Vinegar is one of the most versatile ingredients. It is characterized by its acidic taste and is known best for the pungent flavor it imparts to salads. For centuries, vinegar has been valued for its health benefits. Vinegar comes in many different tastes and colors and has a wide variety of uses beyond the salad bowl.
Adding a splash of an acidic ingredient like vinegar is an excellent way to brighten all types of salads and other dishes. There are so many varieties and each one has a distinct personality and flavor.
I reserve the standard white variety for cleaning uses, since it boasts a very pungent and sharp taste that can be overly assertive. It can be used for weed control and cleaning purposes.
My go-to vinegar is cider vinegar since it imparts a medium acidic taste while still tasting fruity and fresh.
Different vinegars impart a variety of flavors and can change the way that you prepare and enjoy your food. Feel free to experiment with different vinegars to find the ones that you enjoy most.
My pantry boasts a large variety of vinegars and here are some of my favorites:
Cider vinegar: Cider vinegar is fashioned from apples. This brownish clear vinegar stands up well to hardy salads and is the go-to ingredient in marinades. It is perfect for recipes like: Roasted Sweet Potato and Beet Salad, Cowboy Caviar: A Simple and Hearty Salad with Attitude and Simply the Best Marinade: A Science Lesson
White vinegar: White vinegar is assertive and clear. It is distilled from grain and can be used with sturdy greens. It has a very assertive flavor that sticks to the back of my throat, so I tend to reserve it for cleaning (When Crayons Must Learn Boundaries: Simple Ways to Clean Crayon Marks on Walls) and garden tasks like (At War with Weeds: A Homemade Non-Toxic Weed-Killer)
Wine vinegar: Wine vinegar comes in red and white varieties. Heinz manufactures an assortment of delicious wine vinegars that carry the o-u-p (kosher for Passover) certification year-round. This type of vinegar is light and delicious and can be used in dressings for a variety of light and pungent salads. Typically, wine vinegar comes in a shaker bottle and should be shaken sparingly directly on salad. Wine vinegar is perfect for recipes like Warm Zucchini-Mushroom Salad with Almonds and Sunflower Seeds and Etty’s Simple Basil-Dijon Vinaigrette
Rice vinegar: Rice vinegar is an excellent alternative to cider or white vinegar. I used it in a variety of Asian-inspired dishes. It combines perfectly with soy sauce and sesame oil. Try it is dishes like Individual Sushi Salads and Asian Red Cabbage Salad…Simple and Wow
Balsamic vinegar: Balsamic vinegar is one of my favorites, too. It is dark brown in color and imparts a sweet, syrupy flavor. Balsamic vinegar is not a tye of wine vinegar, but is rather made from grape pressings that have not been allowed to ferment. This vinegar imparts a very distinctive flavor and should be used sparingly, often just dotted onto salads, vegetable and protein dishes and fruit. This vinegar is delicious in Simple, Creamy and Perfect Homemade Balsamic Vinaigrette and Roasted Rainbow Skewers.