Why You Should Always Have Balsamic Vinegar In Your Kitchen

Balsamic vinegar could be called the queen bee of vinegars. There are few ingredients that count themselves among those that work well in creating delicious salad dressings, savory meat marinades, sweet caramelized onions, syrupy glazes, and can add a deep, sweet, and luscious flavor to your favorite vanilla ice cream, but balsamic vinegar can do all of that. It's pretty versatile and special, and of all the vinegars lining the grocery store shelves, balsamic is the one you should always have in your kitchen (via The Kitchn).

What exactly is balsamic vinegar? Words like "dark," "rich," and "sweet" generally precede this favored vinegar when describing its flavor. While there are plenty of imitations, the real deal is made in Reggio Emilia and Modena, Italy, using grape must. Grape must is essentially whole grapes — juice, skin, seeds, and stems — crushed or pulverized beyond recognition. The grape must is heated, allowed to ferment for about three weeks, and then allowed to mature for a minimum of 12 years, so it can become more concentrated. The whole process is monitored by a specialty certification agency to ensure it is authentic and meets all the standards to be called balsamic vinegar(via Serious Eats). So, why is balsamic a must-have in the kitchen? 

Balsamic vinegar can be used for cocktails and to enhance bread

The secret of the power of balsamic vinegar is all about its versatility. Balsamic vinegar can be used to sweeten a cocktail or to tie your flavors all together when you make soups and sauces.  Use it to glaze your vegetables, or reduce it to a syrup and drizzle it over fruits or sorbets (via the Kitchen). Or try it in your next pitcher of sangria, suggests Fiore Olive Oils, to give the flavor a subtle sweetness. You can also use your balsamic vinegar to create a sweet onion relish that can then be used on sandwiches or in your favorite salad. The possibilities are really endless.

But balsamic vinegar also has many health benefits that are worth exploring. Per Medical News Today, balsamic vinegar is low in calories and in sugar, and it has nearly magical elixir properties. Consuming balsamic vinegar can improve the appearance of your skin, lower hypertension and cholesterol, and help trim up your waist line. Some people even swear by balsamic vinegar as their go-to decongestant, mixing it with steaming water and breathing it in to help open the sinuses. It's also rumored to help treat wounds because of its antifungal, antiviral, and antibacterial effects. So keep that balsamic vinegar on hand. You never know where or when you might need it.