Vinegar Has Been Around A Lot Longer Than You Thought

When you need to make the perfect dish, adding in a bit of acid can mean the difference between a winning meal and a dud. According to Samin Nosrat's Salt Fat Acid Heat, no kitchen pantry comes complete without a few bottles of vinegar to give your food that much-needed acidic kick (via Food and Wine). While we have come to rely on this ingredient in the kitchen to develop a depth of flavor in our food, we might not realize how long this naturally occurring chemical has graced kitchens. 

According to Fyling Hall School, archaeologists discovered the first traces of vinegar in ancient Egyptian urns. These smidgens of vinegar date back to 3000 B.C., but the ingredient had yet to morph into its current incarnation. The ingredient received its common name thanks to the French, who created vinegar from wine, which had soured. The French word for this liquid, dubbed vinaigre, literally means soured wine, and the modern concept of vinegar came into being. While we often think of vinegar as a cooking ingredient, the concept of it as a cleaner also has ancient origins.

Some vinegar evolved as a cleaning agent

Imagine cleaning your floors with one of the most expensive bottles of balsamic vinegar that generally retails at $412 (via CNBC). If we received a bottle of balsamic vinegar 1,000 years ago, this idea might not seem too outlandish. According to Gourmet Blends, the first written account of balsamic vinegar dates back to 1046, when Emperor Enrico III of Franconia received a bottle as a gift. At the time, the liquid had a reputation as a disinfectant, as well as a cure-all for a variety of illnesses. This type of vinegar, which has to get produced in Modena and Reggio Italy to receive the official designation of balsamic, has wowed food connoisseurs since it entered our meal rotation and with any luck, will stick around for generations to come.

If you love bringing out the maximum amount of flavor in your food, you can't go wrong by adding in a touch of vinegar. This ancient ingredient has stuck around for thousands of years thanks to its medicinal qualities and its ability to elevate any meal. Next time you reach for a bottle of white vinegar at the store, don't forget this ingredient's storied past.