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The Versatility of Vinegar

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​Vinegar is a pantry powerhouse. Made from the controlled fermentation of sugars, this tangy liquid can be used to balance, brighten, and add an acidic bite to everything from apples to zucchini. It can level out the sweetness in jam, it creates chemical reactions in baked goods, and stabilizes egg whites in delicate meringues.

Photo by Bobbi Lin

Because it is so versatile, vinegar is one of those essential items we cooking folks always seem to have on hand. The trouble with this is that we never want to run out either, so it's easy to just keep buying more (especially because there are so many neat vinegars to hoard choose from). Some serious meal planning and a few trips to the grocery store later, and suddenly the cupboard is chock-full of cruets.

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Over on the Hotline, lloreen has found herself in a similar situation—with mainly wine and balsamic vinegars​—and is looking for the best ways to use up a vat's worth of vinegar​. Here's what you had to say:

Photo by James Ransom

Put up a batch of pickles

Photo by James Ransom

Make a marinade

  • SexyLAMBCHOPx says red wine vinegar can be used to braise chicken.
  • And Maedl says the same vinegar can be used to marinate beef.
  • Susan W, on the other hand, recommends a thick brown sugar and balsamic glaze that would be delicious on a variety of proteins.
Photo by Alpha Smoot

Apply the acid elsewhere

  • Oldunc suggests using it to make catsups and chutneys.
  • Amysarah recommends using white wine vinegar in traditional Jewish dishes: “pickled herring or salmon, cucumber or beet salads, traditional sweet & sour dishes—brisket, cabbage soup or stuffed cabbage, etc.”
  • And HalfPint thinks finding a home for the vinegars in the base of a shrub is a great idea.
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Clean with it

  • Nancy says there are several uses for distilled white vinegar in house cleaning and personal care.
  • And Susan W seconds this by suggesting using the same vinegar to make cleaning products like toilet bowl cleaner and even laundry detergent.
Photo by Bobbi Lin

Give it away

  • If after all of these ideas, you still have more vinegar than you know what to do with, cv recommended donating the sealed bottles. Susan W agrees, adding that unsealed bottles that wouldn't be accepted at a food bank can be portioned out and given as gifts to friends.
  • Liz D also thinks gifting it is best, but takes things a step further and suggests making infused vinegar.

What are your favorite uses for vinegar? Let us know in the comments!

Tags: Your burning questions, clean, organize, vinegar, pickle