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Mar 31

Health Foods A-Z: Vinegar

Vinegar is a wonderful all round ingredient to any household. Not only is it great to add a tangy flavor to any dish or salad dressing, its also a great cleaning agent. Also, vinegar (diluted with water) also works very well as a solution for skin infections, and as a disinfectant. Its uses are truly plenty. And for weight watchers it is great-it helps reduce fat in your body.

Distilled white vinegar has uses such as for cleaning glass, the coffee maker, the kitchen and bathroom (for grease), as an odor neutralizer for odor from ovens or dishes, as a stain remover, a wood cleaner, it acts as a great hard water mineral deposit remover, a microwave cleaner, a brass cleaner, copper cleaner, wall cleaner, drain cleaner, furniture cleaner, floor cleaner, grout cleaner, as a pesticide, a leather stain remover and as a jewelry cleaner. However, make sure it is diluted appropriately to ensure that you do not harm the object you are trying to clean. This could vary from 100 percent concentrate to 1 part vinegar to 7 parts vinegar, depending on how delicate the object is.

While the uses of vinegar are so many, it also has nutritional value. Vinegar is a good source of dietary fiber, Dietary fiber has been recommended to build resistance to cancer. It is great for digestion as it has the ability to attack bacteria that attack the digestive tract.

Aging, heart disease, cancer, and cataracts are symptoms of the harm done to the human body by free radicals. Antioxidants help absorb free radicals and minimize the effects of these free radicals. Beta Carotene is one such antioxidant, that is easy to digest, and is found in vinegar.

The various kinds of vinegar available are balsamic vinegar, red and white wine vinegar, apple cider vinegar, rice vinegar and plain distilled vinegar.

Balsamic vinegar is the most expensive kind since it is aged over a long period of time. This makes it sweet and thick. These are used when there are not too many other ingredients and the taste stands out, such as a garnish. Red and white wine vinegars are more regularly used. They are good for preparations where they are added along with lots of other ingredients, such as a salad dressing. Apple cider vinegar is mild and less costly. It is great for salad dressings, marinades since it is light. The mildest of all is the rice vinegar, which has the least acidity and is most commonly used in Asian cooking.

Plain distilled vinegar is the sharpest and does not have a pleasant taste. This is best for cleaning purposes or for some culinary uses in very small quantities. For some preparations, vinegar can be substituted with lemon or lime juice.

Vinegar should be stored in a cool, dark place for up to a year, after which it loses its flavor.

While vinegar has been used for culinary uses in main dishes and salads, I have provided the recipe for pickled onions.

Ingredients

6-8 pearl onions

11/4 cup vinegar

1/4 cup water

Salt to taste

½ cup Sugar

 

Method

Wash and rinse the jar in which the onions will be pickled. Peel the onions. Combine vinegar, water, salt and sugar in a pan and bring to a boil. Boil for 3 minutes. Add the peeled onions and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and keep for about 5 minutes.

Transfer the hot onions to the pickling jar. Leave about 1/2 inch of space on the top. Set aside for about 24 hours and onions should be ready.

This post is part of a series on health foods. I have previously written about Avocado, Broccoli, Cauliflower, Dates, Eggs, Fennel, Green chickpeas or chholiya, Honey, Iceberg lettuce, Jackfruit, Kidney Beans, Lentils, Milk, Nectarine, Olives, Peas, the alphabet Q, Radish, Spinach, Tomato and the letter U.

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