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The word vinegar is derived from the French, “vin aigre”, which, literally, means sour wine. I think we can all agree that’s an accurate description based on the pungent smell associated with all types of vinegar. Vinegar is a liquid consisting mainly of acetic acid and water. The acetic acid is produced by the fermentation of ethanol byacetic acid bacteria. TMI? Maybe, but the important part to remember is fermentation. All types of vinegar are fermented products.

Vinegar started out as mainly a condiment and preservative in the B.C. era and, historically, it has had a great variety of industrial, medical and domestic uses. Plain white vinegar is still used by some as a general household cleaner (ask Grandma), but vinegars of all types are most widely used as an ingredient.

Now, that you’re seeing vinegar in a whole new light, here are ideas to inspire you when discovering new ways to use this versatile liquid.

  1. Finish a dish: Drizzle balsamic vinegar over meat, poultry, or veggies to add color and added flavor.
  2. Deglaze a pan: In place of red or white wine, use red or white wine vinegar to release the yummy bits of food stuck to the bottom of a pan and create a simple sauce.
  3. Make refrigerator pickles: Use vinegar, water, and salt (sugar and spices are optional) to quick pickle fresh veggies.
  4. Bump up soup: Is your homemade soup or stew falling flat? Often, a few dashes of vinegar will bring it to life.
  5. Make dessert: Simmer two parts balsamic vinegar with one part honey until thick then let cool and drizzle over ice cream or fruit.
  6. Kitchen helper: For an easy way to get rid of fruit flies, fill a small dish with apple cider vinegar, plus a few drops of dishwashing soap.

Here are a few recipe ideas involving vinegar!

Slow Cooker Boneless Beef Short Ribs

Baked Almond-Crusted Flounder with Sesame Sugar Snap Peas and Zoodle Salad

Dill Pickles

Rosemary-Balsamic Roast Rack of Lamb 

Carolinas Sticky Vinegar Chicken

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