Magic balsamic vinegar: types, properties, application
Balsamic vinegar is known as sweet and sour essence from grape must, aged in barrels (aka balsamic). This is the most refined seasoning that was ever produced in Italy.
The very first mention of balsamic vinegar dates back to the middle of the XI century, when the Margrave Boniface gave a barrel of balsamic to the future monarch Henry II.
Subsequently, such gifts became a tradition, they emphasized the high social status of donors and served as a dowry for girls to be extradited.
Types of balsamic vinegar
Today we can meet three kinds of balsamic.
Marking bottles "Aceto Balsamico Tradizionale di Modena" means that the product is produced according to the traditional recipes of the province of Modena, and the inscription "Aceto Balsamico Tradizionale di Reggio Emilia" indicates the belonging to Reggio nel Emilia.
- The consortium of producers is located only in two regions of Italy;
- Made exclusively from the grape variety Trebbiano and Lambrusco;
- Maturation occurs 12 and more years.
Balsamico, produced only in these two regions of Italy, has the right to be called traditional.
Cheaper than traditional
It includes all other variants of balsamic vinegar, when the production process is not controlled by the consortium. On the bottles you will see the following inscriptions: "Condimento grade balsamic vinegar", "Aceto Balsamico di Modena", "Balsamic Vinegar of Modena". For example, the Giusti family produced Aceto Balsamico Tradizionale di Modena (1605-1929), and was the official balsamic supplier for the royal court.
This category includes all the remaining varieties of balsamic, which for one reason or another do not deserve a certificate of the traditional. In this case, the essence is a wine vinegar with the addition of dyes, sweeteners and aromatic additives, with no exposure. Available to the consumer because of the low price.
Balsamico is widely used in the food industry and in the preparation of a wide variety of dishes. It is used as an additive in salads, soups, various sauces, unique marinades, spicy desserts.
Do not resort to its heat treatment, add to the final stage of cooking.
There is a belief that even a small amount of balsamic can change the taste of the dish beyond recognition, and the most inexpressive composition can become a culinary masterpiece.
Gourmet dishes, fruit salads and a dessert assortment are seasoned with balsamico of twelve-year-old aging, which is rightfully referred to delicacies.
Composition and production process
We can not boast, even today, with reliable knowledge of the composition of balsamic vinegar, indicating all its components and proportions. However, it is absolutely possible to say that it includes a large amount of glucose, polyphenols, fructose, antioxidants and various acids. It is generously filled with micro and macro elements: potassium, magnesium, calcium, sodium, phosphorus, iron, zinc, copper, manganese.
Even in the absence of the exact composition and proportions of balsamic, the technology of its operating time is not a special secret. The pressed grape juice is boiled to a syrupy consistency. In order to stimulate the fermentation process add wine vinegar, stand in attics. At the first stage, the essence is stored in oak barrels, and then they are successively replaced with ash, cherry, chestnut and mulberry barrels.
As evaporation, the contents are poured each time into a barrel of a smaller size, as a result of which the composition is filled with a complex aroma with a taste of wood of various varieties.
To balsamic vinegar was produced without a violation of technology and was considered traditional, this alternation should occur at least 12 times, and more sophisticated types of balsamic are aged about 50 years.
Application of balsamic vinegar
- When treating burns and open wounds, it is applied externally;
- When treating the throat – rinsing;
- To prevent hair loss;
- To improve the complexion when added to the cream;
- In cooking, especially in Italian cuisine, when preparing traditional dishes;
- As an additive in seafood.
Magic of Cooking
A basic dressing with balsamic vinegar can be prepared quickly and yourself. This is the most affordable option for refueling.
We take olive oil and pour balsamic into it. For one spoonful of balsamic vinegar, add 3 spoons of olive oil. This dressing is harmoniously and weighedly combined with salads, mainly from leaves: romano, iceberg, lettuce.
Seasoning from pesto with the addition of balsamic wine vinegar is distinguished by delicate delicacy and piquancy. In Italy they say that the proportions are mixed by eye: a couple of spoons of olive oil, one balsamic, one green pesto sauce.
Mix and mix this mixture with salad. Especially suitable for those who are on a diet or adore the Italian taste. This is the best way to decouple your body from mayonnaise.
Mustard-honey sauce with balsamico for salad preparation: olive oil – a quarter cup, balsamic vinegar, add half the olive oil, honey – not more than half a teaspoon, Dijon mustard – also half a spoon, chive, black pepper and salt taste. Thoroughly grind the garlic and mix with the rest of the ingredients, whilst stirring the mixture. Dressing for salad is ready.
For more information on the use of balsamic vinegar, see the video:
Selection and storage of balsamico
This issue must be moved with particular scrupulousness. If you want to buy balsamico only of good quality and with the appropriate endurance, you need to be very careful. This action does not suffer haste, there are no trifles in it.
The simplest and most obvious rule: do not skimp on buying, and the more significant your generosity, the higher the quality of the essence. However, you can become sad from this approach, given that balsamic with aging over 25 years can cost up to 1000 euro.
Therefore, a more compromise solution will be the golden mean. You can safely purchase vinegar in average prices (10-15 euro per bottle), and you are guaranteed to get a decent quality of the essence for acceptable money.
The main criteria for choosing and buying
- The privileged include balsamic with the abbreviation on the bottle AVTM. This marks the goods of all manufacturers of traditional vinegar from Modena;
- All variations made outside the province fall into the second category: Certified by ICEA and Controllo Autorizzata dal MiPAAF. Availability of the price and availability of such a product conceals in itself possible fakes and low quality. In order not to get trapped, carefully examine the consistency – it must be viscous and have a rich color;
- Often offer a more affordable product produced by Spain or Greece. The recommendations are the same: color and consistency;
- If you find on the label the letters AVM or ABRE, then you have in your hands products with exposure to five years, with the possible addition of natural dye;
- Balsamico should not have a waste value. We choose at an average price, not at the expense of the quality of the product;
- We carefully study the marking. The composition should not contain dyes, antioxidants and preservatives. Otherwise, you will get an industrial product with a doubtful taste;
- Must be made from 100% grape juice, with maximum acidity up to 6% (to study in detail the labels on the label);
- One of the main indicators is an extract, which by production technology should be more than three years (it is indicated on the bottle);
- If the balsamic is qualitative and belongs to the traditional class, it must necessarily have a confirmatory certificate (ICEA MIPAAF). The label will contain the inscription: Certified by ICEA and Controllo Autorizzata dal MiPAAF;
- We remember that throughout the territory of Italy the producers of traditional vinegar are necessarily certified;
- On the bottle you will find a distinctive sign of round shape yellow-blue
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Golden rules when choosing the original balsamic vinegar:
- Produced in Reggio Emilia (label red – 12 years, silver – 18 years, golden – over 25);
- Produced in Modena (beige cover – 12 years, golden – over 25 years);
- The cost of a young balsamic 100 gr. – up to 50 euro. If the exposure is more than 25 years – up to 75 euro;
- If you have a hypermarket near you, the likelihood that you will be able to find a traditional balsamic is quite high. Otherwise, you should try your luck by placing an order through the online store.
What can replace an expensive additive?
Having learned about the cost of balsamic vinegar, you are likely to be deterred by its high price. Do not be upset, because the original is a worthy replacement, which is used by cooks. All components are available and always at hand.
Cherries are separated from the bones and pressured. To the resulting mass, add all the remaining components, bring to a boil.
We keep it on low heat for up to half an hour. Let's cool down, pour into glassware, carefully close the lid and put it away in the refrigerator.
You can forget about the cherished vessel for several days, but not more than three. We extract the container with the treasured essence, carefully filter, pour into a beautiful bottle and put it back in the refrigerator.
Although this balsamic is different from the traditional composition of vinegar from Modena, you still warm the idea that you managed to touch one of the great secrets of cooking with your own hands.
For many years balsamic was prepared as a healing drug with anti-inflammatory and antiseptic effect. Lucretia Borgia repeatedly used it as a remedy in the form of balm, when the plague prevailed in Spain, and Giacomo Casanova found the use of balsamico as an aphrodisiac.
Mysterious balsamic vinegar will remain an unrecognized legend, which does not stop him from delighting us with his unique piquant taste.
We offer in the end to familiarize with the video story below:
We tried to cook at home at home according to the recipe. It turned out very tasty. Now we will use it on holidays and solemn days as a special seasoning. There is also the hope to really get away from buying store mayonnaise.