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What Is Vinegar?

Vinegar has many uses. Aside from being a common cooking ingredient, it can be used as a cleanser, and has medicinal qualities. It is sometimes used in agriculture.

Vinegar is the byproduct when ethanel goes through a fermentation process. One of its main ingredients is acetic acid, which is responsible for its acidic taste. In general, vinegar has an acid PH that ranges from 2 to 3.5; the ones used for cooking typically has a PH of 2.4.

Vinegar is sour, and in fact its etymology can be traced to old French, vin aigre, which means "sour wine." This refers to the fact that traditionally, wine was oxidized to create vinegar. Vinegar can be made from beer and fruit juice, too.

Vinegar is made through the fermentation process. The “fast” fermentation uses special machines to speed up the oxygenation; traditional fermentation allows the liquid to transform naturally, sometimes up to several months. “Mother of vinegar” starts this process. It is made of acetic acid bacteria and cellulose. “Vinegar eels” or non-parasitic nematodes feed on the “mother of vinegar.” These are filtered from the product before being bottled.

There are many kinds of vinegars, which vary in flavor. These include red wine vinegar, apple cider vinegar, white vinegar, balsamic vinegar, coconut vinegar, and even those made from honey and raisins.

Vinegar can be used to make salad dressings (vinaigrettes) and pickles. It is also used as a dipping sauce, a marinade, or as a flavoring (such as in salt and vinegar potato chips). Vinegar can also be used as a substitute for lemon juice.

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