Here on the VC Blog, we've talked about wine vinegars a lot.  We've discussed how to make delicious homemade red wine vinegar and white wine vinegar from those leftover bottles taking up space in your kitchen.  We've also talked about how to then take those tasty vinegars to make individual bottles of flavored vinegars that are equally great to use in the kitchen and to give as gifts. Now, maybe you've thought that making your own vinegars sounds fun and cost-effective.  Maybe you have a gallon or so of vinegar ingredients doing their thing in your pantry.  Maybe you've started to wonder: what am I going to do with all this vinegar?  Well, here are just a few ways you can use homemade vinegar in the kitchen:
  • Vinaigrette: In a few tablespoons of vinegar, dissolve salt (and, if you like, a little dijon mustard and/or minced garlic or shallots).  Slowly stream in olive oil to taste, only a few drops at a time at first, whisking all the while.  This is a tasty, healthy salad or veggie dressing.
  • A splash of vinegar in a sauce or glaze wakes up the flavors without adding salt or fat.
  • Vinegar is a great dieting tool--sprinkle it on foods to add taste at only 2 calories per tablespoon. Vinegar also dulls the appetite and gets rid of cravings for sweets.
  • Use vinegar as a marinade.  Vinegar, since it's acidic, breaks down tissue, making your meats super tender.  Splash some vinegar (and herbs, if you'd like) into a bag with your meat and let it hang out for a few hours or overnight.
  • If you get stains from fruit on your hands, remove by wiping with vinegar.
  • Love poached eggs but have a hard time keeping them from falling apart while cooking?  Add a splash of vinegar to a barely simmering pot--vinegar helps the whites coagulate.  Crack eggs into small individual bowls, and gently tip into the water one by one.  After 3 minutes or so, you'll have perfect poached eggs.
  • Use wine vinegar to deglaze a pan.  After browning meat in oil or butter, remove all but a tablespoon of fat.  Crank up the heat and pour in a splash of vinegar.  Boil and scrape away at the bottom of the pan to loosen all those tasty brown bits.  Add stock or even water, and finish with a pat of butter for a delicious and easy pan sauce.
  • Fish and chips!  Enough said.
  • Use in place of lemon.  (Both are intended to add acid to a dish.)  Add 1/4 teaspoon vinegar for a tablespoon of lemon juice.
  • Sprinkle wine vinegar and olive oil over a sub sandwich for a flavorful, healthy alternative to mayo and mustard.
  • Have white coffee cups stained from coffee or tea?  Wipe out with white vinegar to remove the stains.
  • Stinky kitchen?  Boil a quarter cup of white wine vinegar with a little water.  Let the smell circulate around the kitchen and it will remove smoky, fishy, or any other nasty smells.
  • Clean vegetables with 2 tablespoons of vinegar in a gallon of water.
  • Add a dash of vinegar to a canned soup or sauce to wake up the flavors and make them taste fresh.
There are dozens of uses for vinegars in your kitchen and the rest of your home. These are just a start....share your favorites in the comments!