Vinegar itself has its own flavor. It is tart, sour, and acidic, with a hint of fruit flavor, for vinegar that is made from fruit wines. Vinegar is used for cooking to lend its base flavor to the dish. So when we say flavored vinegars, it means an additional flavor is infused into vinegar. The original flavor of base vinegar broadens with the addition of a new ingredient, bringing an added flavor profile to vinegar.
Flavored vinegars are produced commercially, but you can also make flavored vinegars at home. This is easy and convenient.
Flavored Vinegar Trivia
- Vinegar came from the French vinaigre, which means sour wine.
- Vinegar is used not only for cooking and eating, it is also used for medicinal, agricultural, horticultural, and cleaning purposes.
- The pH level of vinegar is usually somewhere between 2 to 3.5.
- Hippocrates, the Father of Modern Medicine, prescribed vinegar mixed with honey to treat coughs and colds.
- The Bible made mention of using vinegar as a dip. The other time it was mentioned in the Bible was when Roman soldiers offered vinegar to Christ at the Crucifixion.
Flavored Vinegar Buying Guide
When buying flavored vinegar, read the label. If it says infused vinegar or seasoned vinegar, it is the same as flavored vinegar.
When you are in the store or browsing flavored vinegar to buy online, you’ll find different kinds of flavored vinegar – fruit-flavored vinegar (flavored with raspberries, cherries, lemons, raspberries, blueberries, figs, blood orange, pear, and other fruits), herb vinegar or herb-flavored vinegar (flavored with thyme, oregano, tarragon, garlic, basil, and many others), and spiced vinegar (flavored with ginger, cloves, chili peppers, onions, garlic). Artisanal flavored vinegar may also include vegetables and flowers as a flavoring.
Buying flavored vinegar comes with the risk that you get poor or low-quality vinegar. It is not uncommon that affordable or cheap flavored vinegar (sometimes, even the expensive bottles) is made from low-quality vinegar. “Most of these shops also have vinegars flavored with herbs and fruits. Unfortunately, many of the vinegars are often not only overpriced but made from distilled or lesser quality wine vinegars.” Oster wrote in the book.
Check the bottle for any signs of tampering or damage, especially the lid or cap. This should be sealed for safety and quality. Don’t buy a bottle of flavored vinegar with a broken or damaged seal.
Try to buy just one bottle at a time. This way, you don’t waste money in case you end up not liking what you just bought. If you do not have any preference, ask family and friends for recommendations. It also helps if you do some research online. Read the reviews and see if this can help you pick.
Flavored Vinegar Production & Farming in Texas
When did flavored vinegar become available in the US? There is no account providing verified details regarding this matter. Oster suggested that flavored vinegar was not yet mainstream or common in the US in general during the twentieth century, pointing out that “distilled white, cider, and cider-lookalike vinegar were the major alternatives available to consumers in the US for much of this century, but that has changed radically in the last several decades.”
You can find flavored vinegar stores and businesses in Texas. These are either commercial producers or artisanal shops involved in small-batch production. Specialty stores like Faraday’s Kitchen Store, located at The Shops at the Galleria in Bee Cave, Texas, sell flavored vinegar. GO TEXAN, Texas Department of Agriculture’s licensed marketing program for all things 100% made in Texas by Texans, sells Texas-made flavored vinegar. Infused Oils and Vinegars, a company based in Dallas, makes balsamic vinegar infused with different flavors, from apricot to ginger to jalapeno to dark chocolate. Other companies making flavored vinegar in Texas are Texas Hill Country Olive Company and Texas Olive Ranch. TexasFood.com and other Texas-based e-commerce are selling and shipping flavored vinegar all across Texas and worldwide.
Pesticides, Additives, and Chemicals:
Many flavored vinegar companies brand their products as something that is made from all-natural ingredients. One of the ingredients you’ll find on the label is natural flavors. Because it says “natural”, you’d think it comes from any of the ingredients you see there, but the truth is “natural flavors” is a processed ingredient. Another ingredient you may find in your flavored vinegar is food coloring.
Humans have been making and using vinegar for a long time. They are also familiar with the ingredients used to flavor vinegar. So it is very likely that there is flavored vinegar even during ancient times. There is no definitive historical account that details the beginnings of flavored vinegar. Books on food and cooking allow us to pin flavored vinegar to certain places during a specific point in time. According to Maggie Oster’s Herbal Vinegar: Flavored Vinegars, Mustards, Chutneys, Preserves, Conserves, Salsas, Cosmetic Uses, Household Tips, flavored vinegar is already a thing as far back as 4,000 years ago in the Mediterranean, pointing out that people here during this time already use herbs, spices, and fruits to flavor their vinegar.
Part of the European Renaissance era is the blossoming of the flavored vinegar industry. Food historians believe that flavored vinegar was a lucrative business in France during the Renaissance. The flavored vinegar at the time include those flavored with peppers, clovers, roses, fennel, and raspberries. France was producing an estimated 150 different kinds of scented and flavored vinegar.
How four thieves vinegar – a concoction now considered as an herbal remedy – came to be also helps us map the history of flavored vinegar. The legend of the four thieves vinegar took place in 18th century France at the height of the Bubonic Plague. Four French convicts were tasked with burying the people who died of the plague. People expect them to die just like the others, but they survived by drinking vinegar flavored with garlic. Another version of the story goes like this: a potion from a medicine woman made of red wine vinegar steeped with garlic. In places like New Orleans, people still make and use four thieves vinegar as part of their folk medicine.
Some flavored vinegar bottles are complex and carry the flavors of not just one or two but several ingredients. An example is the Baoning Vinegar. This flavored vinegar is from Sichuan Province, China. It is made from wheat bran, wheat and rice. The Baoning Vinegar is flavored with hawthorn, cinnamon, almonds, and the traditional Chinese medicine aromatic herb called fructus amomi. The Baoning Vinegar is commonly used in Sichuan cuisine.
In the Philippines, a popular flavored vinegar among Filipinos who like spicy food is spiced vinegar, which is typically flavored with chili peppers, onions, and garlic.
While there are companies all over the world that make flavored vinegar, it remains a small margin among vinegar consumers since many people still opt to buy ordinary vinegar and infuse it themselves. What we are certain of is that the practice of flavored vinegar is found in places where there is vinegar.
Flavored vinegar is sold in bottles (glass or plastic). Packaging contains important consumer information including what flavor is added to the vinegar (some examples are apple cinnamon, pomegranate, orange, pecan, passion fruit, herbs, etc.)
Enjoying Flavored Vinegar
There are many ways to enjoy flavored vinegar. The first and most common is eating food prepared and cooked using flavored vinegar. You also get to enjoy flavored vinegar as a dip. You can use flavored vinegar to make dipping sauces, spicy glaze, cream cheese dip, chicken salad, and vegetable salad recipes, vinaigrette, dressing, coleslaw, sauteed dish pasta, pork roast, grilled meat and vegetables, and many more.
There are many benefits to consuming flavored vinegar. You get to enjoy the health benefits of the ingredient(s) that add flavor to the vinegar (i.e. herbs, fruits, etc.) as well as the health benefits of vinegar itself.
The storage of flavored vinegar is similar to storing ordinary vinegar. Keep it at room temperature. Do not store it where it is under direct sunlight. The pantry or cabinet is an ideal storage location for flavored vinegar.
Make rosemary-flavored vinegar at home
A rosemary-flavored vinegar has many uses. You can use it to make salad dressing, or use it to marinate meat for grilling, roasting, or frying. You can also use rosemary-flavored vinegar to add flavor to pesto or hummus. A bottle of rosemary-flavored vinegar is also useful if you are planning to make sauces and dips. It is a great ingredient to use for a condiment recipe. You can also use this to make soups or if you are pickling vegetables. A shrub, a drink that has vinegar in it, will also taste great if you use rosemary-flavored vinegar.
Yield: This recipe makes 1 bottle of flavored vinegar
- 330ml of vinegar (or as much as your bottle can hold)
- 2 sprigs of fresh rosemary
- 3 strips of orange peel
- 3 cloves of garlic
Step 1. Pour the rice vinegar into the bottle.
Step 2. Add the sprigs of rosemary.
Step 3. Add the orange zest.
Step 4. Add the garlic cloves.
Step 5. Close the bottle firmly.
Step 6. Refrigerate for a minimum of one month to allow the vinegar to be infused with the flavors of rosemary, orange peel, and garlic.