton, cotton-polyester, or permanent-press fabrics.
It can be done if you treat the stain with white distilled vinegar within 24 hours. Attack the stain by sponging the vinegar directly onto the area in question until the stain disappears.
Once the stain has gone, launder the article according to the directions on the label.
19 Use to rinse wash clothes
If, after washing clothes, you discover a detergent residue, you can get rid of it by adding a cup of white distilled wine before the final rinse.
If the wash includes heavier blankets or quilts, add two cups before the final rinse.
20 Deodorants and antiperspirant stain remover
Wearing certain deodorants and antiperspirants can cause staining to any garments you happen to be wearing, in the underarm areas.
If after laundering, the stains are still there, don't machine dry. Instead, treat the stained area with white distilled vinegar, place the garments in sunlight, and dry.
21 A color fastener
To prevent colored fabrics from running during washing, soak them for a few minutes beforehand in white distilled vinegar.
22 Setting freshly dyed colors
To help the color to set fast during the dying process, add a cup of white distilled vinegar to the water you use for the final rinse.
23 Unclog your steam iron
In a similar way to dissolving the mineral residue in your showerhead, white distilled vinegar can be used to remove any mineral residue buildup in your steam iron.
All you need to do is to pour equal parts of white distilled vinegar and water into the iron's water reservoir. Activate the steam setting on the iron and let it steam for five minutes in an upright position.
When finished, unplug and allow the iron to cool. Lastly, empty the reservoir together with the dissolved minerals.
24 Removing the scorch marks from the bottom of your iron
The undersides of steam irons get scorched from time to time. Next time this happens, all you have to do to clean it is reach for the white distilled vinegar.
Once the iron has cooled down, wet the underside with vinegar and rub a little salt into it. Continue to rub until the scorch mark disappears.
25 Remove scorch marks from garments
To remove scorch marks from your garments, take a cloth and dip a corner of it into white vinegar. Then work the vinegar into the scorch stained area. Continue to dab and rub until the mark has gone, then wipe clean with a cloth dampened with clean water.
26 Use it as a kitchen sink deodorizer
If unpleasant smells arise from your kitchen sink drain, pour a cup of white distilled vinegar down the drain. If you do this on a regular weekly basis, you will prevent any reoccurrences.
27 Remove berry stains from hands
If you handle berries with your bare hands, your hands will stain. The stain does not wash off with soap and water.
Pour some vinegar on your hands and rub vigorously until the stain is washed out.
28 Rid your sleep apnea machine of calcium deposits
You can dissolve any deposits of calcium from the reservoir of your sleep apnea machine with hot vinegar.
How to do it:
Heat 1¾ cups of vinegar in the microwave and pour into the reservoir, Replace the reservoir's cap. Leave it for one hour before removing it. Always remember to check with the manufacturer's cleaning recommendations.
To round off, I will give you the low down on the most popular types of vinegar and the uses to which they can be put.
Popular types of vinegar
In recent years, natural health remedies have come back into fashion with a bang and the natural, remedial powers of vinegar, and in particular, apple cider vinegar, are legend.
So, let's start our look into the various vinegar with this one.
Apple cider vinegar
Most people use apple cider vinegar for making salad dressings and marinades. But some people drink a small amount every day to ease the pain of arthritis. A few brave folks drink it neat, like Bourbon, but the majority take their dose mixed with fruit juice or tea.
For me, the best apple cider vinegar on the market today is Braggs organic apple cider vinegar. It's called the "Mother of Vinegar" and with good reason too.
The key ingredient of all vinegar is acetic acid. The first vinegar to be produced was probably made from wine, hence the "vine" it the word vinegar. Over the centuries, vinegar has been made from many things, including malted barley and rice. Unsurprisingly, apple cider vinegar is made from apple juice.
People store apple cider vinegar as they would any vinegar, in the dark, cool places away from direct sunlight. Some people prefer to store it in their refrigerators, although this is not necessary. Even after opening, its shelf life is indefinite, but experts recommend that some vinegar be best consumed within two years.
Apple cider vinegar is one of the most regulated vinegar in terms of having an expiration date on its bottles.
But if you keep it beyond the recommended date and it goes cloudy, or sediment collects at the bottom of the bottle, a quick shake will sort it out, and as long as it doesn't smell off, it will be okay to use.
Like any vinegar, it can be frozen, although most people would frown on doing so.
You can make your apple cider vinegar If you do, make sure you seal the vinegar in its bottles tightly. Store it in your pantry as you would any vinegar, but I wouldn't recommend freezing it. It will lose some of its flavors.
White distilled vinegar
Sometimes called just white vinegar, white distilled vinegar is probably the most commonly used type. It certainly is in terms of its multifunctional purposes, as you can tell when you read through the various uses to which vinegar can be put above. It's the perfect variety for all of those cleaning and disinfecting tasks around the house.
Because of its popularity and its multifunctional use, you can buy in fairly large containers like Heinz made.
It is mixed with baking soda or sodium bicarbonate that it becomes beneficial as a cleaning agent. If you hear the term "ordinary or traditional vinegar," they are usually referring to this white distilled variety.
You can also freeze this type of vinegar. However, because it is not such a "connoisseur's vinegar," people just store it in a cool environment because any slight impairments to its flavor are hardly discernible.
Red wine vinegar
Red wine vinegar gets its name from the fact that it is fermented from real red wine. It's most commonly used in cooking and for making salad dressings. Courtesy of its red wine roots, it makes a delicious vinaigrette.
Like most other vinegar, red wine vinegar can be used for many household cleaning chores, although because of its color, you need to be careful to use or where you put it.
It follows the same principles in terms of storage and best use by dates as with other vinegar varieties. It is recommended, however, that once opened, you should continue to store it in your refrigerator. Like other vinegar, it can, of course, be frozen.