Traditional balsamic vinegar is made from pressed grape juice that’s concentrated, fermented, acidified, and aged for 12 to 25 years in wood barrels. It is a highly crafted product that has been used in Italy from ancient times and was introduced in other parts of the world in the 20th century. Aged balsamic vinegar made through traditional methods is highly expensive to produce and is typically only found in specialty stores.
Today, modern commercial balsamic vinegar combines concentrated grape juice with wine vinegar for a quicker acidification process. The typical age of balsamic vinegar found in grocery aisles is between 2 months to 3 years.
Balsamic vinegar is a popular salad dressing and an ingredient used in marinades and sauces. It has bold, complex flavors and a pleasingly tart aftertaste. It can elevate a simple dish with its distinctive, rich taste, and it offers many health benefits as well.
Five Health Benefits of Aged Balsamic Vinegar
Below are five known health benefits of incorporating aged balsamic vinegar into your diet.
1. Helps Lower Cholesterol
The antioxidants in balsamic vinegar target cells that inflate unhealthy cholesterol. If you’re looking to maintain or lower your cholesterol levels, regularly consuming balsamic vinegar can help your body protect itself from clogged arteries.
2. Improves Digestion
The main ingredient of vinegar is acetic acid. Acetic acid contains probiotic bacteria that enable healthy digestion and improve gut health. Probiotics also enhance your immune system.
3. Regulates Blood Sugar
Vinegar is an anti-glycemic that regulates insulin sensitivity. Using balsamic vinegar as a salad dressing or condiment can help you avoid blood sugar spikes after eating. Balsamic vinegar is a much better choice than fatty, mayonnaise-based dressing.
4. Helps Blood Circulation
The antioxidants in balsamic vinegar contribute to healthy blood circulation and overall cardiovascular health. Balsamic vinegar prevents platelets from aggregating, and it promotes the flow of red blood cells through your circulatory system.
5. Improves Skin
Balsamic vinegar contains antimicrobial compounds and antioxidants that can help skin pigmentation and acne. Regular consumption may help give you healthy, glowing skin. Due to its strong smell and staining properties, topical application is not advised.
Five Ways to Use Aged Balsamic Vinegar
Aged balsamic vinegar is incredibly versatile! Check out 5 ways you can use it, below:
1. Salad dressing
Balsamic vinegar-based vinaigrette takes a simple plate of vegetables to the next level with a tart and sweet kick.
2. Soups and sauces
Adding a splash of balsamic vinegar to tomato-based soups and sauces brings all the flavors together in a very pleasing way.
Adding just one tablespoon of balsamic vinegar to your braised meat or vegetables will give the whole dish a deep, rich flavor.
Balsamic vinegar is great for marinating steaks, mushrooms, even tofu. Mix it with some garlic, shallots, and some aromatics to give your dish a great Mediterranean twist.
5. Reduced to a glaze
You can reduce balsamic vinegar into a sweet syrup that you can drizzle on top of ice cream, other desserts, and even your salad. Just throw in a cup of balsamic with some sugar on a pan, let it reduce, then chill before using.
Balsamic vinegar is made by pressing, fermenting, and aging grape juice for several years in wooden barrels. Even a small splash of its bold, tart flavors can elevate a simple dish. Regularly consuming balsamic vinegar has many health benefits, too. It can help keep your weight down by improving digestion and reducing your blood sugar and cholesterol levels.
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