A history of the Canadian vinegar industry

Reginald SmithVinegar History, Vinegar Industry2 Comments

The following is taken in part from my upcoming book on vinegar history, The Eternal Condiment to be published by Spikehorn Press in early 2019. When people here in the US think Canadian vinegar one might have an amusing notion of a barrel of maple vinegar fermenting in some snowy, remote lodge in Northern Ontario. While Canada is obviously a … Read More

Recipes to make your own malt vinegar

Reginald SmithMaking Vinegar, Malt VinegarLeave a Comment

Malt Vinegar (using liquid or dry malt extract) Dry or liquid malt extract (type can be personal preference though barley based ale extracts approximate traditional recipes) Water Brewing yeast (ale or lager) Live mother of vinegar Mix quantity of extract with water to adjust the specific gravity for 6% alcohol by volume (roughly 1.05). For liquid yeast, pitch in directly. … Read More

The History of Blacks in Vinegar Making

Reginald SmithVinegar HistoryLeave a Comment

Vinegar has been made for millenia—surely as long as wine and beer. Vinegar is a dilute solution of acetic acid made by special bacteria that transform the alcohol into this new compound using oxygen. The first records are from ancient Babylon but later vinegar is recorded in almost every part of the world. Africa was no exception. Given that brewed … Read More

Sherry vinegar makers consider their own balsamic competitor

Reginald SmithUncategorizedLeave a Comment

As reported in this article from Diario de Jerez (Google translation here) the sherry vinegar makers and the certification bodies of Spain are planning on introducing a thick, sweet sherry vinegar that would be a competitor with balsamic vinegar. Made from sherry vinegar and grape must from grapes like Pedro Ximénez or Moscatel, the new vinegar cannot be called ‘balsamic’ … Read More

Vinegar Aging and Value

Reginald SmithAll About Vinegar, Balsamic Vinegar, Chinese Vinegars, Making Vinegar, Sherry Vinegar, Vinegar IndustryLeave a Comment

Besides raw material, one of the big differentiators between premium and regular vinegars is the aging process. This can range from 2 months for Balsamic of Modena IGP to 6 months for basic sherry vinegar to 12 years for Gran Reserva Sherry or 25 years for Extra Aged (“extravecchio”) balsamic. Price varies accordingly. Below is a quick chart that gives … Read More

The ambivalent status of French Vinegar

Reginald SmithAll About Vinegar, Regional Vinegars, Vinegar IndustryLeave a Comment

French vinegar is good, but can it stand out? If there would be a country responsible for the development and refinement of vinegar in modern Europe, it would be France. Through the pre-Revolution corporations in many cities, especially the vinegar “capital” of Orléans, the Western traditional method of vinegar making matured from the 14th to 18th centuries. Though France was … Read More

Vinegar enters the trade wars

Reginald SmithAll About Vinegar, Vinegar IndustryLeave a Comment

Vinegar, that titan of international commerce…. (only $500 million traded per year globally) True or not, vinegar has found its way into the crosshairs of the growing trade war between the US and China. In the most recent round of tariff proposals, which were originally set at 10% but are now 25%, the US added HTS code 2209 – which … Read More

My vinegar smells like acetone (nail polish remover)!

Reginald SmithAll About Vinegar, Making Vinegar6 Comments

If you make vinegar long enough you have to tackle almost every problem. I sometimes get emails and questions about an “acetone” smell from vinegar, very similar to nail polish remover. What does this mean? First, you must understand the process by which acetic acid bacteria turn alcohol into vinegar. The short chemical pathway is: Alcohol (Ethanol) + Oxygen -> … Read More