The Quick Vinegar Process
A Traditional Condiment
Vinegar is a traditional condiment that is used in adding flavor to food. Vinegar is also used in improving the conserving quality of food products. Vinegar is produced from starch and sugars by acetous fermentation which is a purely biological process.
Vinegar when consumed contains about four to five percent acetic acid. Depending on the materials used in its manufacture, vinegar may have either a fruity, mild or bland flavor. Raw materials for making vinegar include oranges, bananas, pineapples, raspberry, date, peach, whey and so on. It was Pasteur who in 1864 who discovered that vinegar was produced by a bacteria mycoderma aceti which is available in the air.
Vinegar Products and Condiments
Quick Vinegar Process
But by 1823 Vinegar was being produced by the quick vinegar process. The quick vinegar process consist a series of upright wooden casks. Each wooden cask has a perforated false bottom and filled almost to the top with rough wooden shavings. There are holes drilled at the false bottom which allows air to be drawn up through the wooden shavings. On top of the cask is a wooden trough which dispenses small quantities of the mash intermittently over the shavings, trickling down over the filling material. And through the holes in the false bottom, the mash is transferred to the next casks. In each passing, the acidity is raised by about two per cent. The bacteria will settle on the wood shaving while the acidity is gradually raised.
Recipes for vinegars
Today, there are well established market for vinegar products and condiments. The market is continuously looking for new ideas. Recipes for spiced vinegars, sauces and pickles are well known and the methods of manufacture are no secret.
Examples of recipes with vinegar are as follows:
Ketchups - are based on ingredients such as mushroom, walnut and tomato. This is then laced with vinegar, spices and sugar.
Relishes which are thin sauces of Worcestershire type as different from thick sauces and other vinegar products. They are usually hot and highly spiced. In many cases they have sediments of fine fruit pulp.
Chutneys - will normally consist of mango fruit preparation with sugar, spices, and vinegars with the additional of tamarin or some other fruits. Other types of chutney are produced from red or green tomato, date, apple and honey.
Mixed pickles - are based on brined vegetables like cauliflower, broccoli, gherkin, and onion. These are pickled in salt solution, a little sugar is added and left to a lactic acid fermentation until equilibrium of about 8 per cent salt inside the vegetables is reached. Then they are packed in vinegar or as salt pickles. The acetic acid content should be about 3.5 per cent.
Piccalilli - are brined vegetables diced to small sizes and filled up with a thick cooked sauce of vinegar, sugar, spices and thickening agents.
Vinegar is therefore sold as table vinegar, processed into culinary products such as spiced vinegar, ketchup, relish, fruit sauce, savory sauce, mayonnaise, salad cream, chutney, brined vegetables, mixed pickles, piccalilli and other pickles.
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