What is vinegar?
|Vinegar is basically fermented wine. You know how that forgotten bottle of red takes on a thin, shrill quality when you neglect to drink it in a timely fashion? It's on its way to becoming vinegar. (The French word for vinegar, vinaigre, literally means "sour wine.")|
Made since the Gallo-Roman era, vinegar gots its official stamp of approval when vinegarmaking was declared an official occupation in 1580 by Henri IV. It's a pretty simple process: vinegar is made using a bacterial process in which naturally fermented wine is converted into a weak acetic acid that lends vinegar its sour taste.
Vinegar quality depends on the quality of the ingredients from which it is made. There are many types of vinegar, which can be made from wine, spirits, Champagne, rice or honey. It can be infused with tarragon, raspberry and even rose petals.
Reference: The Vinegar Institute's FAQ
Recipe: Quick Pickled Cucumbers and Sweet Onions
Recipe: Balsamic Vinegar Sauce