Different Types of Vinegar and Uses
Vinegar is a versatile ingredient in many dishes. It can cut the fattiness of a dish by balancing the flavors. It can also reduce the amount of salt that you put into the dish, thanks to its tangy taste. There are many varieties of vinegar that have a wide range of flavors. There are those that are mild for salads and bold for savory dishes. Learning the different types of vinegars can help you better understand how to use them in your cooking.
White Wine Vinegar
When it comes to making marinades, white wine vinegar is always a good choice. This variety is the result of fermenting white wine; hence, the name. The strength and quality of its flavor depend on the quality of the white wine that the manufacturer used. It has a milder taste than apple cider vinegar and distilled white vinegar. Because of this, many home cooks use it in the making of sauces and salad dressings. It is also good as a pickling brine. When cooking fish or chicken dishes that require vinegar, white wine vinegar is always a good choice. It is perfect for bringing out the natural sweetness of berries, melons, and other fruits.
Red Wine Vinegar
This is another type of wine-based vinegar made from the fermentation of red wine. Red wine vinegar has bolder flavors than white wine vinegar. Again, the flavor of the vinegar depends on the quality of the red wine. People use it to make sauces, salad dressings, and marinades. It is also ideal in recipes that call for slow cooking. Fans of pickled foods, like dill and cucumbers, can also use red wine vinegar in their recipes.
This type of vinegar comes from grape must. This is the juice of whole grapes that have been crushed fresh. It contains all parts of the fruit. This gives balsamic vinegar its distinct sweetness. It is a lot like wine. The longer the aging process, the sweeter is its flavor. Its consistency also becomes thicker and its color darker. Its price also goes up with age. Balsamic vinegar is best for almost any type of food. From marinades to salad dressings or as a topping on mozzarella cheese. Know that there is also such a thing as white balsamic. This is ideal for salads that require light-colored dressing.
Apple Cider Vinegar
Aside from the fact that health buffs tout it as the healthiest vinegar on the planet, apple cider vinegar also happens to be one of the best in cooking. It is a mild vinegar. What makes it quite unique is that it has a very distinct apple flavor. It is a good choice when marinating chicken or fish. Apple cider vinegar is great in the making of salad vinaigrette. ACV is also popular in making potato dishes, shrimp recipes, and meatloaf. Its non-culinary uses include wellness tonic, digestive aid, and hair rinse, among others.
This is almost similar to white wine vinegar. The only difference is that it comes from the fermentation of champagne. Many of these have a very faint flavor profile of the three grape varieties that are found in most champagnes. Champagne vinegar is one of the best ingredients as a dressing for pale greens. Since it has a very light flavor, it is also great on delicate fish and on chicken breasts. It also works well with braised pork. Its light tangy flavor is enough to elevate the flavor profile of pork.
The Japanese invented the rice vinegar. Being a rice-producing country, Japan turned to its number one staple to produce one of the world’s most iconic vinegars. It is one of the most important ingredients in the making of rice for sushi. It has a very delicate, clean, and mild flavor. This goes well with cloves and ginger. Rice vinegar is a staple in Asian stir fries as well as salads. It pairs well with tender vegetables and fruits. This vinegar comes in different colors. There are black, red, and brown. The original is clear or with a tinge of yellow.
Rice vinegar is to Japan as black vinegar is to China. This should not be difficult to remember. In China, they call this vinegar Chinkiang. It has a unique smoky, malty, and woody flavor that goes well with many traditional southern Chinese recipes. You may know it here in the US as a dipping sauce for your favorite dumplings. Some home cooks also use it as a marinade for meats. Black vinegar comes from the fermentation of glutinous rice. Some manufacturers also use sorghum. Others use a combination of these two ingredients, together with millet and wheat.
Britons love malt vinegar. It looks like a deep-brown ale. It starts with the germination of kernels of barley. The resulting ale or malt beverage undergoes fermentation to allow the vinegar to age. Its most popular use is in the making of fish and chips recipes. There are also those who use malt vinegar for making beans on toast. Others use the vinegar as a pickling solution because of its distinct malty flavor. There are cheaper versions of malt vinegar on the market. These comprise diluted acetic acid with caramel coloring.
Distilled White Vinegar
Some chefs call distilled white vinegar simply ‘white vinegar’. It contains at least 90 percent water and at least 5 percent acetic acid. It is one of the culinary world’s most versatile vinegars. This type of vinegar has a sharp and intense flavor. Because of its strong flavor, cooks only use a little amount of it in their recipes. It has other uses, though. Distilled white vinegar is perfect for making hard boiled eggs. Some cooks also use it to make their mashed potatoes retain their color. Homeowners use this vinegar as a general all-purpose cleaner because of its disinfectant properties.
These are some of the most common types of vinegars on the market. There are hundreds of others. Learning to differentiate them is crucial to choosing the right kind of vinegar for your recipe.