What is balsamic vinegar?
Balsamic vinegar originated in Italy and is now produced all over the world. Modern versions still include grape must (the sweet juice of freshly pressed grapes) or a similar sweetener, plus the addition of wine vinegar for an acidic tang.
Flavour experimentation has resulted in delicious new combinations, such as a caramelised aspect, or a citrus zest, such as lemon or lime, among others. Ultimately, the taste will vary based on the grapes, and some balsamic vinegars will be tarter, whilst others may be sweeter or more savoury.
How to get the best out of balsamic vinegar:
As balsamic is a concentrate, you can use as much or little as you like to enhance a range of dishes. When stored in a cupboard away from heat and light it has a long shelf life, but if you’re like us, you’ll already be on to your next bottle before then!
Where and how can you use balsamic to elevate and enhance meals?
Perhaps the most common and popular use is to drizzle balsamic vinegar on top of your salad for an easy, flavourful everyday dressing. It has enough sweetness to balance herbs and savoury ingredients. The acidic properties dance around the palette on a range of leafy greens, vegetables such as beans, as well as salads that contain fruits such as apple or pear.
- Marinade and Sauces
Soak your desired dish in some balsamic vinegar before cooking, and you’ll be rewarded with a medley of bold flavours that adds something unique to your meal.
Although we don’t suggest you use a lot of balsamic in cooking (as the flavours are concentrated already), you can add a splash as a flavour boost to any sauce, gravy or cooking juices just before serving.
This works especially well for roasted meats and even fishes, as well as vegetables, or stirred through a risotto! Another option is to pour a little on top or your plate and then add the main meal.
- Entertaining Sides, Snacks and Dessert
Yes, it really IS a versatile condiment! Have you ever tried a little drizzle of balsamic over a strawberry salad? This rich, sweet dressing adds an extra dimension to an acidic fruit such as strawberry and balances the tart yet sweet tanginess.
Another suggestion we love is to mix a little olive oil and balsamic vinegar together, and add some sea salt et voila you have a marvellous dip to tear pieces of crusty bread off and dip in. This also makes for a great alternative to butter or spread.
Finally, it’s also wonderful drizzled over cheeses (some great options include haloumi or an aged cheese) for treat to your palate.
Did you know?
Balsamic vinegar isn’t just a moreish option to add to meals, it’s also packed with a range of health benefits!
Some potential health benefits of balsamic vinegar according to research:
- Most balsamic contains polyphenols, an antioxidant that may give your immunity a little boost
- Compounds found in balsamic vinegar can help regulate blood sugar and make you feel fuller for longer
- It is vegan, fat free and may help lower cholesterol
- Acetic acid in balsamic promotes gut health and digestion
Where to Buy Balsamic Vinegar Varieties
As you can see, balsamic vinegar really is a pantry staple and must have for every kitchen. If you’d like to keep a bottle easily on hand to jazz up any occasion, why not try The Pudding Lady Caramelised Balsamic 250ml.
It has a lovely, smooth taste and just the right amount of rich sweetness and tang. This little bottle makes the perfect addition to meals; no wonder it’s an award winner!
If you’re looking for a wider variety of tastes in your dressings and sauces, you may prefer a twist on a classic balsamic vinegar, or caramelised soy and ginger, honey mustard, or something else entirely.
Discover the full range of Simply Stirred Pudding Lady sauces, which are made in the Hunter Valley here! They help you make every salad a stress-free gourmet experience in just seconds.