Balsamic vinegar is a variety of vinegar from northern Italy and is characterized by its dark and has an intense flavor making it very popular with the culinary community and a mainstay in many kitchens.
This type of vinegar has absolutely boomed in recent years and it’s no wonder. It has a slightly sweet and tart flavor making it great for salad dressings, marinades for meats and vegetables, sauces, and the sweet side of things. Ever tried it with fruit? It’s amazing.
Balsamic vinegar has been made for nearly 900 years old and way back when it is thought to have been taken as a tonic of sorts. It is made from grape pressings that have not been allowed to ferment and make it to the wine stage of things.
They use two types of grapes in production: Trebbiano and Lambrusco. These are pressed and the “must” or juice is then boiled down until it has reached a specific sugar content and from there, the liquid is aged.
This includes spending 12 years or more in wood casks or kegs and believe it or not, some varieties are aged for 100 years or more. The general rule of thumb is that the older the balsamic vinegar the more intense and complex the flavor and the more expensive it is.
A little goes a long way when it comes to using and cooking with balsamic vinegar. It is packed with bold flavor and a light hand is needed especially for the older varieties.
Here are some great recipes using balsamic vinegar:
- Balsamic Reduction Sauce
- Slow Cooker Honey Balsamic Pulled Pork
- Balsamic Cherry Ham Glaze
- Peach Pizza
- Grilled Watermelon Steaks
What are the benefits of balsamic vinegar?
Balsamic vinegar is fat-free food, has no added sugar, and very few natural sugars. It has been proven to help lower cholesterol and, in some cases, stabilize blood pressure. There are also some that believe it is good for gut health as it contains natural strains of probiotic bacteria. (That is the good kind that aids in digestion and a healthy biome.)
How is balsamic vinegar different from regular vinegar?
This type tends to be more deeply and boldly flavored than other types of vinegar. It also has some sweet notes which make it great for all sorts of dishes.
Do you need to refrigerate balsamic vinegar?
Nope! All you need to do is store it in a cool place away from heat at room temperature.
Does balsamic vinegar go bad?
Like most things, yes, it will go bad. Luckily, it’s shelf life once the bottle has been opened is around 3 years. Keep in mind the bottom of the bottle may have a bit sediment in it. This is not an indication it has gone bad and it is simply a natural part of something that has been aged in this way.