What is Vinegar?
A liquid in which the natural sugars are allowed to ferment into alcohol, and then a secondary fermentation occurs converting the alcohol to the final product – vinegar.
How is vinegar made?
Yeast is used to convert the natural sugars into alcohol and bacteria is introduced which changes the alcohol to vinegar. Once the alcohol is converted, the result is a product that contains a weak acetic acid – the “acidity” taste associated with vinegar. USDA rules state that to be called “vinegar” the liquid must have an acidity level of at least 4%.
What is the most common vinegar?
The most common vinegar is white household vinegar. It is more often than not produced in a laboratory by taking acetic acid and diluting it with water or by using grain ethanol. Although it’s great for cleaning around the house, it may be a little too strong for flavoring foods. The second most common form of vinegar is apple cider vinegar which can be used for dressings, marinades, and general use.
What is wine vinegar?
Wine vinegar is in fact made from wine. The quality of the wine will determine how complex and flavorful the vinegar is. By starting with a good wine, and then aging for a few more years, a great product can be produced that can pull out the sweetness of fruits and berries. Higher quality wine vinegars can be obtained from gourmet food stores, as most supermarket varieties (”red wine vinegar”) are of low commercial grade quality. To really get some great flavor try specific wine varietals such as Chardonnay, Cabernet, and Champagne vinegar.
What are some other types of vinegar?
Rice, Malt, Raisin, Beer, and Coconut vinegar are all specialty products that have gone through the dual fermentation process. Each has a distinct flavor and a specific purpose depending on the dish.