Vinegar: how it is made, types and how to use it in the kitchen. From wine, apple, rice, vinegar is an excellent preservative, and an essential ingredient in the preparation of marinades and dressings, vinaigrettes and pickles, being also necessary for the preparation of sushi rice. Vinegar is a liquid seasoning, obtained by fermentation of alcohols, which during this process, are transformed into acetic acid.
Today, new trends in the kitchen and the great variety of existing vinegars, make not only used for food preservation, or to make dressings rather, it is used as an ingredient in many culinary processes. Today we will talk about the different types of vinegar, its preparation and its uses in the kitchen.
Vinegar was used already in the time of ancient Rome, when the Romans diluted it mixed with water to use it as a drink, and they also used it pure as a preservative for food. Even in the famous book of Cayus Apicius De Re Co Maquinaria, there are already recipes in which vinegar is used.
How to make vinegar
Vinegar comes from the activity of bacteria Mycoderma aceti or acetic bacteria that achieve the transformation by fermentation of ethyl alcohol into acetic acid or vinegar. For this fermentation to take place, certain conditions of Ph or acidity, alcohol concentration, etc. are required.
In the process, which traditionally occurred spontaneously, the vinegar appeared when the wine became sour, itchy or went bad, a kind of veil was formed on the surface of the wine, which ended up turning into vinegar. That’s where its name comes from, since vinegar is an abbreviation or contraction of sour wine.
After the vinegar is made, there is another process similar to that of the aging of the wine, which is the curing, maturing and aromatizing vinegar, a process that can take many years in certain types of this ingredient.
How to make homemade vinegar
Usually you can make vinegar by letting some foods ferment -fruits, cereals, etc- in a wine base. You can also start with wine mixed with vinegar, or use the veil or mother vinegar to start the process, in a similar way to when yogurt is made by putting a little yogurt in a glass of milk and leaving it at room temperature so that ferment.
For example, we can make a fruit vinegar, cutting about 300 grams of these and adding 50 g of sugar. We put everything in one large glass container and we complete with a glass of wine and a liter of water, letting them ferment. To speed up the process, we can add a glass of fruit vinegar that we have made previously, or a little of the veil or vinegar mother that forms on the surface of other preparations, since this is how we introduce the bacteria Mycoderma aceti or by directly adding those necessary acetic bacteria that can be purchased in specialized stores.
The ingredients are mixed well to dissolve the sugar well and the jar is covered with a cheesecloth or gauze to prevent dirt or dust from entering and contact with insects and at the same time allow oxygen to enter. The container is left in a dark place for a month. Then it is stirred and left for another 3 to 4 weeks, at which time the peels and fruits will be at the bottom of the container and the characteristic smell of vinegar will be perceived. At the top of the container, we will see a a kind of whitish-gray veil or cream, which is the “mother“, which we can use in the future to make other vinegars. To finish the vinegar, it must be decanted and clarified.
Vinegar is normally associated with wine vinegar, but there are not only wine vinegars but there are also vinegars of other alcohols, fruit vinegars, cereals and vinegars made by fermentation of other products.
Among the most common vinegars, wine vinegar, sherry vinegar -a specialty among wine vinegars-, cider vinegar, rice vinegars or other cereals, Modena acetes or balsamic vinegars and vinegars derived from other fermentations with alcoholic content.
In addition to the above, it should be noted that vinegars once made can be flavor or season with aromatic herbs, spices and berries and other ingredients that achieve organoleptic nuances very interesting for cooks and diners.
Uses of vinegar in the kitchen
Faced with such a variety of possibilities, we may wonder which vinegar is best for cooking. In addition to some specific uses of certain types of vinegars, -for example the use of rice vinegar to make sushi or wine vinegar to dress salads-, vinegars in general can be used for making marinades, pickles and preserves, as well as for the preparation of sauces such as mustard and other cold sauces.
The vinegar It is also used in other sauces made by cooking ingredients by reducing. Thus this product is necessary for the elaborations of marinades, preserves, macerations, pickles, sweet and sour and pickles.
And if that was not enough, We also use it to deglaze the baking dishes in which we have cooked meats, to make sauces as common as hollandaise and bearnaise sauces and to prepare marinated or marinated fish. Also to make other recipes such as chutneys and in many other preparations.
Some recipes in which vinegar intervenes
Vinegar contests and tastings
In our country a International vinegar competition, organized by Vinavin, Association of friends and lovers of wine and vinegar, in collaboration with the Diputación de Córdoba, in which vinegars of all the indicated types participate, from many countries of the world that send their samples to participate.
The jury evaluates the different vinegars in a blind tasting, in its visual, olfactory and gustatory phases, taking into account its complexity, intensity and the presence or absence of defects that may affect its quality. In the last edition, more than 80 different vinegars were presented that the Jury tested and valued, choosing the best in the different categories.
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