Monday, June 26, 2017

Vinegar's Many Uses: Tips for the kitchen and beyond

Vinegar is a kitchen staple. In its simple form, it is derived from wine that has gone bad (although a variety of different starters can be used). Though not seen widely in America, you can find vinegars made from such diverse items as kiwi fruit, sherry, rice wine, raisins, palm, sugar cane, beer, coconut, dates and apple cider. After the juice is made from the fruit or grain, it is exposed to acetic acid bacteria, usually in the form of a "mother", which convert the alcohol to vinegar, usually leaving the flavor of the original "wine" behind to flavor the vinegar. There are also the more celebrated vinegars like balsamic and East Asian Black.

For the purpose of this writing, I will focus on the use of simple white distilled vinegar as this is the most economical and easiest to find. Some of these tips will specify using apple cider vinegar, which is also very economical. Be aware that there are a couple different kinds of white vinegar- white distilled, cleaning vinegar and non edible cleaning vinegar. I use only regular white distilled vinegar. The difference between regular and "cleaning" is 1% of acidity. The non edible cleaning has not been refined pure enough for eating and for my needs has no purpose in my kitchen. It is also more expensive. Just stick with regular distilled white vinegar and you will have no worries and it is less expensive. Look for another post for ways to use more exotic vinegars like balsamic, rice wine and others.


  • Adding some vinegar to an almost used up container of mustard or ketchup can stretch it's use. Read here for more details on how to do this.
  • Add 1T of vinegar to the water when making hard boiled eggs to prevent a cracked egg from running out of the shell. Read more of this here.
  • Make your own salad dressing using a flavored vinegar and olive oil. Add herbs, garlic, shallots, mustard and minced vegetables to flavor.
  • When cooking fruit on the stove top, add 1T of vinegar to improve flavor.
  • When making mashed potatoes, add 1 T of vinegar to the potatoes after all the milk has been added, This help to keep the mashed potatoes white.
  • Add 1T of vinegar to tomato sauce or a tomato based soup to finish. This enhanced the flavor of the finished dish.
  • Improve the flavor of boiled ham by adding 1T  to the cooking water.
  • Add a new twist on the flavor of your next batch of hamburgers by adding 1-2 T  of garlic wine vinegar and 1/2 t mustard to the raw meat. Mix well and form into patties.
  • When baking homemade bread, remove the bread minutes before it has completed cooking. Brush the crust of the bread with vinegar and return to the oven. This will help to give the bread a nice golden brown crust.
  • Make your homemade bread rise better by adding 1T vinegar for every 2 1/2 cups of flour in the recipe. Reduce other liquids by the same amount of vinegar you added.
  • Make meringue fluffier by adding 1/2 t vinegar for every 3 egg whites. Add before beating the whites.
  • When poaching eggs, add a teaspoon of white wine vinegar to the water to keep the white intact.
  • Put beans, legumes or grains in a large pot with filtered water and add 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar per cup of water. This reduces phytic acid and make these foods easier to digest.
  • To keep frosting from sugaring add a drop of white distilled vinegar. It will also help keep white frosting shiny and prevent it from discoloring.
  • Add moistness and taste to any chocolate cake mix—homemade or from a box—with a spoonful of white distilled vinegar. Then bake as usual.
  • Make onion odors disappear from your hands by rubbing with white distilled vinegar.
  • Make pasta less sticky by adding a dash of white distilled vinegar to the water as it cooks.
  • Keep peeled potatoes from discoloring for short term use by covering them with cold water and a splash of vinegar
  • If you are short an egg for a recipe, replace it with a tablespoon of white wine vinegar. This will only work if there is another rising agent present such as baking powder, baking soda or self-rising flour
  • If you’ve added too much salt to a recipe, add a spoonful of white distilled vinegar and sugar to try correcting the taste.
  • Cut the overly sweet filling of your pies by adding 1t of vinegar to the filling.
  • For the perfect pie crust, add 1 teaspoon of apple cider vinegar to the mix.
  • Have a recipe that calls for buttermilk and you don't have any? Try this tip to substitute the buttermilk.
  • Clean your fresh fruits and vegetables with apple cider vinegar before eating.
  • Mix grated lemon or orange peel into white wine vinegar for a fresh citrus flavor.
  • Freshen wilted leafy veggies by soaking in a mixture of 2 cups cold water and 1T vinegar.
  • Add a splash of apple cider vinegar to rice water during cooking for fluffier rice.
  • Vinegar makes a great degreaser. Use it straight on greasy stove tops and wipe away the grease. Make a paste with baking soda if you need a cleaner with some abrasiveness to scrub a greasy pan.
    • Use a sponge soaked in straight vinegar to wipe down the gaskets of your refrigerator. It kills any mold and mildew and helps to degrease and clean the seals.
    • When finished cooking with fish or onions, place a small bowl with 1/4 cup of apple cider vinegar near the stove to eliminate any leftover smells
    • Wrapping a vinegar soaked cloth around a block of cheese and storing it in the fridge can help stop the growth of mold
    So how many of these uses are new to you and how many do you think you can incorporate into your life? 

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    1. WOW! great uses for vinegar! I usually add a little vinegar or baking soda to the water when hard-boiling eggs, and it helps make them easier to peel.
      I have never heard of using apple cider vinegar with beans to make them more easily digested! Will this also help with chile? I tend to use a lot of beans in my chile, so I wonder if I also use some apple cider vinegar, if it will make it less "gassy"???

    2. The vinegar helps to neutralize the proteins in the beans while they are cooking. This does not work with canned beans since they have already been cooked prior to canning.


    Got suggestions, comments or ideas? Let me know what's on your mind.