All vinegar are 4 to 14% acetic acid. They are made in two stages. First, yeast or other molds are added to turn the natural sugars in the basic ingredients into alcohol. Then, bacteria are introduced to convert the alcohol into acetic acid.
Anything that can be turned into alcohol can become vinegar, and that means practically any fruit, many vegetables, molasses and honey, various grains such as rye and malted barley, rice, and even coconuts. Herbs, spices and fruits can be infused in the milder vinegar to produce herbal vinegars or flavored vinegars.
Different Kinds of Vinegar: Each vinegar type has its own taste characteristics which go well with certain kinds of food.
- Plain white (clear) distilled vinegar is the type used for making pickles and other condiments. It can be transformed into a flavored or gourmet vinegar simply by adding various herbs, spices, or fruits – for example, dill, tarragon, lemon, balm, mint, garlic, green peppercorns, chilies, etc.
- Balsamic Vinegar is rich, dark vinegar produced from a type of red wine. Use it on salads, in sauces, or drizzled over fresh fruit. The most prized – and expensive – varieties are aged 15 to 50 years.
- Cider vinegar is made from apples; this strong, clear, brown vinegar holds up well with pungent greens and is especially good in marinades. Once opened, an apple cider vinegar with at least 5% acidity does not need to be refrigerated and has a minimum shelf life of 5 years.
- Coconut vinegar is often made with a low 4% acetic acid content and has a unique musty flavor. These types of vinegar are mostly used in Thai and other Asian cooking.
- Malt vinegar is made from grain, especially barley. It has a strong hearty taste.
- Rice vinegar is produced originally in China and Japan. It is made from rice wine or sake and comes in three varieties, white, red and black.
- Sherry vinegar is smooth and mellow with a slight toasted almonds flavor and a balanced sweet and sour taste. This vinegar is aged in oak casks and often produced by the Solara system over a lengthy period of time.
- White wine vinegars can vary in color from white to pale gold and acid content from 5 to 7%. These types of vinegar are light flavored and like apple cider vinegar they go well on vegetable salads, seafood and poultry and they are a good base for making infused vinegars with various herbs, spices or fruits.
Health Benefits of Vinegar:
- Vinegar is used to preserve foods because its acidic composition slows or stops the action of bacteria which spoil food.
- Herbalists and naturopaths often recommend various vinegars to treat arthritis, indigestion, and other ailments. Some arthritis sufferers insist that a tonic of cider vinegar and honey alleviate joint pain.
- Vinegar has very little calories, so it’s an ideal alternative to fatty salad dressings. To reduce its acid bite, the vinegar can be mixed with orange juice or fruit syrup and a little oil.
- Vinegar is recommended for cleaning ulcerations and for treatment of sores.
- Vinegar is use as a first aid cure for jellyfish stings because vinegar deactivates the nematocysts.
- Vinegar is commonly recommended for treating nail fungus, head lice, and warts.
- Vinegar is also a dietary source of polyphenols. Ingestion of polyphenols by humans can help in reducing cancer risk.
- Vinegar ingestion was associated with a decreased risk for esophageal cancer.
- A mixture of apple cider vinegar and water, with a little honey, is an effective sore throat remedy.
- Apple cider vinegar helps in digestion. The slow digestion that comes with aging is usually because the stomach produces less digestive acid as we get older. Two tablespoons of cider vinegar in a glass of water, again, using a little honey as a sweetener can be sipped during meals or taken any time indigestion strikes.
- Vinegar can help relieve sunburned, dry skin and dry itchy skin. To do this put 1 tablespoon of vinegar to 1 cup of water then apply it directly to a clean skin.
- Vinegar can help people absorb calcium from their vegetables. It is usually useful to women, who generally have a hard time getting all the calcium their bodies need to keep bones strong and prevent the debilitating, bone-thinning disease osteoporosis.
- Apple cider vinegar can help regulate blood sugar; it is therefore beneficial for people with diabetes.
- The most amazing use for vinegar is this: when vinegar is swabbed on a woman’s cervix, cancerous cells turn white. Researchers in 15 different studies have shown that this simple approach is just about as reliable as formal Pap tests.
Caution: People who are allergic to molds may react to vinegar as well as to foods preserved with it. Symptoms include a tingling or itching sensation around the mouth, and possibly hive.