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Timeless Virtues of Vinegar

Posted by Jennifer Thornton on

Vinegar, like olive oil, is an ancient aliment which is enjoying a gourmet revival due to the gourmet vinegar options now available from around the world. Authentic Balsamic Vinegar of Modena from The Olive Tap offers a very luxurious and delectable vinegar option, which is steeped in tradition and culture. Balsamic Vinegar from Modena undergoes strict guidelines according to tradition and the terminology and true age are explained in this article from Rick Petrocelly.

A Spectrum of Vinegars: Substituting Balsamic, Wine, and Fruit Vinegars for More Common Vinegars

'Vinaigre', French for vinegar, literally translated means 'sour wine'. In wine vinegars, it is a result of the second fermentation; the first makes the wine, the second produces the vinegar. Vinegar contains acetic acid, which is produced by the acetobacter, or 'mother', present in the liquid. Traditionally barrel-aged using the 'Orleans' method, wine vinegars, which include red and white, champagne, and Sherry, tout a myriad of health benefits and clever uses. The full spectrum of vinegars is so varied, from rice and cider, to grain and much more; one may not realize how interchangeable they are in recipes and other clever uses. With so many elegant and gourmet vinegar options available, why not use them in place of a more common vinegar? The results, as featured below in the Lambrusco Shrub and vintage Vinegar Pie, are delightfully gourmet. We offer multiple everyday uses for our wide variety of vinegar offerings, but what about the timeless uses that have been forgotten in our modern era?

Historical Health Benefits

Vinegar has longed been prescribed for its health benefits dating back to Hippocrates and beyond. He advised a drink of vinegar and honey for a variety of ailments. This tradition continued throughout the centuries and drinking vinegar was hugely popular during American colonial times not only for its health benefits but as the ideal thirst quencher and was known as a Switchel. A Switchel, or Haymaker's punch, used Hippocrates basic recipe with either honey, sugar, or most often molasses as the only beverage appropriate for the hard-working hay maker laboring in the scorching sun. Another popular drinking vinegar was renowned for the same properties, as well as its ability to preserve fruits past their picking days. Shrub, which has its origins in the Arabic word 'to drink', has had many interpretations over the centuries, and consists primarily of fruit, sugar, and vinegar.

Drinking Vinegar

Shrubs were used in America's early days as a sort of syrup to be mixed with spirits, or more commonly, with water and even bicarbonate to make it fizz. This was seen as an ideal drink to promote temperance, which would 'cheer but not inebriate.' Shrubs are once again popular today and used in similar ways. However, the variety of vinegars we have to concoct these tantalizing tonics has elevated their depth and flavor to a whole new level. Exciting options includes 4 Leaf Balsamic Vinegar of ModenaChampagne Vinegar, and featured favorite Lambrusco Wine Vinegar whose slightly sweeter and denser than red wine vinegar characteristics add a richness to concoct a very unique Shrub. The Olive Tap Agretti Fruit Wine Vinegars are indeed very similar, as they combine grape must, aged wine vinegar and fresh fruit puree. Only the best fruit, selected for their sugar content and at the best ripening point, are used to marry the sweetness of the fruit and the pleasant tang of aged wine vinegar.

Balsamic Vinegar in Historical Recipes

Now there are some who like to drink their vinegar and eat it too! For those tenacious individuals, there is the Vintage Vinegar Pie which begins to appear in print in America around the mid-19th century. A pantry pie with very simple ingredients, one can imagine this resourceful dessert being concocted by the resolute pioneer women on the American frontier when there was just no fresh fruit available. Their vinegar, typically cider vinegar, would have given this pie its fruitiness and flavor, but today the vast vinegar options allow one to contrive a vinegar pie worthy to be served year round; such as with our Peach White Balsamic Vinegar.

More Clever Tips

Remember the following convenient uses for vinegar too!

--Use 1 tablespoon vinegar to 1 cup milk to transform into buttermilk.

--Add to boiling water to reduce pasta's stickiness.

--Add to boiling water to prevent eggs from cracking and makes peeling easier.

--Secret ingredient in perfect fluffy meringue.