Many vinegar types are primarily used in food preparation, particularly in pickling processes, vinaigrettes, and other salad dressings. It is also an ingredient in sauces, such as mustard, ketchup, and mayonnaise, as well as a stand-alone condiment.
Certain kinds of vinegar can be used as preservatives, cooking ingredients, and cleaning solutions. It is obtained through the fermentation of wine or cider.
Vinegars are an important element of my kitchen staples, and I’m always on the lookout for new and interesting vinegar types, particularly those infused with herbs and/or spices.
Wine vinegars may be made from white, red, or sherry wine or even champagne. They are preferred in French and Mediterranean cuisines.
Malt – Malt vinegar is produced from malted barley. It has a mild, sweet flavor and works well with fried foods.
Distilled – Distilled vinegar is made from grain alcohol. It is preferred for pickling and preserving and has a stronger vinegar flavor and higher acid content than other vinegar types.
Cider – Cider vinegar is produced from apple juice or cider. It has mild acidity and a fruity aroma.
Wine – A vinegar made from any wine; it has an acidity of approximately 6.5%.
Rice – Rice vinegar is a clear, slightly sweet product brewed from rice wine. It is useful in many dishes and has a clean flavor.
Flavored (Infused) – Flavored vinegars are traditional vinegar types in which herbs, fruits, spices or other foods are steeped to infuse their flavors. They are produced from wine or distilled vinegar, using any herb, spice, or fruit.
Long-term infused oils sit for a minimum of one year or longer before opening, in order to have a more concentrated, infused oil that is used similar to an essential oil, by the drop, rather than by the ounce as one would use a short-term infused oil. Long-term infused oils are prized for their vibrant colors, concentration, and use, with or without essential oils, as well as their long shelf life.
Balsamic – To make balsamic vinegar, red wine vinegar is aged in many different varieties of wooden barrels. The wood barrels are usually made of oak, cherry, locust, ash, mulberry or juniper, and the wine is stored for at least 4, but sometimes up to 50 years. The result is a dark reddish-brown vinegar and sweet flavor. Balsamic vinegar has a very high acid level, but the sweetness covers the tart flavor. It works great as a condiment or seasoning.
Note: Aside from being delicious when combined with the appropriate foods, infused vinegars often come in beautifully shaped bottles, and can present a breathtaking array of colors when lined up on a sunlit window sill. This alone makes infused vinegar one of the most popular vinegar types.