The Real Reason There May Be Slime In Your Vinegar

As spring cleaning quickly approaches, you might be thinking it's time to toss out at least one of those three open bottles of vinegar you have spread throughout your kitchen. Between the apple cider vinegar stashed in the pantry shelf, the balsamic vinegar hiding behind the avocado oil on another, and the white wine vinegar somewhere in a cabinet, it seems like all the different kinds of vinegar might slowly be taking over your kitchen.

But as you momentarily stop to inspect the bottles, you might be thinking, "does vinegar expire?" Or better yet, if you happen to spot a weird blob of accumulated slime or jelly near the bottom of the bottle, you're not alone. Take a deep breath and avoid the freakout. This slime is actually quite common. Yes, it most certainly is bacteria, but it's the good kind! In fact, this type of bacteria is so good it actually went on to be named as no less than the "mother of vinegar." And if we know anything, it's that mother always knows best. (via Kitchn).

A little bacteria vinegar never hurt anyone

Although your first instinct might be to try to remove the slimy blob or just throw the bottle away entirely, let's hold back on such rash decisions. Instead, rest assured knowing that this slime is only a naturally occurring by-product that is found in most unfiltered or unpasteurized raw vinegar. The mother of vinegar is a result of the fermentation that produces the vinegar from wine. Yup, it's science in a bottle! To put it simply, the mother of vinegar bacteria feeds on the alcoholic liquids found in the vinegar. Those trace amounts of alcohol weren't completely fermented in the vinegar-making process and thus, the mother begins to form after years (via Does It Go Bad).

Admittedly, this isn't exactly the best thing to see in your bottle, but the bacteria are completely harmless. But just in case the lingering mother is pestering your cooking, removing it is definitely possible. Just grab a coffee filter or mesh strainer and simply filter your vinegar through it. If you're the DIY type, you can even hold on to the mother of vinegar and use it to start your own batch! Ultimately, there's no need to throw out your vinegar, whether you're using it for culinary purposes or even employing it as a household cleaner.