Did You Know
The French call Vinegar sour wine. Vinegar occurs from the fermentation of natural sugars to alcohol and then fermentation to vinegar.
Various Uses for Vinegar
Those who crave zesty food have used vinegar for centuries, and there are many uses for vinegar. White vinegar, apple cider vinegar, malt vinegar, red wine vinegar and Balsamic vinegar have been liberally sprinkled on salads, lavishly mixed into marinades, and indulged as a table condiment onto an array of foods from Texas Chile Con Carne to Britain’s own Fish and Chips. Various kinds of vinegar have been utilized in numerous ways including pickles and relishes, but vinegar can stand on its own right beside the ever-popular salt and pepper shakers. Vinegar’s appeal is universal and variations of it have been adapted all over the world. Since ancient times, it has been distilled from wine, fermented in cellars, encased in wood vats, and aged for decades.
The cherished standby is plain distilled white vinegar, the kind sold on every grocery store shelf in the United States. The taste of distilled white vinegar is more tart than any other vinegar. But when salt is added, the tartness subsides and the taste mellows. A simple and delicious way to use white vinegar is to peel a few fresh cucumbers and then thinly slice them afterwards. Take the liberty to add a few slices of onion, and then drench the cucumbers and onions with the white vinegar. Immediately afterwards, sprinkle a bit of salt on the cucumber slices, however much you like depending on your desired level of salt. Allow the white vinegar, cucumbers and onions to steep together for at least half an hour before serving. The white vinegar will seep into the cucumbers while the addition of the salt will draw out the liquid from the cucumbers. This reduces the tart taste of the white vinegar thus rendering a quite desirable dish.
There’s also apple cider vinegar. Apple cider vinegar is exactly what it implies, vinegar made from apple cider. The apple cider variety has a light apple flavor and is light brown in color. Apple cider vinegar isn’t as tart as white vinegar and is sweeter, and can also be used in the cucumber and onion recipe. There are also health benefits of apple cider vinegar with numerous books written about this subject.
The second use for vinegar, especially apple cider vinegar, is when making oil and vinegar salad dressing. Mix one quarter cup of apple cider vinegar to every one half cup of olive oil. Dress up the apple cider mixture with garlic powder and fresh herbs, including basil and parsley.
This apple cider salad dressing tastes better than any Italian Dressing purchased at the grocery store, is fresher, and can be mixed up as needed.
Balsamic Vinegar is the King of all Vinegars and is extremely dark in color. Most of the Balsamic Vinegars originate in Modena, a city in northern Italy. Balsamic vinegar is fermented twice and left to ferment for up to thirty years in a succession of different wooden flasks. This gives the Balsamic vinegars a delectable flavor. I also use Balsamic Vinegar when stirring up a salad dressing, as Balsamic Vinegar has a richer, smoother taste than apple cider vinegar or white vinegar. Balsamic Vinegar is my personal favorite of all vinegars.
A third way to use vinegar, either white, apple, or Balsamic, is to add it to your barbecue sauce, as it adds the needed “tang” that can transform a dull sauce into a memorable one. Just a tablespoon or so will be fine. Mix together ketchup, Worchestershire sauce, and garlic powder with a touch of vinegar. This makes a delicious barbecue sauce.
A fourth way to use vinegar is to do what the British do. The British have traditionally used malt vinegar as a compliment to fried fish. Malt vinegar uses malted barley. Malt vinegar is left to mature for years, has a strong flavor, and is perfect for fish. Malt vinegar can also be purchased at your local supermarket. Put the bottle of malt vinegar on the table and let everyone sprinkle the malt vinegar on the top of their fish. Once you’ve tried this, you’ll never eat fish without malt vinegar again. Malt Vinegar is also delicious sprinkled on the french fries, the “chips” portion of fish and chips.
A fifth way vinegar can be used is sprinkled into Chile Con Carne. Simply take a quarter cup of apple cider vinegar and mix it with a bit of salt and chile powder. Shake this mixture, put it in a shaker bottle, and put it on the table, alongside the salt and pepper. Each of your guests can sprinkle this mixture into their chile con carne, and it will add the extra “bite” that makes Chile Con Carne delicious.
A sixth use for vinegar is for marinating meat as it aids in breaking down the fibrous strands in the meat. It doesn’t matter if your base for the marinade is ketchup, soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, or even a traditional sauce like Heinz 57 of A-1 as, a tablespoon or two of apple or Balsamic vinegar along with a dash of garlic powder will render it delicious. Allow the meat to marinade in the mixture for at least two hours before grilling and your meat will be juicy and tender.
Red wine vinegar is usually a red color and has an interesting sweet, yet tart, flavor. If you’re on a low-carb diet, red wine vinegar also has very few carbs.
The uses for vinegar at the dinner table are endless, and the zest it brings to the meal can be immense.