Balsamic vinegar has grown in popularity. This kitchen ingredient has becoming more and more a staple for any professional or home chefs for many reasons. So if you’re curious, read on to find out all about balsamic vinegar and why it might just be the addition in your kitchen rack that you need.
Balsamic vinegar has been produced in Italy as far back as 900 years ago in Modena and Reggio. Not to be mistaken as wine vinegar, balsamic vinegar is made from white grape pressings that have never been fermented into wine.
Originally, balsamic vinegar was used as disinfectant and miracle cure for any illness, before finally popularly used as a food ingredient.
The Making/ Process
Using traditional Italian method, the production of balsamic vinegar is overseen from the beginning to end by a special certification agency.
Whole pressed white grapes are cooked over a direct flame until concentrated by roughly half, then left to ferment naturally for up to 3 weeks. Then it is matured and further concentrated for a minimum of 12 years in barrels or casks of different types of woods, such as chestnut, oak, mulberry and more. This explains why balsamic vinegar may take the complex flavor of the woods.
Aging & Grading
These aging casks is the key to the excellence of balsamic vinegar, as well as the packaging. These barrels too are never completely drained, because they’d be topped with more vinegar for further aging process. The vinegar gets thicker and more concentrated as it ages.
For this reason, it can be hard to determine the age of a bottle of balsamic vinegar. Traditional balsamics are then graded as :
- Affinato ( fine), about 12 year vintage with red cap.
- Vecchio ( old), about 15- 20 year vintage with silver cap
- Extra vecchio ( extra old), about 20-25 year vintage, with gold cap.
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Now that you know the complexity of its making, this explains why balsamic vinegar is different from regular vinegar. Here are a few things to note about its difference :
- Consists of 100% wine must.
- Must have been aged for at least 12 years
- Authentic balsamic vinegars come with a seal.
- No additives or preservatives
- Premium balsamic vinegars has a higher percentage, thicker consistency and sweeter
Several reasons why balsamic vinegar is healthy :
- Antibacterial and antiviral properties, good for treating infections and wounds.
- Contains powerful antioxidant ( polyphenols) which fight cell damage and boost immune system.
- Contains important minerals for bone health.
- Protect against heart disease, cancer and other inflammatory conditions.
- Boost digestive enzyme, thus improving metabolism.
- Help control diabetes by improving insulin sensitivity.
- Reduce alcohol level and frequency of headaches.
- May slow aging process
- Prevent anemia and fatigue.
How to Use
Balsamic vinegar is often used as salad dressing, but there are so many other ways to use it to let it truly shine.
Try these few tips below :
- Soup and sauces finishing, or other cooking.
- In braises dishes to give it a deep, rich and slightly sweet flavor.
- Thick balsamic vinegar can complement your dessert ( ice cream, pannacotta etc)
- To marinate meat or tofu
- In soda and cocktails.
- As palate cleanser
Buying The Best Balsamic Vinegar
Luxofood offers a range of flavorful Italian balsamic vinegar from minimum 12 years old to 25 years old. We carry only trusted and reputable import brands to guarantee the authenticity of our products.
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Head to Luxofood today for more than just excellent balsamic vinegar! Contact us for any help you might need and we’ll be happily at your assistance.