We all know that vinegar a.k.a sirka is derived from the French word ‘vinaigre’ and has been with us for ages now. Apart from adding a zest to our dishes, the world of preservation, flavouring, fermentation, etc. would have been incomplete without its presence. With its origin tracing back to around 3000 BC, the first vinegars were made from dates, figs and beer; and was used for cooking, medicinal purposes, mouthwashes, lotions, eye drops, etc.
It gained popularity for being the perfect agent for rinses, gargle, footbath, inhalation, bandages and was used in many other ways too. Did you know that besides the basic nature of giving a tart flavour, it also downsizes the fat levels in food? All about apple cider vinegar aiding weight loss. Also, vinegar vary in colour – from brown and deep red, black, yellow and even colourless! Here are some more facts about this wonder ingredient:
In the 19th century, ladies used to sniff vinegar to get rid of the devitalizing migraine. On the other hand, the house owners used to follow a practice of placing an open vinegar bottle near a sick person so that visitors or caretakers didn’t fall sick.
In the same era, there was a perfumery that specifically provided vinegar to kings and princes which was believed to give away a pleasant fragrance along with some refreshing properties.
White Vinegar also known as spirit vinegar is a versatile ingredient and very useful in ways more than just one. Earlier it was made by food fermentation of potato, sugar, beetroots, etc. However, now it is mostly made by the fermentation of ethanol.
Gives a perfect tangy flavour to pickles along with preserving them.
Can be used to clean stainless steel cookware, window blinds, unclog sinks.
Helps in removing carpet stains, restores the shine of leather furniture.
It is a sweet and dark vinegar made from unfermented grape juice. Tastes like syrup with a velvety texture and helps in balancing the rich flavours of foods like meat, poultry, fish, etc. Traditionally, balsamic vinegar should not be used during cooking as it can alter the tastes. So, it is mostly used in the end – as a drizzle over salads, grilled foods, etc.
If you wish to experiment something new, then give a distinctive touch to your Greek yogurt with a swirl of balsamic vinegar.
Make your own BBQ sauce with balsamic being the star ingredient.
As the name suggests, it is made from the sap of the flowers of coconut trees. It is white in appearance with a cloudy texture and a mild coconut fragrance. It is quite prevalent in Goa and some of the South Indian states too.
Use it to add sweetness to salad dressings, marinades, soups and warm dishes.
Is believed to be healthier than apple cider vinegar and also help in curbing weight. Tastes relatively less acidic than apple cider vinegar.
It also acts as a good hair conditioner. Soak a cotton ball with one-part coconut vinegar to three or more parts water. Please ensure that you do a patch test to check your skin suitability before complete application.
Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple Cider Vinegar is made by fermenting the sugar from apples and has many notable uses.
It acts as an all-purpose cleaner and can be used as a natural alternative to neutralize odour, as a deodorizing spray.
It has antibacterial properties which help in killing bacteria. Mix this vinegar with water and have it to soothe a sore throat. Wash fruits and vegetables with a mixture of cider vinegar and water.
Wish to reduce signs of ageing? Use one part of this vinegar with two parts of water and apply it on your skin with a help of a cotton pad.
The eggs can boil better if you add this vinegar in the water used for boiling.
Using the diluted version of this can help in treating dandruff.
Using it as a natural mouth wash can help the removal of bad breath. Remember only to use a considerably diluted version as the excessive quantity of vinegar can aid tooth decay.
Popularly used in South East Asian cuisine, this type is made from rice wine and is pale yellow in colour with a mild, sweet flavour. Also, it is less acidic in nature.
Rice wine vinegar gives a lift to savoury cocktails.
It is very commonly used in marinades, salad dressings and for pickling vegetables.
Chef Sanjeev Kapoor is the most celebrated face of Indian cuisine. He is Chef extraordinaire, runs a successful TV Channel FoodFood, hosted Khana Khazana cookery show on television for more than 17 years, author of 150+ best selling cookbooks, restaurateur and winner of several culinary awards. He is living his dream of making Indian cuisine the number one in the world and empowering women through power of cooking to become self sufficient. His recipe portal www.sanjeevkapoor.com is a complete cookery manual with a compendium of more than 10,000 tried & tested recipes, videos, articles, tips & trivia and a wealth of information on the art and craft of cooking in both English and Hindi.