Vinegar Tips

Get Smart with Vinegar

For pet odors, old stains, fresh linens, fluffier cakes, and home beauty masks, vinegar can do it all.
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Q: What are the different types of vinegar?

There are many types of vinegars, and new products are being developed at a rapid pace. In general, there are six basic types of vinegar:

White Distilled Vinegar,
Apple Cider Vinegar,
Wine Vinegar,
Balsamic Vinegar,
Rice Vinegar,
Malt Vinegar.

Additional varieties can be developed using a combination of vinegars above, or by experimenting with new ingredients altogether. Learn more about the types of vinegars here

Q: I noticed vinegar has "acidity" on the label. What does it mean?

Acidity refers to the level of acetic acid in a vinegar. Vinegar products are diluted to meet a certain acidity, based on the specific product. White Distilled Vinegars are commonly found in 5% acidity (50 grain) while Balsamic Vinegars often have 8% acidity (80 grain).

Q: What is "grain strength"?

Grain strength refers to the acetic acid content. It is 10 times the acid content. For example:

5% acidity = 50 grain
10% acidity = 100 grain
20% acidity = 200 grain

Lower grain strength is most commonly used in homes for cooking, canning/preserving and cleaning, whereas higher grain strengths are used as an ingredient on an industrial level for food and other manufacturers.

Q: What is acetic acid and is it the same thing as vinegar?

Acetic acid is developed through the fermentation process and gives vinegar its characteristic smell and taste. However, not all acetic acids are created equally. According to the United States Food & Drug Administration (FDA), diluted acetic acid is not vinegar, noting:

“misleading if the labeling of a food in which acetic acid is used implies or suggests that the food contains or was not prepared with vinegar. Acetic acid should not be substituted for vinegar in pickled foods, which consumers customarily expect to be prepared with vinegar.”

To learn more about the differences between Acetic Acid and Vinegar, click here

Q: How long does vinegar last?

According to the Vinegar Institute, vinegar has an almost indefinite shelf life. Vinegar’s acidic content allows it to be virtually unchanged over time. Some clouding (change in product color) and/or growth of mother is normal. Learn more here

Q: I'm hearing a lot about "mother." What is it?

Mother is a naturally occurring growth of cellulose, a natural carbohydrate, which is the byproduct of bacteria. It is completely safe to consume, and its presence does not mean the vinegar has spoiled.

Most vinegars are filtered and pasteurized to eliminate the bacteria that cause mother to develop. However, some vinegars, like Organic Apple Cider Vinegar, are manufactured and sold with mother.

Q: What kind of vinegar do I use for home canning?

Vinegar with an acidity of or greater than 5% is recommended for canning. White Distilled Vinegar and Apple Cider are used most commonly to can, although other vinegars are good options. Learn more about canning here

Q: Does vinegar need to be refrigerated?

No, vinegar does not need to be refrigerated. Because of its acidity, vinegar can be safely stored at ambient (room) temperature.

Q: What is vinegar made of?

The ingredients in vinegar depend on the type of vinegar produced.

White Distilled Vinegar is made from corn or grain alcohol.
Apple Cider Vinegar uses apple juice, concentrate or wine.
Wine Vinegar is made from grapes, grape concentrate or wine.
Balsamic Vinegar uses grapes or wine vinegar.
Rice Vinegar is made from rice or rice alcohol.
Malt Vinegar uses barley, malt beer or malt syrup.

All vinegars are diluted with water to the preferred acidity before bottling.
Learn more here

Q: Is there anything I should not use vinegar for?

Yes, there are certain surfaces you should not use vinegar to clean. Learn more here