Anyone know of a high quality apple cider vinegar brand? I typically purchase the grocery store brands and they are great for barbecue sauces where they are a background note but I'm looking for a nice vinegar that can stand out in a salad dressing.
I use Bragg [organic, unfiltered] in my dressings and cooking all the time, although I haven't though too much about brand/taste differences, so I am no expert. You'll have to strain the solids that tend to develop.
I agree with Stonesoup -- the Bragg vinegar is terrific. I use it in the simplest of dressings and there's no harshness at all. Good stuff.
Ditto, with the provision that I wouldn't strain it. The cloudiness has lots of goodness.* 2nd brand recommendation would be Eden -- everything they make is top quality. Braggs has many years of history, which I honor!
*Sometimes you will see a rubbery layer, which is the mother, starter for making the vinegar. I just shake it up to distribute it.
Plus, Bragg's is the only one that isn't pasteurized, so all the enzymes are still alive and active.
The Trader Joe's organic, unpasteurized bears a startling resemblance to Braggs, by the way, and is more cost effective, at least in this area. Also, it's so, so easy to make good cider vinegar, but you need unfiltered, unpasteurized cider to make it, which is only available (to my knowledge) during apple season. I just opened a jar that I made last August. It's amazing!! ;o)
Could you share your cider vinegar recipe/method? I bought a wonderful cider vinegar a few years ago that had apple slices, clove, cinnamon and other stuff in the bottle. I haven't been able to find it again, so would like to try making some.
Louisa, to make basic cider vinegar, I have done this: For each quart, I put into a sterilized quart jar (washed in boiling water) 1.5 cups each of organic, unfiltered, unpasteurized cider vinegar and organic, unfiltered, unpasteurized cider. I used Braggs the first time; I'm fairly certain that it had a bit of mother in it. It's worth pouring the whole bottle into a clean glass container and stirring it a bit before your start your first batch, to make sure you get some mother into the first mix. I cover the jar with two layers of fine-weave cheesecloth, secured tightly with a strong rubber band. I let it sit in a cool dark place for a few weeks, then add 1/2 cup of cider and cover it back up. I let it sit for another two weeks and add another 1/2 cup of cider and replace the cheesecloth, tightening it securely. This is very important, to keep the flies out. Then I let it sit for a minimum of 3 to 4 months. You'll get a really good new mother -- a firm disk which will form on the surface, then eventually sink to the bottom. Use that to start another batch! It sounds like the vinegar you had was a flavored vinegar. For that, simply get a good natural cider vinegar and add those ingredients to a jar. Let it sit for a week or so and test it. (When you do, let the vinegar breathe for a few hours, uncovered, before you taste it. The flavor of vinegar, like that of chutneys, tastes very different after it's been exposed to air for a while.) I have found it's very easy to over-flavor vinegars, so I would take the most of the spices out after a week or two, and then add just a small amount of each spice to individual bottles, if giving as a gift. ;o) P.S. I just found a quart jar of red wine vinegar that I'd flavored last summer with rosemary, thyme and garlic. It was hiding with the last of my 2011 blueberries in syrup. I opened it up and oh my, it's so good! Luscious and mellow. Beyond words.
AntoniaJames, thanks so much for the information. For the flavored vinegar, can it rest covered in the kitchen cabinet? And because it's acid, it doesn't need to go through a process like canning vegetables--it can just go right into smaller bottles for gifts? I'm also going to try your red wine vinegar. Thanks again!
Louisa, the vinegar does not need to be refrigerated, though it should be kept in a cool, dark place. Nor does it need to be processed, though some people do, to prevent the development of mold, etc. I've only had problems with that a few times, early on in my vinegar making experience.. Since then, I've typically poured my vinegars, once ready to use, into fresh, sterilized jars, which I cover tightly. Here is an excellent blog post on making cider vinegar: http://mossgrownstone.wordpress.com/2012/02/13/apple-cider-vinegar-making-a-mother/
Have fun!! ;o)
Thanks AntoniaJames. I've been wanting to do this for some time now. I was familiar with using kombucha mothers, but a little shaky on how to get a mother of vinegar.
I also read recently about making maple vinegar using apple cider vinegar with the mother and maple syrup. Definitely on my to do list.
Kombucha mothers? A new one for me! Petitblue care to share? Same as Antonia's Vinegar? Thanks for sharing.
I buy & enjoy Spectrum brand organic, unpasterized, filtered apple cider vinegar