Know Your Vinegar

Know Your Vinegar

Know Your Vinegar

Pickling season is here and it’s important to know about the various vinegars. Vinegar is usually made by oxidation of the alcohol in wine, cider, or malt. Vinegar provides the tart pucker flavor in pickles, but it also acts as a preservative. If a recipe calls for vinegar, it will most likely call for a particular type. If a recipe does not specify the type, use a vinegar that fits the recipe. White vinegar has a sharp flavor and is used for pickling and in recipes where a clean, strong taste is desired. Cider vinegar, made from apples, has a faint fruity flavor and is used in recipes where a slightly milder taste is preferred. You can replace white vinegar with cider vinegar in pickling recipes, as long as the cider vinegar has a 5% acidity level.

Since vinegar is very acidic, bacteria grow very poorly in it, or not at all. However, vinegar will still deteriorate if exposed to air and/or heat. Keep your vinegar capped and store it in a cool, dark, dry place. Vinegars can be flavored by adding slightly bruised herbs or fruit, heating the vinegar almost to body temperature, and sealing the bottle.

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