pickles and spices logo

Types of Vinegar - which are good for cooking and making pickles?

I have always wondered when I come across the many types of vinegar mentioned in cookbooks. Usually I encounter the terms like balsamic and distilled. Why must there be many types of vinegar when all we want to do is to add a bit of sourness in our meals?

Vinegar comes from the French word "vinaigre", meaning "sour wine". It was a product discovered by accident when a barrel of wine went bad 10000 years ago.

The process of making vinegar starts when naturally found sugar in fruits is fermented into alcohol, then the alcohol is fermented further and becomes vinegar. The first fermentation process from sugar to alcohol is the natural chemical reaction between the yeast and sugar in the fruits. To change alcohol into vinegar, it is exposed to bacteria in the air which transforms it into acid (vinegar).

Over the years, many kinds of fruits (or food containing carbohydrate like rice and potatoes)are used to make it which results in many kinds and different tasting vinegar.

Vinegar has an infinite shelf life. By its very character, it is a preservative in itself. White vinegar will remain unchanged while stored for extended times. Other types of colored vinegars may become cloudy over time, or they will even produce sediment on the bottom of the jar. This is perfectly natural and can be used without any concern.

There are four main types of vinegar. Out of the four, many more can be derived depending on the basic ingredients used for making it:

  • Fruit vinegar - apple is the most commonly used, grapes, peaches and berries work just as well. You normally see apple cider vinegar, white or red wine vinegar on the supermarket shelf.
  • Malt vinegar - made from cereal like barley, rice and malt. Common white vinegar is under this category. This is the cheapest kind of vinegar due to the abundant of cereals available.
  • Sugar vinegar - originates from double fermentation of molasses (sugar cane).
  • Distilled vinegar or spirit vinegar - this is made by the acetic fermentation of dilute distilled alcohol.

In cooking, we mostly use white vinegar, which is good for pickling as well. However, apple cider vinegar and white rice vinegar are supposed to give better taste to the pickles as they added sweetness. For making pickles, we prefer to use clear vinegar such as the two types mentioned above. How about the strength of the acid? 5% diluted vinegar should work well.

Here is a nice web site giving you many ways to cook with vinegar. Have fun trying!

Back to the top

Back to Basic Pickles Ingredients Page

Back to the homepage

Custom Search

New! Comments

Have your say about what you just read! Leave me a comment in the box below.

Author Nazlina Hussin | Disclaimer | Privacy Policy

Protected by Copyscape Plagiarism Check

Footer Penang Attractions.org

Custom Search

Nazlina's Cooking Class in Penang

cooking class in penang

Attend my cooking class to learn making traditional food.

  • Daily except Sunday @Nazlina Spice Station.

The morning class includes Penang Market Tour.



We now offer PM classes, for vegan and


Subscribe To This Site