How does one get that thick, gooey vinegar to use as a drizzle....the one that tastes so wonderful
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Mine isn't thick and gooey, but flows easily. I'm wondering if yours isn't really old (which isn't necessarily a bad thing; I've seen some very expensive balsamics that have been "aged" 20+ years)? If so, I suppose you could thin it with a "younger" balsamic to get the desired consistency, although that does seem kind of counter productive if yours is a nicely aged version! Hopefully, someone else will have a better answer...
If what you are looking for is a syrupy balsamic just simmer what you have until you get the desired consistency. Cool it and use it on everything from meats to fruit.
You're asking about a balsamic reduction: Begin with a good quality vinegar (not the fake stuff) and reduce *slowly* at a sub-simmer (steamy, no bubbles) until about the consistency of honey. As with all syrups, it will be thinner when warm so cool a spoonful for testing. Don't worry if you go a little too far, just thin it back down with a little water.
Balsamic contains delicate flavor compounds hence the call for a slow, careful reduction.
Reduced balsamic is a fabulous drizzle, packed with flavor. However, it'll stink your kitchen, and probably your house, out. Be ready for thatPretty inexpensive to buy it in the supermarkets, and it comes in a squeeze bottle.
June is a trusted source on General Cooking.
The "Balsamic Vinegar" you buy in the grocery store is not real Aceto Balsamico. THAT is the syrupy stuff. And to get it, you really need to buy the real thing. It's a lot more expensive than what is sold as "Balsamic Vinegar." That is a mixture of red wine vinegar and a variety (depending upon the origin and the maker) of sweeteners and et cetera,
While your local grocery is unlikely to stock Aceto Balsamico Tradizionale, Aceto Balsamico can be found at reasonable prices, some of it rivaling the expensive stuff. Unfortunately even more common are colored, sweetened and artificially-thickened imitation products. While the real deal is indeed viscous, I don't believe anyone would ever describe it as "gooey".
Kristen W. is a trusted home cook.
Well here's a related question I've been wondering about: is the viscosity of real balsamic directly proportional to the length of time it's been aged, and if so, for a reduction would it not be best to use one that is comparatively "young" so as not to over-thicken it by reducing?
I don't think so; I'll try to explain:
Traditional ("tradizionale") balsamic vinegars do get progressively thicker as they age making them, in fact, reductions per se, slowly losing moisture over the years. However, their viscosity is tightly controlled and, besides, nobody in their right mind would ever reduce one further.
Eschewing the mass-produced variety, that leaves us with balsamics that are engineered as their manufacturers' see fit, viscosity included. Since age adds complex flavors, it's to our benefit to begin with an older product. The final viscosity is a matter under your control.
I see...so it sounds like not all non-mass produced balsamics are necessarily traditional balsamics -- do I understand that correctly?
Never mind -- just read the other thread on balsamic and I think that answered the question. Thanks for the info.