Balsamic Pleasures

Posted on October 3, 2010 by


Samantha Ray

Balsamic Vinegar is one of my favorite ingredients to add to vegetables, meats, and salad dressings.  This made me curious to know how it is made and where it comes from.  True balsamic vinegar is very dark in color, has a sweet, fruity flavor and a syrupy-type consistency.  It is made from the pure and unfermented juice of a grape called the “must”.  It is then aged in wooden barrels where bacteria is added, which oxidizes the juice and turns it into vinegar.  This can take from 6 months to several years.  Although different varieties of grapes can be used to create balsamic vinegar, the Trebbiano grape, native to Modena, Italy, is the most common.  Balsamic vinegar has been produced for more than 1000 years and was historically used as a health tonic.

Why It’s Good For You

Balsamic vinegar retains many of the nutritional benefits of the grapes from which it is made. Rich in minerals, it contains calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium and  manganese. Balsamic vinegar is also good for the heart, circulatory system, and digestive system.  It is low in sodium and contains polyphenols, which are known anti-cancer agents. Vinegar is also a natural disinfectant and is one of the few agents that will kill toxic mold as well as bacteria and viruses.   It also helps to restore the natural “ph,” or acidity, of the human body.

What To Look For

In grocery stores one will generally find commercial grade balsamic vinegar that is made up of red wine vinegar mixed with must and caramel and probably only aged for a few months. You will notice that the commercial grade is much lighter in color and has a strong acidity taste and smell to it.  Look at the ingredients and notice how much must it has versus red wine vinegar. Remember, true balsamic vinegar is 100% must with no red wine vinegar. Additionally, look at the age that is stated on the bottle of vinegar.  Find yourself a true high quality Balsamic Vinegar and reap its health benefits while adding pleasure to your palate!

Posted in: Food For Thought