In addition to working wonders with cooking and baking, vinegar is useful in other ways. It can be used in food preservation and as a substitute ingredient in receipes. You even can make your own vinegar.
Cheese: Wrap leftover hard cheese in a cloth saturated with vinegar, then store in an airtight container. This will keep the cheese from molding or becoming too hard.
Fruits and vegetables: Freshen wilted vegetables such as spinach or lettuce by soaking them in 2 cups of water and 1 tablespoon of vinegar.
Nothing is more frustrating than when you are cooking and realize there is a missing ingredient. Vinegar came come to the rescue as a substitute.
Buttermilk: As a substitute for buttermilk, stir 1 tablespoon of vinegar into 1 cup of whole milk, and let it stand a few minutes. Then measure out the amount called for in the recipe.
Lemons and limes: Vinegar can be used in any recipe calling for lemon or lime juice. Use 1/2 teaspoon of vinegar for each teaspoon of lemon or lime juice.
Salt: Instead of salt, use vinegar as a seasoning for foods such as potatoes or other vegetables. Just sprinkle on lightly.
Wine: You can substitute vinegar for wine in any recipe if you mix it with water first. Mix a ratio of 1 part vinegar to 3 parts water, then use whatever amount your recipe calls for in place of the wine.
Making Vinegar from Scratch
You can have lots of fun making all different kinds of vinegars by using your favorite ingredients.
Apple cider vinegar: Plain apple cider can easily be made into apple cider vinegar if left to stand in an open bottle for about 5 weeks. The bottle should be kept at 70 degrees Fahrenheit. It will first become hard cider and then vinegar. Make instant apple cider vinegar by using plain apple cider. Just add brown sugar, molasses, or yeast, and watch it ferment.
Chili vinegar: Put 3 ounces of chopped chilies into 1 quart of vinegar, and store for 2 weeks in a capped bottle. Strain the liquid after 2 weeks. For a spicier, stronger vinegar, let chilies steep longer to taste.
Variation: Leave out the onion for a very light vinegar for fruit salads.
Variation: Use 1 quart red wine vinegar for a resulting vinegar that can be used in place of fresh garlic in most recipes. One teaspoon of the garlic vinegar will be equivalent to a small clove of garlic.
Hot pepper vinegar: Pour 1 pint vinegar into a clean bottle with cap, then add 1/2 ounce cayenne pepper to it. Let mixture sit for 2 weeks out of direct sunlight. Shake bottle about every other day. After 2 weeks, strain and pour into a separate clean bottle for use.
As you can see, you can do so many things with vinegar in the kitchen. So get cooking.
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