Vinegar can be an essential ingredient in the kitchen. It’s useful for cooking as well as baking. Many professional chefs feel that vinegar is the key ingredient in salad dressings and marinades.  Plus distilled white vinegar has the unique ability to turn milk into buttermilk. There are 5 main types of vinegar.  Each has very distinct uses and benefits, so let’s take a look at each one.

Apple cider vinegar is a mild liquid that works great in a marinade for fish, chicken, and veggies. It’s reported to have many health benefits such as improving heart health by lowering cholesterol and blood pressure. Apple cider vinegar is also known for naturally relieving heartburn and helping with weight loss by creating a sense of fullness.

Wine vinegar is the base ingredient for many salad dressing. Red wine vinegar is perfect in a marinade for beef and pork, while white wine vinegar pairs well with fish and chicken. White wine vinegar can also be the brine for pickling vegetables.

Balsamic vinegar is the most widely distributed type of vinegar.  It’s one of the few kinds of vinegar that can stand alone as a salad dressing or marinade. However, it’s a very different type of liquid-based on how long it has been aged. The longer the aging process the thicker and sweeter the vinegar. The price of balsamic can vary dramatically based on how long it has been aged. This type of vinegar is pairs well when added with olive oil and a few spices. It makes a simple and delicious salad dressing. A nice aged balsamic is a delightful garnish or finishing touch for many entrees.

Rice vinegar has the lowest acidity level of the types of vinegar. It’s made from fermented rice wine and it’s ideal for Asian-inspired dishes. It is a sweeter and more mild flavor so it can be used in a variety of salad dressings, marinades, or sauces.

Distilled white vinegar is the strongest and sharpest vinegar. This is the type of vinegar that can transform one cup of milk into a buttermilk substitute with just one tablespoon. Distilled white vinegar has an unpleasant taste and a strong odor. If used in a recipe it only requires a small amount. The main use of distilled white vinegar is for cleaning. It makes an excellent natural cleaning solution when mixed with water at a one to one ratio. Distilled white vinegar is inexpensive and has a powerful ability to clean and demineralized coffeemakers along with many other small appliances.

It’s not uncommon for everyday cooks to have each type of vinegar in their pantry or refrigerator. Vinegar of all types has an extended shelf life and a powerful impact in many recipes.

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