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Forgive me, I've never cooked with them so I know next to nothing on them. We do not use alcohol in our family, so I'm not sure how cooking with wine or cooking with wine vinegars would be. I've heard the alcohol cooks off...(?) as I would want it to in dishes we'd all be eating but especially for family-friendly meals (kids).
If you rarely use these items in a recipe is it worth buying them? In other words, what is their shelf life?
I like the flavor of wine vinegars better than other types and use it often for cooking. I think it's flavor has less bite. My favorite one is Regina Red Wine vinegar. It doesn't taste like wine even when I use it for fresh slaw. I've kept it on my self for up to a year without it going bad at all.
Wine vinegars are wonderful as a base for salad dressings, and in marinades for meats. I also add a little basil red wine vinegar to steamed green beans. Tarragon vinegar on julienned carrots is great.
Don't worry about the "wine" content. It is so small that it will not harm you or youngsters, and in a hot dish the alcohol, what little there is of it, burns off and only the flavor remains.
I have no idea about the shelf life of wine vinegars. I make my own herbal and wine vinegars and use them too fast for them to go off!
I always understood there is no alcohol in wine vinegars since they can be sold on Sundays in states that prohibit alcohol sales on Sunday (even non-alcoholic beer is prohibited) but an internet search says there may be a trace amount. If you're trying to eliminate any possible alcohol content, cook it (this is true for wine too). Alcohol is very volatile -- that is, it boils off at pretty low temperatures.
I have developed an allergy to alcohol, yet I do cook with wine, and use wine vinegars, with no ill effects. I use champagne vinegar as a base for my homemade vinegars. Wine vinegars are like wines... some are better than others. Better quality wine vinegars are matured in wood for up to two years and exhibit a complex, mellow flavor. Wine vinegar tends to have a lower acidity than that of white or cider vinegars.
Vinegar by nature of its acidity retards the growth of bacteria. When it has had vegetables or herbs added to it, it shortens its shelf life a bit. But, you can keep a wine vinegar in the refrigerator for a very long time, or any vinegar for that matter. It has been used for centuries to preserve foods.
Alcohol does indeed evaporate and the amount in a wine (fermented grapes) vinegar is very low trace. You can use it to do so many different things in cooking and there are so many different flavors and types available today. Personally, I am a big fan of balsamic vinegars.
Regina makes a raspberry balsamic vinegar that I get at my local grocery for less than $5. It is wonderful as a dressing for cabbage apple salad when mixed with a little olive oil and crushed walnuts. There is no alcohol in it and it keeps for months mixed or unmixed in the fridge.
Hope that helps Jean
I've not ever seen a raspberry balsamic vinegar. Hmm... I'll have to look and see if any stores around here carry it.
I love balsamic vinegar and use it as a dipping sauce for bread. I love to dip crusty bread in balsamic vinegar and olive oil mixed on a plate or shallow dish. I bet the raspberry balsamic would be good for this, too!
Mike, it is good enough to almost swill from the bottle...grin. It would not be difficult to make your own. The ingredients list on the bottle says: Raspberry juice, Balsamic vinegar. The brand I purchased is Regina.
When we spent time at our daughter's home in Australia, we discovered Carmelized balsamic vinegar and carmelized rose' vinegar. They are outstanding. So much so that we brought back a half dozen of each...customs was a bit surprised...were we restocking a boutique shelf? Nope, our pantry shelf. Grin
Tried the rose' on brussel sprouts and found it delightful..brings out the rich"green" flavor of the sprouts and adds just an underlying hint of sweetness. Another swill from the bottle pair of vinegars...but at the distance/cost, is more like a small heavenly sip. The vinegar itself is $12 for 250ml, with conversions it works out to about a dollar and ounce. Very nice versatile balsamics made by a husband/wife team. His is: www.huntervalleysmellycheeseshop.com.au
hers: rivervalleyestate.com.au And a shelf-life of 10 years---Jean
Thanks, Jean! I'll check out the websites after I get home from work.
I'll have to look for caramelized balsamic vinegar since it sounds delicious.
I learn so much at Dave's, it's great.
I use wine vinegars and also wine in cooking. I did just want to mention that even with cooking not ALL the alchohol will burn off. This can be an issue if you're serving dinner and there's a recovering alcoholic in the group. Just the flavor can be a trigger, but in addition there is the alcohol residue. Depending upon the recipe and cooking method, the alcohol remaining can be far more than you might think.
Here's a chowhound discussion which also references the USDA's alcohol burn-off chart.
It's kind of off-topic, but I am a huge fan of Bickford flavors. The overwhelming majority of their extracts and oils are natural with no added alcohol. They don't seem to be well-known by home cooks but they do sell in small as well as large amounts and their shipping costs are low. I've never ordered anything from them I haven't been happy with. (Though I still can't figure out what chlorophyll flavor is used for!)