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National Vinegar Day

Posted in Food Safety on November 1, 2018

Pickle lovers come together on November 1st and rejoice in the idea that the product that makes many of your favorite cucumber creations the best has its very own day- Vinegar! Happy National Vinegar Day!

Being a pickle maker myself I do not know what I would do without this amazing creation. I literally buy it by the gallon when canning season is here and I know people think I am absolutely crazy. Vinegar is obviously used for more things than pickles though and to celebrate its day I want to share all of its lovely attributes.

Did you know that vinegar is made by the process of fermentation? Yes, you read that right. There is a fast process and a slow process which can take months up to a year.

There are many varieties of vinegar other than our common apple cider or white that we use most commonly in day to day things. Here is a list of vinegar varieties:

* Apple cider

* Balsamic

* Beer

* Cane

* Coconut

* Date

* Distilled vinegar

* East Asian black

* Flavored vinegar

* Fruit

* Honey

* Job’s tears

* Kiwifruit

* Kombucha

* Malt

* Palm

* Raisin

* Rice

* Sinamak

* Spirit vinegar

* Sherry vinegar

* White

* Wine

According to National Day Calendar some common uses for vinegar include:

  • Most commonly used in food preparation such as pickling processes, vinaigrettes and other salad dressings
  • An essential ingredient in mustard, ketchup, barbecue sauce and mayonnaise
  • A popular condiment for fish and chips
  • Used as a flavoring for potato chips
  • Used as a dip for crab meat
  • A substitute for fresh lemon juice
  • Used as a sauce when roasting lamb
  • Used in sushi rice
  • Used as a flavoring
  • Commonly put into mint sauce
  • Used in making some beverages
  • Used for medical remedies and treatments
  • Used for cleaning
  • Used in gardening and pest control

There are also popular beliefs that vinegar can have many health benefits. There is also lore surrounding vinegar. It is believed that vinegar has been used for 10,000 years and it is astonishing to believe that it is still being used so frequently today but the question is where did it originate and what was it used for?

The ancients were quick to find the remarkable versatility of vinegar. Around 5,000 B.C., the Babylonians used it as a preservative and as a condiment, and it was they who began flavoring it with herbs and spices. Roman legionnaires used it as a beverage. Cleopatra demonstrated its solvent property by dissolving precious pearls in it to win a wager that she could consume a fortune in a single meal. Hippocrates extolled its medicinal qualities and, indeed, it was probably one of our earliest remedies. The Greeks also reportedly made pickled vegetables or meats using vinegar. Biblical references show how it was much used for its soothing and healing properties. And when Hannibal, a great general, crossed the Alps with an army riding elephants, it was vinegar that helped pave the way. Obstructive boulders were heated and doused with vinegar, which cracked and crumbled the barriers. By about 3,000 B.C., the making of homemade vinegar was being phased out and, in 2,000 B.C., vinegar production was largely a commercial industry. During the American Civil War, vinegar was used to treat scurvy, and as recently as World War I, it was being used to treat wounds.

Vinegar Today

The vinegar produced and used today is much like the product of years past, but with newly discovered flavors and uses. The mainstays of the category – white distilled, cider, wine and malt have now been joined by balsamic, rice, rice wine, raspberry, pineapple, chardonnay, flavored and seasoned vinegars and more. See the Specialty Vinegars section below for more information on these products and how to use them.

The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) requires that any product called “vinegar” contain at least 4% acidity. This requirement ensures the minimum strength of the vinegar sold at the retail level. There are currently no standards of identity for vinegar however the FDA has established “Compliance Policy Guides” that the Agency follows regarding labeling of vinegars such as cider, wine, malt, sugar, spirit and vinegar blends. Other countries, as in Europe, have regional standards for vinegar produced or sold in the area.

From the kitchen to the bathroom and beyond, vinegar is the most flexible of products sure to have a daily use in your home and life.

Some of My Favorite Vinegar Tips

  • White vinegar is a great disinfectant because of its acidic nature. Did you know you can tackle salmonella with vinegar? It also kills other “gram negative” bacteria and is a great grease cutter. Mix ½ cup of white vinegar with ½ gallon of water and clean until your heart’s content!
  • Kill those pesky weeds and unwanted grass by pouring on some undiluted vinegar. Repeat as needed until those weeds are long gone.
  • Fresh flowers will last longer if you add 2 tablespoons of white vinegar to your favorite vase. Change water when it is cloudy and trim the stems of the flowers, too.
  • Clean your microwave by boiling 1 cup of water and ¼ cup vinegar. Residue literally wipes away with no scrubbing.
  • If you have fruit stained hands this great invention of vinegar will clean them right up.
  • Got a bee sting? My mom and grandma always put a dab of baking soda and then poured apple cider vinegar over the sting area. It worked like a charm and I use this tip to this day.

Whether you like to pour a little vinegar on your french fries, indulge in some pickles or clean your shower there is a use for vinegar in every single household. Vinegar has a special place in our home I am happy to know that it has its very own day of the year in one of my favorite months. Vinegar Day is a great way to start the month of November! Celebrate the big occasion with your favorite vinegar use.

By: Samantha Cooper, Contributing Writer (Non-Lawyer)