Vinegar is an amazing product, it can transform the taste of dishes, change the properties of foods, and is even addictive. How and where to use the basic types of vinegar – apple, wine, balsamic and rice – told us
Apple Cider Vinegar
One of the most readily available and familiar. It is made from apple cider, over-fermented apple juice and apple cakes.
But synthetic apple cider vinegar can also be found on the market. So make sure you read the label carefully when you buy it! A natural apple cider vinegar has a strength of 4-6 %. A synthetic apple cider vinegar has a strength of 9 %. In a bottle with a natural (unpasteurised) product there will be a natural sludge – harmless flakes of a brownish tint – after some time after bottling. This cannot be the case with synthetic ones; it is a “lifeless” solution. Finally, natural apple cider vinegar is considerably more expensive than synthetic vinegar – 1.5 times or more.
A rather popular way to lose weight is to sit on a vinegar diet. So for her synthetic apple cider vinegar is not suitable and can even harm your health. It is better to use homemade, see the recipe here.
Using apple cider vinegar
Apple cider vinegar is one of the mildest and sweetest in taste. It works well as a natural preservative in recipes for pickled vegetables of short shelf life (2-3 weeks), but it is not suitable for longer preservation – it is too weak. Therefore, when making marinades, do not dilute it with water and use a bite not lower than 5% strength. Apple cider vinegar is ideal for quick pickling of onions, asparagus, courgettes, cauliflower, broccoli, beetroot, carrots and dill. It can be used as a substitute for lemon juice in various soups or sauces, and it activates the baking soda in baked goods.
Apple cider vinegar is loved in the USA and is used extensively in BBQ sauces. For this purpose, the vinegar is mixed with ketchup, seasoned with salt, freshly ground black pepper and dried chili pepper flakes and served with grilled meats such as ribs. A good sauce can also be made from apple cider vinegar, tomato paste, mustard, pineapple chunks with sugar, salt and freshly ground black pepper. This sauce is great for sandwiches and burgers with braised pork and coleslaw.
Wine vinegar is widely used in wine-making countries (especially France). It is obtained by fermentation of grape wines or juices. The vinegar contains large quantities of esters, which give it a characteristic aroma and an intense flavor.
Wine vinegar can be white or red. Classic red wine vinegar is made from cabernet, merlot and malbec grapes.
White wine vinegar is made from white, dry wines. It is said to be milder in taste than red wine vinegar and is generally cheaper in price than red wine vinegar.
Using wine vinegar
Red wine vinegar is used mainly for cooking sauces, marinades and salad dressings. White vinegar is also used in various salad dressings and for meat dishes. In addition, if a little sugar is added to the white vinegar, it can be used as a substitute for the white wine in almost any sauce recipe.
Many chefs use a simple formula for salad dressings: 3 parts vegetable oil (usually olive oil) to 1 part vinegar. To this base, finely chopped shallots, spicy herbs, honey and Dijon mustard are added to taste.
Wine vinegar is best chosen when working with delicate and expensive products, such as marinating oily varieties of fish, or preparing dressings and sauces that include blue cheeses and grapes. The most famous oyster sauce is based on red wine vinegar and minced shallots.
Many people have heard of chimichurri sauce. It was invented in Argentina, and then the sauce, made with spicy fresh herbs, spread all over South America. It’s especially good on steaks and grilled beef. It consists of red wine vinegar, lots and lots of minced garlic and parsley, plus olive oil.
The most famous Balsamic Vinegar is made from white grapes with a high sugar content (usually Trebbiano), which grow in the area around the Italian town of Modena. After fermentation and evaporation the vinegar is placed in wooden casks, where it ages for 12 months to 12 years. The older the balsamic is, the more aromatic it is and thus the more expensive it is.
In Emilia-Romagna there are strict standards for the production of Balsamic Vinegar, which prescribe all the details of its production, right down to the shape of the bottle. The vinegar is called Aceto Balsamico Tradizionale di Modena (DOP, protected designation of origin). It is expensive: 200ml and upwards.
Traditional Modena balsamic sauce paired with parmesan
Cheaper versions are often made from wine vinegar with the addition of grape juice concentrate and coloring agents, making the production cheaper and quicker. Of course, such vinegar cannot be compared with the original, but there are good ones among budget-priced variants, too.
There are two criteria for choosing inexpensive balsamic vinegar. First: it’s better to buy a balsamic vinegar that was produced in Italy. Second: The fewer ingredients on the label after the wine bite and grape concentrate, the better. Another thing to pay attention to is the density of the product – it shouldn’t be liquid like water and shouldn’t be sticky and thick like honey. And, of course, taste. Even a budget variant should have a ripe grape aftertaste and be balanced – sweet and sour. The darker the vinegar, the sweeter it is.
Using balsamic vinegar
An expensive DOP vinegar is wise to use as a finishing touch when serving risotto, a cheese plate (definitely with Parmesan), seafood cream soup or panna cotta. And one of the easiest and most spectacular uses is to drizzle the strawberries with a mixture of balsamic vinegar and maple syrup.
A good budget vinegar is good enough for salad dressings. It goes well with tomatoes, pasta, carrots and grilled bell peppers. All it takes is a little vinegar to open up new flavors in tomato sauce or soup, scrambled eggs or ice cream, salad with arugula and goat cheese, or chicken breast baked in the oven. Vinegar is great with grilled meats such as steaks. It can also be used to make balsamic caramel which can be used as part of a dessert or as a decoration.
Marinade for lamb kebabs
Rice white vinegar, popular in Asian countries, is the result of fermenting glutinous rice. It is much more delicate than wine vinegar or apple cider vinegar and contains salt and sugar.
Use of rice vinegar
Rice vinegar is used in the preparation of rice for sushi and sashimi, as well as Japanese sunomono cucumber salad. For the salad, you need to mix rice vinegar, soy sauce and sugar and stir until the sugar has dissolved. If you like, you can add grated ginger, wakame seaweed or sesame oil to the mixture. Then dress the cucumbers with it.
In Asia, rice wine vinegar is used as a marinade for fish or to marinate meat or seafood, for example, before deep-frying.
Marinade for smashed cucumbers