About Balsamic Vinegar

What is Balsamic Vinegar?

Balsamic Vinegar is an aromatic, thick, dark, syrup-like aged vinegar. The best balsamic vinegar is prepared in the hills of Modena, in Italy. Producers start with the white and sugary Trebbiano grapes, which are left on the vine to ripen for as long as possible to develop their sugar. The juice or “must” is pressed out of the grapes and boiled down into a thick syrup, called mosto cotto in Italian. The syrup ages for a minimum of 12 years in a series of seven barrels of successively smaller sizes. These barrels, similar to wine barrels, are made from different woods including oak, chestnut, acacia, cherry, mulberry, ash and juniper. These woods add character to the vinegar.
About Balsamic

What is the difference between White and Dark Balsamics?

The white balsamic condimento is less complex and has not been caramelized over an open wood fire in copper kettles, as the dark condimento has been. Dark balsamic is aged for a minimum of 12 years, in fired, old wood barrels that previously held older batches of balsamic. White balsamic is aged up to 12 years, in new wood barrels which have not been fired on the inside. They are both made from Trebbiano grapes in Modena. The dark condimento has a rich dried fruit characteristic reminiscent of figs and raisins, whereas the white is a bit more acidic, and “cleaner” lacking the complexity of the fired wood and caramelizing process.

How should Balsamic Vinegar be stored?

Just as with extra virgin olive oil, balsamic vinegar’s enemies are light and heat, so cool and dark storage spaces are the best.

Will White Balsamic Vinegars Change Color?

All white, or light, balsamic vinegar is subject to oxidation. Over time, this natural process leads to a darkening of the vinegar from gold to a deep amber color. This process does not affect the flavor of the balsamic vinegar in any way. If appearance is critical, we recommend that these light vinegars be consumed within three months of purchase and then refrigerated to slow the deepening of color.

What are the Health Benefits of Balsamic Vinegar?

Balsamic vinegar retains most of the nutrients present in the parent grapes, such as iron, calcium, potassium, manganese, phosphorus and magnesium. Thus, incorporating balsamic oil in the daily diet will provide a variety of health benefits, including the following:

Antioxidant Properties
Oxidation reactions take place in the human body to produce energy, resulting in the formation of cell damaging free radicals as natural by-products. Free radicals damage cell membranes and manifest themselves in terms of premature aging, hardening of arterial walls and cancer. Antioxidants from balsamic vinegar destroy these free radicals and prevent cells from being damaged.

Fights Cancer
The grapes from which balsamic vinegar is formed are known to contain a bioflavonoid called quercetin, which has antioxidant properties. Along with vitamin C, this antioxidant strengthens the immune system to fight cancer, infectious diseases and inflammations. Balsamic vinegar also contains polyphenols which are anticancer agents.

Reduces Risks of Heart Attacks
Balsamic vinegar is low in saturated fat and is believed to reduce cholesterol. Moreover, since it is low in sodium, it enhances heart health and reduces high blood pressure.

Controls Diabetes
Research reveals that consumption of at least 5 teaspoons of balsamic vinegar a day enhances insulin sensitivity. Greater insulin sensitivity helps to control diabetes.

Natural Pain Reliever
In ancient times, folk healers used balsamic vinegar as a pain reliever. They also used balsamic vinegar to treat wounds and infections. The anti-bacterial and anti-viral properties in balsamic vinegar helped heal wounds.

Assists Digestion
The polyphenols in balsamic vinegar stimulate the activity of pepsin enzyme in the body. Pepsin is a digestive enzyme, which helps break proteins into smaller units (amino acids). These polyphenols also assist the intestine in absorbing amino acids expeditiously. Efficient amino acid absorption enables the body to utilize it for cell building, repair and other body maintenance work. Thus, balsamic vinegar aids the digestion process.