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6 Main Types of Vinegar for Cooking

Updated on October 30, 2012

How do you know which type of vinegar is best for your meal? If you're working off of a recipe then the recipe will tell you which type of vinegar to use. If you want to create your own culinary concoctions, though, then you need to know a bit more about the types of vinegars that are available to you. Let's take a look at the six main types of vinegar that you might use in cooking:

  1. Apple cider vinegar. This tangy vinegar is relatively popular due to the fact that it is believed to have a variety of different health benefits. It is used for a variety of health problems ranging from obesity to the common cold. Made from apples, this type of vinegar is a bit sweet although still has that strong vinegar taste. It is great as a salad dressing and I've always enjoyed putting it on my steamed vegetables (such as spinach).
  2. Balsamic vinegar. Growing in popularity over the years, this type of vinegar is very commonly called for in many recipes. It's probably best known as a healthy replacement for traditional salad dressings. However, it can also be used in surprising ways including being an ice cream topping! Balsamic vinegar is a great choice since it has a full flavor that is both sweet and tangy at the same time.
  3. Distilled white vinegar. This may be the most common type of vinegar that people have in their homes in America. This is due in large part to the fact that it's the least expensive vinegar available. It's not just used for cooking but also used for cleaning around the home! Unfortunately, it has a more pungent, less refined flavor than the other types of vinegar so it's not the best choice for the picky palette. Also, distilled white vinegar doesn't have the nutritional value that some of the other vinegars have. Although it isn't a top choice as a cooking ingredient, it does work well for pickling and canning which is something to keep in mind if you enjoy these culinary activities.
  4. Malt vinegar. If you're a fan of fish and chips then you're probably a fan of malt vinegar, a favorite type of vinegar in recipes made by the English. Unlike the many types of vinegars that are made from wine, malt vinegar is made from starches. It tends to have a stronger flavor than the other types of vinegar and so is loved by some and not so much by others.
  5. Red wine vinegar. This terrific vinegar is reported to have a variety of health benefits. It is a low-calorie, low-carb ingredient that some believe lowers cholesterol and reduces the risk of diabetes. It is a versatile type of vinegar that can be used in recipes ranging from salad dressings to red meat meals. It is good at bringing out the different flavors in other foods; you only need to use a little bit to get the great full taste of a good recipe.
  6. Rice vinegar. This type of vinegar is a common choice among people who choose to make a lot of Asian recipes in their kitchens. It is made from rice wine. Rice vinegar tends to be one of the mildest vinegars in terms of taste which makes it an appealing choice for recipes where you don't want the vinegar to become a primary flavor.


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    Vladimir 2 years ago

    Planning ahead is incredibly easy to do it takes me maybe 20 mineuts a week but the difference it makes to preparing and even buying meals is enormous.I live with my fiancé and we always used to just buy dinner on a night-by-night basis. We found ourselves eating far too much junk food and it was also costing us a small fortune! Since we've started planning our meals on a weekly basis, we've lost a lot of weight and are using the savings for a holiday!It's great to see that others are spruiking this advice too!

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    nontobeko 5 years ago

    what is the history and background of balsamic vinegar, white wine vinegar and wine vinegar