Why You Should Keep Sherry Vinegar In Your Pantry

What comes to mind when thinking about vinegar? Is it something you clean with, cook with, or something in between? It is often relegated to an afterthought or simply assumed that all of its variations are interchangeable. Well, this is a misnomer as every vinegar is a bit different. White vinegar, apple cider vinegar, balsamic vinegar, and red and white wine vinegars are all quite popular and found in most homes. Yet sherry vinegar is quite delightful. Although it is not as well known, every home cook should consider adding it to their arsenal.

Vinegar originally comes from the word "vin aigre," which means bitter wine in French. And sherry vinegar is known for being a complex liquid with a remarkable concentration (via Vinagre Dejerez). Its taste is best described by The Reluctant Gourmet. On his blog, he said the product is rich, nutty, and slightly sweet, and added that it is not as overpowering as red or white wine vinegars.

Here is everything you need to know about the evocative appeal of sherry vinegar and some of its amazing uses to enhance life.

History of sherry vinegar

According to Vinagre Dejerez, the production of vinegar is a fairly simple process that happens when water interacts with anything that ferments alcohol such as apples, beets, wine, or rice. Sherry vinegar is a by-product of the wine industry, in particular the noble sherry wines of Spain. Located in the Jerez region in southern Spain, this is the only place in the world where sherry wine, and therefore sherry vinegar can be produced. Sherry vinegar can be aged for anywhere from six months and 20 years to develop its rich flavor.

The uses for sherry vinegar are seemingly endless and because it is less acidic, it is an obvious choice for soups and salads (via The Reluctant Gourmet). But it also can be used to make a delectable marinade when mixed with a good quality olive oil and some seasonings and fresh herbs. Once the food is marinated for about 30 minutes it can effectively enhance the flavor of beef, chicken, pork, or vegetables such as onions, pepper, squash, asparagus, mushrooms, or broccoli before sautéing, roasting, or grilling (via MSN).

Cultivating a sherry vinegar obsession

If you are not yet convinced of the power of sherry vinegar, then take it from Bon Appétit editor at large Christine Muhlke. In September 2016, she said that she blew through a 750ml bottle in one summer alone as she used it for the cold soups she used for her hot-weather meals. As she explained, she put the product in a number of classic Spanish dishes, including gazpacho, Ajo Blanco, and salmorejo.

You don't have to be a professional chef to recognize the benefit of acids in the kitchen when it comes to cooking. Vinegar cuts through the thick richness of fat and it balances out foods that are salty or sweet. Sherry vinegar is a shelf-stable product that can last in your pantry for years. It is the ultimate condiment that keeps giving while miraculously making everything it encounters more bright and vivid. It is easy to cultivate an obsession with sherry vinegar as it holds a very special place in our homes, hearts, and hopefully, our pantries.