Vinegar: Types, Uses and Recipe Ideas
A splash of vinegar can enhance many dishes. Recipes for soups, stews, salads, chutneys and pasta can go from blah to wow! with just a dribble of the right type of vinegar.
Vinegar can counteract the pungent flavor of cabbage in slaws or enhance the sweetness of chutneys with the right balance of tartness. Other vinegars bring out the beautiful blend of flavors in cheeses and herbs, garden salads or appetizers.
What is vinegar made from?
Vinegar is made from fermented liquid and can be made from a variety of food products. The fermented base in vinegar usually comes from cider, beer or wine.
There are a vast variety of vinegars
A Few Vinegar Types
There are a nice variety of vinegars. Each vinegar will provide a different flavor due to the different ingredients and fermentation processes. Each type of vinegar serves a different purpose and has unique acidity levels.
Some vinegar types include:
- White Vinegar (distilled)
- Malt Vinegar
- Balsamic Vinegar
- Apple Cider Vinegar
- Red Wine Vinegar
- Sherry Vinegar
- Rice Vinegar
- Raspberry Vinegar
- Black Vinegar
White vinegar is made from grain alcohol and has a strong, harsh flavor. You will commonly find white vinegar in barbecue sauces and pickles. It is a common addition to boiling water and food dye during the Easter season. White vinegar is also a great cleanser in the kitchen and wash.
White vinegar tips:
- Add one tablespoon of white vinegar when marinading tough cuts of meat.
- Add a teaspoon of white vinegar to boiling water. Prevents pasta from being sticky.
- Basic creamy vinaigrette: 1 part heavy cream, 1 part white vinegar and 3 parts oil. Whisk, chill and serve.
- 1/2 a cup of vinegar in the wash will neutralize urine odors in sheets and other linens.
- Spray white vinegar on the underarms of shirts and blouses. Helps remove perspiration stains and deodorant residue.
- Microwave residue. Bring 1/2 a cup of white vinegar and 1/2 a cup of water to a boil in a microwave safe dish. The steam from the boiling water will loosen stubborn residue. Wipe clean.
- Grout. Spray full strength white vinegar on grout and let soak. Scrub clean with a brush and wipe clean.
Apple cider vinegar
Apple cider vinegar is made from apple juice. This particular vinegar is common in chutneys and can be added to fruit salsas. Apple cider vinegar is popular for its various health benefits. Including, promising studies supporting apple cider vinegar may help prevent obesity and diabetes.
Here are a few potential health benefits of apple cider vinegar (ACV):
- 2 tablespoons of ACV in the evening showed lower glucose readings upon rising.
- May reduce cholesterol levels.
- May lower blood pressure readings.
- Promising studies show AVC kills certain cancer cells.
- Helps induce satiety when consumed during dieting.
- Promotes clearer skin.
- May reduce indigestion.
Malt vinegar comes from the fermented liquid created by barley sprouts. The fermented liquid is maltose and basically becomes beer or ale. Malt vinegar is brown and has a somewhat nutty flavor. It is commonly used over fish and chips, cabbage and fried potatoes.
Malt vinegar is not a popular choice for salad dressings. Consider dipping fried potatoes into malt vinegar to enhance the flavor of the potato.
Balsamic vinegar comes from the Trebbianno, an Italian white grape. This type of vinegar is generally aged in wooden barrels for up to 20 years or more. Some commercial balsamic vinegars are aged for shorter periods and are not as expensive as the long term variety.
Balsamic vinegar is a great dressing for tomato dishes and salads.
A simple and beautiful salad.
- slice a vine ripened red tomato
- slice mozzarella cheese
- chop a sprig of fresh basil
Layer the tomatoes and mozzarella diagonally across a platter. Drizzle with olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Top with fresh basil. Delicious!
Red wine vinegar
Red wine vinegar is made from fermented red wine. It is usually aged in wooden barrels. Red wine vinegar is commonly used in a variety of salad dressings. It is also used in some gazpacho recipes as it brings out the garden flavors of the tomatoes and other ingredients.
Kalamata olive, mushroom and onion salad:
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 3 Tbsp red wine vinegar
- 2 Tbsp chopped fresh basil
- 1 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley
- 1 1/2 tsp minced garlic
- 1 tsp Dijon mustard
Whisk the above ingredients together. Place 3/4 cup pitted Kalamata olives, 3/4 cup sliced mushrooms and 3/4 cup sliced white onions in a bowl. Cover with whisked ingredients and fold until all of the items have been covered. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and chill for two hours. Stir occasionally. Serve cold as a side relish dish. (pimentos or red peppers may be added for color)
Sherry vinegar is created from fermented sherry. It has a strong, full flavor and is commonly used in soups, stews and sauces.
Sherry vinegar salad dressing: mix one part sherry vinegar to one part olive oil and one part Dijon mustard. Whisk and serve chilled over arugula.
What is rice vinegar?
Rice vinegar is made from fermented rice. It is a common ingredient in Chinese and Japanese cuisine. It compliments ginger and makes the perfect addition to slaws. It is also used as a dipping sauce.
Dumpling Dipping Sauce:
- 1/4 cup soy sauce
- 1 Tbsp rice wine vinegar
- 2 tsp sugar
- 1 minced garlic clove (single, not the full bulb)
- 2 Tbsp sesame oil
- 2 tsp chinese chile paste
Stir until blended and chill for one hour. Commonly served at room temperature in dipping bowls.
What is raspberry vinegar?
Raspberry vinegar is a favorite addition to salad dressings. Raspberry vinegar is made from fermented raspberry juice and is usually blended with salad oils to create the base for raspberry vinaigrette.
Simple raspberry vinaigrette recipe:
- 1/4 cup vegetable or canola oil
- 1/4 raspberry wine vinegar
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1 tsp Dijon mustard
- 1 dash of freshly ground black pepper
- a sprinkle of ground oregano
Whisk well and chill. Serve over organic baby greens for a rich flavor. Enhance with toppings such as almonds, pecans, feta and berries.
Black vinegar originates from western China and is made from malt and rice. Black vinegar is not as acidic as other varieties of vinegars. It is commonly used as a dipping sauce when blended with sesame oil and soy sauce. Black vinegar can be sweetened with sugar and steamed with bok choy. Black vinegar is also used as a substitute to balsamic vinegar in vinaigrette recipes.
10 Ways to Clean with Vinegar Video
© 2012 Marisa Hammond Olivares