Vinegar, the most common dressing and natural preservative, for a vast variety of food products, was well known in ancient years, when it was used even as a beverage. It probably appeared together with the use of wine in about 6000 B.C. as it is a natural by-product of alcoholic fermentation.
The Ancient Greeks used vinegar widely in cooking and they were the first to discover the differences in the qualities of vinegar according to the place of origin. Today the vinegar is widely recognized as one of the most basic elements of Mediterranean diet, that guarantees good health and living.
The industrial production of vinegar with traditional methods is based upon the very simple and traditional principle of natural fermentation of grapes or in the case of balsamic vinegar from sun-dried Corinthian currants. After the fermentation process is over, the vinegar is ready for use or for maturation in oak barrels according to the final desired product. The maturation process softens the taste of the vinegar which then acquires a velvety taste, whilst maintaining its piquant tones and its excellent body, enhancing its color,.
With the natural fermentation the vinegar maintains all the micro-organisms both of the alcoholic fermentation as well as the acetification. It contains many micronutrients which are beneficial to our health, as opposed to vinegars that are produced industrially by methods of quick acetification. Vinegar is produced from many different sources. In the Mediterranean area vinegar is mainly associated with currants, grapes or wine.
• Cider vinegar or Apple vinegar is made from the two-fold fermentation of the juices of apples. Vinegar can be made from other fruits such as peaches and berries with the labels describing starting materials.
• Wine vinegar or Grape vinegar is made from the two-fold fermentation of the juice of grapes.
• Malt vinegar, made by the two-fold fermentation of barley malt or other cereals where starch has been converted to maltose.
• Sugar vinegar, made by the two-fold fermentation of solutions of sugar syrup or molasses.
• Spirit or distilled vinegar, made by the acetic fermentation of dilute distilled alcohol.
• Blended Vinegar made from a mixture of Spirit vinegar and Cider vinegar is considered a combination of the products that should be labeled with the product names in the order of predominance. It is also the product made by the two-fold fermentation of a mixture of alcohol and cider stock.
• Rice or Rice Wine vinegar is made by the two-fold fermentation of sugars from rice or a concentrate of rice without distillation. Seasoned rice or rice wine vinegars are made from rice with the “seasoning” ingredients noted on the label.
• Balsamic vinegar is an aromatic vinegar, made from white grapes, that is heated and aged in wooden barrels for several months to years.