Vinegar

Vinegar

By
From
Encyclopedia of Food and Cookery

Vinegar is the acid liquid obtained from various fruits and grains after alcoholic and acetous fermentation takes place. Thus wine vinegar is fermented from fresh wine, malt vinegar is made from malt liquor, cider vinegar from cider, and sweet and sour vinegars from rice wine. They vary greatly in strength and flavour according to the grain of fruit from which they are made.

Vinegar is an essential ingredient in salad dressings, mint and horseradish sauces, and can be used sparingly instead of lemon juice in hollandaise, béarnaise and mayonnaise sauces. Many marinades for meat and game contain vinegar (the acid has a tenderising effect), and it is used in pickling of all kinds – fruits, vegetables, meat, fish and eggs.

All vinegars are corrosive so when mixing pickles, or using marinades or any recipes containing vinegar, use utensils made of glass, earthenware, china, or stainless or enamelled steel.

Store vinegar in sterilised jars or bottles (see Jams).

Types of vinegar:

Wine vinegar: Wine vinegars can be red or white and are sometimes quite strong, but always have a delicious flavour. They can be diluted according to taste with the addition of a little red or white wine as appropriate. The best and purest wine vinegar probably comes from Orléans in France. Use white wine vinegar in mayonnaise and red or white in vinaigrette.

Balsamic vinegar: An aged reduction of sweet white grapes boiled to a syrup, produced in the regions of Modena and Reggio in Italy. The grapes are cooked very slowly in copper cauldrons until reduced by over 50%. The resulting ‘must’ is placed into wooden barrels and an older balsamic vinegar is added to assist in the acetification. Each year the vinegar is transferred to different wood barrels so that the vinegar can obtain some of the flavours of the different woods. The only approved woods are oak, cherry, chestnut, mulberry, acacia, juniper and ash. True aceto balsamic vinegar must be aged a minimum of 10 years. The better balsamic vinegars are aged 25–50 years (these balsamics are not to be poured, but used by the drop). Find a good-quality medium-priced one to use in your cooking. In the Middle Ages, it was used as a disinfectant and enjoyed a reputation as a miracle cure, good for everything from sore throats to labour pains.

Cider vinegar: This has a strong, distinctive flavour and is much sharper than wine vinegar. Makes an excellent vinaigrette to use with a fresh tomato salad.

Malt vinegar: A strong, dark vinegar made from malted barley. The colour does not necessarily denote the strength as it is sometimes coloured with caramel to varying degrees of brown. Use for pickling.

Distilled or white vinegar: Not as strong as malt vinegar; use for pickling when the vinegar needs to be clear to enhance the colour of the pickle.

Rice vinegar: Often used in Asian cooking especially in the Japanese dish sushi or vinegared rice. It has a sweet, delicate flavour.

Flavoured vinegars: Red or white vinegar and distilled white vinegar can be flavoured with spices, herbs, chillies or garlic. These are steeped in the vinegar for some days, and the liquid is then strained and decanted into sterilised bottles for use. Use flavoured vinegars for salad dressings, sauces and vinaigrettes.

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
see method for ingredients

Method

Tags:
Back to top
    No results found
    No more results
      No results found
      No more results
        No results found
        No more results
          No results found
          No more results
            No results found
            No more results
              No results found
              No more results
              Please start typing to begin your search
              We're sorry but we had trouble running your search. Please try again