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You Can Make Your Own Vinegar—But You Should Buy These 3

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I like to think of vinegar as the original superhero. Not only does it clean crime grime scenes, but it saves food from both perishing and (even worse) blandness. But like most heroes, we don’t appreciate vinegar the way it deserves, says The Brooklyn Kitchen co-founder Harry Rosenblum in his first book, Vinegar Revival: Artisanal Recipes For Brightening Dishes and Drinks with Homemade Vinegars. Forgotten, dusty bottles sit below sinks, waiting for the moment to unlock the flavors of drinks, dinners, and desserts.

Your best tasting vinegar will be an easy-to-make homegrown hero, Rosenblum explains, made with only three ingredients—alcohol, a vinegar mother, and air. Making your own vinegar is incredibly easy. However, there are three types Rosenblum believes you should buy at the store. Making either sherry or balsamic vinegars at home requires more space, time, and money than most home cooks have. Sherry vinegar is made over 12 years by moving the vinegar down rows of barrels as it ferments. Achieving the nuanced, tangy flavor of balsamic vinegar requires a similar amount of time.

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The third vinegar Rosenblum recommends buying is distilled white vinegar, which is manufactured in a way that regulates the acidity and pH. Every batch is the same, making it ideal for pickling or cleaning. Plus, store-bought distilled white vinegar is cheap, edible, and food safe. Rosenblum has great ideas on how to use up your gallon of distilled white vinegar:

  1. Pickle something.
  2. Impress your kids with a volcano: Place a jar on the ground outside and add a 1 /4 cup of baking soda in the jar. Add 10 drops of red food coloring. Pour in 1 cup of vinegar and watch the lava erupt!
  3. Wash your fruit with a 1:10 vinegar-to-water solution to make it last longer and remove wax and other residue.
  4. Use the same mix to clean your floor, sink, and tub.
  5. A 50:50 vinegar-to-water solution or full-strength vinegar will keep ants away; simply spray it where you see them.
  6. Neutralize pet odors and accidents by spraying the area with a 50:50 vinegar-to-water solution after drying or soaking up as much as possible.
  7. Bring a spray bottle of vinegar to the beach in case of jellyfish stings and to relieve minor sunburn.

What type of vinegar do you think deserves a cape? Do you make it yourself? Let us know!

Tags: vinegar, distilled white vinegar, sherry vinegar, balsamic vinegar, kitchen heroes