Ever come across a food type that you’ve enjoyed an intimate moment of awe with an inability to put to words a perfect description for its amazing taste? Such is the case with Italian balsamic vinegar. As a condiment, balsamic vinegar wasn’t always given the respect it deserved in Italy. Sure, it was used as a preserving agent for its acidic quality alongside acetum apple cider vinegar, but never lauded alone. Now would be a good time to learn about balsamic vinegar and even buy the vinegar on sale.
How is Balsamic Vinegar Made?
Balsamic vinegar results from two types of fermentation: alcoholic and acetic. Alcoholic fermentation is a slow process of fermenting cooked grape juice, which leaves behind alcoholic content and some sugar. After this process, the second stage of fermentation takes place, wherein the alcohol that is created from the presence of yeast further turns into acetic acid. Then the amount of residual sugar is combined again with acetic acid, and this gives balsamic vinegar its special sweet-sour taste profile. Another factor of primal importance is noting that yeast and vinegar – almost antagonistic in nature are able to rise alongside to help develop balsamic vinegar.
- The grapes used for making balsamic vinegar are either ‘Trebbiano or Lambrusco’. They are picked while they are ripe and are crushed, pressed and passed through a sieve very gently. The juice remaining at the end of this process is then transferred into a large open jar.
- After which, all impurities are discarded from the juice, and it is simmered down in the perfect temperature 180 to 195 degrees F for about 42 hours. Temperature is controlled. Any higher than this, the sugar will start caramelizing and block off the process of fermentation that will result in an unpleasant tasting batch of balsamic vinegar.
- When the content of juice reduces down to its half, it is taken out of the vessel, cooled and then transferred into holding tanks for the process of fermentation. After which, it is put into barrels.
- It is absolutely necessary that wooden barrels be used as this helps enhance the flavour of balsamic vinegar. Many balsamic vinegar producers use a variety of types of wood such as; oak, chestnut, juniper, cherry and other fruitwoods such as mulberry as well. This is the entire storing process.
Health Benefits of Balsamic Vinegar
Sure most Italian food enthusiasts might assume that getting balsamic vinegar is just fancy and there’s not really a need for it. However, it’s not just a fancy element to add to your foods. They have so many health benefits that you should be aware of. Let us look at some of them.
- Aids in Fighting Cancer – The grapes used to produce balsamic vinegar have antioxidant properties, and vitamin C. This strengthens one’s immune system and helps fight cancer and other such infectious diseases or inflammations.
- Reduces the Risk of Heart Attacks – Balsamic vinegar contains low saturated fats and, thus reduces cholesterol levels, and because of the low-level sodium content, it supports a healthy heart and reduces high blood pressure.
- Control Diabetes – Many types of research show that consuming five teaspoons of balsamic vinegar in a day can help enhance insulin sensitivity.
- Natural Pain Reliever – During the ancient times, healers used balsamic vinegar to relieve pain from people’s bodies. They even used it to dress wounds and clean infections. They have anti-bacterial and anti-viral properties.
- Aids in Digestion – The presence of the substance, polyphenols in balsamic vinegar stimulates the activity of pepsin, which is a digestive enzyme that helps break down proteins. They also assist in the absorption of amino acids speedily, helping in the digestion process.