Vinegar 101

DSC_0009_editedA staple in pantries everywhere, vinegar has been used for thousands of years and was even mentioned in the Bible. Derived from the French word vinaigre (meaning sour or aged wine), vinegar can be used to enhance nearly all types of meals. In addition to its many culinary uses, it has health and everyday benefits.

How it’s made

Vinegar can be made from any fruit or from anything containing sugar. Typical varieties include white distilled, cider, wine (white and red), rice, balsamic, malt and sugar cane. Vinegar is made by two distinct biological processes, both the result of the action of harmless microorganisms (yeast and acetobacter) that turns sugars into acetic acid. Many foods involve some sort of bacteria in their production – whether it’s cheese, yogurt, wine, pickles or chocolate. The first process is called alcoholic fermentation and occurs when yeast change natural sugars to alcohol under controlled conditions. The second process, acetobacter converts the alcohol portion to acid. This is the acid fermentation that forms vinegar.

Types of vinegar

Rice: With a 4% acidity, rice vinegar is great for pickling, dressings, or seasoning sushi rice.
Balsamic: Made from the concentrated juice of white Trebbiano grapes and aged in casks, balsamic works well in glazes, reductions and marinades with its 6-8% acidity.
Apple Cider: With a 5% acidity, this one’s best for seasoning more subtle dishes, as an infusion, or drizzled over grain or bean salads.
Wine: With a 6-8% acidity, this vinegar adds a touch of umami, and works well wherever a stronger flavor is desired.
Coconut: Made from fermented coconut water or sap, coconut vinegar has a 4% acidity, and is perfect for a splash of brightness when making nut-based cream sauces or a stone fruit chutney.

Everyday Uses

Cleaning:

  • Carpet stain removal
  • Wash no-wax floors
  • Clean streakless windows
  • Removing water/alcohol marks on wood
  • Frozen vinegar cubes can be used to clean a garbage disposal
  • Ant deterrant
  • Fruit fly/gnat deterrant (Apple Cider)

Lawn/Garden:

  • Kill weeds (white distilled)
  • Kill grass on sidewalks/driveways
  • Neutralize garden lime

Culinary Uses

Marinades: Use to tenderize and flavor vegetables like mushrooms, zucchini and eggplant before grilling, along with fresh garlic, ginger and herbs.
Reductions: Reduce over medium heat until mixture coats the back of a spoon. Serve over fresh berries, or when plating an entrée or salad course.
Ceviche: Mix with oil, garlic and herbs, and toss with mushrooms or avocado for a refreshing twist. Serve with tortilla crisps.
Pickling: Add three parts vinegar to one part water to a small saucepan and bring to a boil, adding a splash of sweetener of your choice, a pinch of salt, and red chili flakes for extra spice.  Pour over cut produce and allow to sit for at least 30 minutes, or overnight in the refrigerator.Types:

Health Benefits

Unpasteurized and unfiltered vinegar is a natural probiotic and can be used to help the body break down fats. Unfiltered apple cider vinegar is used to treat sore throats and upset stomachs, as well as topically for some skin conditions; it is also a natural liver cleanser. In addition, vinegar can get digestive juices flowing and increase appetite, which makes it a great addition to starter courses like salads and chilled soups.

At Fresh ‘N Fit Cuisine, we use some variety of vinegar, in most of our dishes. From our various BBQ meals to our Balsamic Chicken with Roasted Vegetables on our Gluten Free menu. Try us out today and save 10% off your first order with promo code BLOG10!


 

Sources: Vegetarian Times, Versatile Vinegar

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