Your cart is currently empty!
Difference Between Balsamic and Vinegar
There are numerous varieties of vinegar, such as regular white, wine, balsamic, and apple cider vinegar, available in the market. They all have unique tastes and even diverse purposes!
These differences come from using varying raw materials in the production processes. The quality of these kinds of vinegar is influenced by their origin, the quality of the ingredients used, the duration for which they were fermented, and the method used to age them.
When particularly talking about balsamic and regular vinegar, we must realize that they are not created equally. Hence, when used in place of white, balsamic provides your dishes with a special, unique touch. Let’s take a look at the difference between balsamic and vinegar and understand what makes them unique from each other.
What is Balsamic Vinegar?
Balsamic vinegar is unfermented grape juice vinegar that is dark brown in color. It is well known for its peculiar, strong, complex flavors and sour aftertaste. Historically, only Reggio Emilia and Modena made balsamic vinegar, which was a trademark of the Emilia-Romagna area of Italy.
Balsamic vinegar has been proven to lower cholesterol levels and is rich in antioxidants. It is also anti-glycemic, which makes it a godsend for diabetics trying to control blood sugar. Acetic acid, a probiotic bacterium that helps to increase immunity and make you feel full, is its main active component.
How is Balsamic Vinegar Made?
There are two ways balsamic is usually produced:
1.) Traditional Balsamic Vinegar
The only ingredient used to make traditional balsamic vinegar is “grape must” (mosto in Italian). It is the sweet liquid of freshly squeezed grapes that is concentrated, fermented, and acidified for a longer period.
Traditional Modena Balsamic Vinegar (Aceto Balsamico Tradizionale di Modena DOP) and Traditional Reggio Emilia Balsamic Vinegar (Aceto Balsamico Tradizionale di Reggio Emilia DOP) are the two types of traditional. Both are known as mosto cotto, which is thick, glossy syrup. It is used after being aged for at least 12 years (invecchiato) and up to 25 years (extravecchio).
One of the most costly foods available today is Modena. Due to its fineness and refinement, it has earned the title “black gold.” The key requirements that allow it to be offered at a high price are the long processing time and the authentication of the organic raw materials used in its production.
2.) Commercial Balsamic Vinegar
Commercial balsamic vinegar, typically found in grocery stores, is blended with concentrated grape juice and wine vinegar to accelerate the acidification process. This vinegar normally ages in big oak barrels for two to three years. Combining grape must with wine vinegar allows producers to make large amounts of it much more quickly than they could with the traditional process.
It’s sweetness varies depending on the proportion of sweet grape must to tart wine vinegar. It might have a thin or syrupy consistency. They are usually less balanced and thinner but work well with products like balsamic glazes or dressings.
Uses of Balsamic Vinegar
- With prolonged slow cooking, balsamic imparts a nearly undetectable acidity and a level of complexity to braised meats that become sweeter and denser
- Balsamic is added during cooking to give meals a fiery taste and balance the rich flavor of the meat, poultry, and fish
- They are also used to give perfectly roasted vegetables an acidic flavor
- Often used in desserts to give them a tart twist, it is served with desserts like figs, strawberries, and peaches
- For a quick non-alcoholic drink, some people mix it with fruit-flavored seltzer water or soda. Combine it with gin, vodka, or other alcoholic beverages to make an adult beverage if you desire
- Balsamic vinaigrette is a simple yet delicious salad dressing everyone knows and loves. It is produced by mixing Balsamic Vinegar (1 part), Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO) (3 parts), sugar, and additional seasonings
A Little about White Vinegar
Regular vinegar, sometimes known as “distilled vinegar,” is a clear, mildly acidic liquid often produced by fermenting grain alcohol and is used for cooking and cleaning purposes. It is one of the most basic vinegar on the market and lacks any actual flavor or taste other than the typical bitter or sourness of acetic acid. The mellow, almost tasteless nature of the vinegar is usually added to accentuate rather than mask the natural flavors of food.
How is Vinegar Produced
White vinegar has only one form compared to balsamic, which has numerous varieties. The only variation that usually happens is in the acid’s concentration. The acetic acid is simply diluted with distilled water during the production process, creating an extremely acidic vinegar with a 4%–7% acid content.
The process starts when alcohol molecules undergo a chemical reaction with oxygen that effectively transforms them into acetic acid. This vinegar is much simpler to make than vinegar prepared from wine or other alcohol.
Additionally, it is easier to make in large quantities, more adaptable, and typically relatively affordable. Many businesses use leftover grain from other food processing operations, particularly the production of wheat flour and animal feed, to make white or distilled vinegar. It takes several months to produce white distilled vinegar.
Uses of White Vinegar
- It is frequently used in recipes to balance out sweet flavors in condiments, salad dressings, and marinades
- Due to its acidity, it is also a useful preservative and is frequently used for pickling vegetables or meat
- People use it for various purposes, such as clearing clogged drains, cleaning windows, and preventing lime and calcium buildup in equipment like coffee makers and tea kettles
- Pet owners frequently dilute vinegar to remove stains from pet accidents, and the smell of it frequently prevents cats from urinating
- When used in laundry, it can help brighten clothing colors
The Difference Between Balsamic and Vinegar Conclusion
In conclusion, while balsamic and regular vinegar have a few similarities, they are vastly different in terms of flavor and appearance. The difference between balsamic and vinegar also impacts the price point… While traditional balsamic is expensive and has a rich syrupy texture, standard vinegar is much more affordable and has a sharp, acidic taste. Ultimately it comes down to personal preference when deciding which one to use in a recipe. No matter which type you choose, both are versatile enough to be used for many different cooking and other applications.
Shop Our Line of Extra Virgin Olive Oils (EVOOs) & Balsamic Vinegars Below!