Oct 28, 2014

Balsamic Vinegar: The Condiment You Need In Your Kitchen

Balsamic vinegar is a wonderful ingredient to have in your kitchen. What it basically is, is a reduction made from grapes; though it is not wine vinegar at all, since the grape juice that is used in the process is unfermented. This condiment originated from Modena, a city in Italy. In fact, if the actual traditional process that was used in Modena is used today for its production, and it passes a strict quality test, then it will be known as the Tradizionale di Modena. It may be a bit difficult to lay your hands on this variety and it may also be expensive. They are great for flavoring meat and used in a variety of high-quality desserts.  

Today, the internet has many stores which sell this type of vinegar, but you should only shop from the ones that have a good reputation. Commercially available varieties are great for using in salad dressing, pastas, marinades and sauces.

Different ‘age groups’ of the balsamic vinegar
This vinegar gets aged during the production process and you can use it depending on the kind of time it has been aged.
3-5 years: This variety of balsamic vinegar is great for use in salad dressings, marinades, sauces, vegetables, breads, etc.

6-11 years: This variety is a lot more versatile because it has more intensity. Using it after you have made a sauce (drizzling a bit of it) will give the dish more flavor. You can also use it in pasta and risotto and even eat it with sandwich as a condiment.

12-150 years: Yes, that’s right. Balsamic vinegar actually gets aged for 150 years! And because it is full of flavor after being aged for so long, using this variety after you are done cooking is very important. This brings out all the complexity and flavors and gives it the opportunity to shine on its own. Other than using it for veal, steak, fish or chicken, it is so flavorful that it can actually be enjoyed on its own or with a little water!

Perhaps the simplest way of using this sweet and syrupy condiment is with olive oil when it is brushed on bread and eaten just like that. Since it is very low in calories, it is a great way of adding some flavor to a meal and yet not making it fatty. There are lots of ways in which you can use balsamic vinegar in your everyday cooking. For a weeknight dinner, using a reduction of it (just simmering it till it reduces) with pork chops is a great idea. Chicken also goes very well with this condiment. You can also try your hand at using it in your desserts. The syrupy taste can go a long way in balancing the flavors of your dessert. This is one condiment you can’t do without in your kitchen.

Author Bio:
Joana Hall is a freelance writer well known for her informative articles on food and recipes. Her recent write on balsamic vinegar is worth a read.  

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