I have found over the years to make my resolutions more obtainable like, drinking more water, not taking life for granted, physical activity for at least 30 minutes a day (walking/running/dancing), continue with my low fat lifestyle, stop procrastinating, step out of my comfort zone occasionally, learn new things/words each month and spending more time/connect with family.
This month I want you to be involved with one of my resolutions, the one about learning new things/words each month. Granted that means we are going to have to learn eleven new things during February but what the hey, we can do it, right! Together we will tackle things like Fairy Water, what an Emulsifier is, Chow Chow, Chutney, Butters (not what comes from a cow), what the hype is with Balsamic Vinegar and Conserve.
Let’s start the month off with learning something about Balsamic Vinegar. I mean seriously, what is the big deal and why does some of this stuff cost as much as a pair of my shoes? I started doing some research on this liquid gold after I received a bottle for Christmas from my son. He seemed so proud of my gift and must have thought I was a crazy woman when I gave him the “oh my,….thanks”. I literally had no idea how coveted this vinegar was until I started talking to my friends about it.
So, off to the internet I went to see why some people thought Balsamic Vinegar was the God’s nectar. I found that “true” balsamic is aged in oak casks and is from the Modena Region. The vinegar is aged a minimum of 12 years and up to 25 (the longer the aging process, the higher the price tag). I was told when you purchase balsamic you need to read the ingredients and be sure the “grape must” (grape juice) is the first ingredient because it’s important to the flavor and the amount of years it’s been aged will tell you the value/worth of the balsamic as well as the region it’s from (Modena Region). A name to look for is Aceto Balsamic Tratizonale Vinegar.
I actually saw a bottle in my research that was quite similar to the one I received for Christmas…..ouch. Friends have told me that if you try good quality balsamic you will find that it taste phenomenal on fresh strawberries. I guess that will be one of my first attempts in the Test Kitchen when I get brave enough to crack open the bottle I received for Christmas. A few months ago I purchased a spray bottle of DeLallo Balsamic Vinegar from Plumb’s Market and used it on my green beans when I sauté them, adding it just as they were finishing up (you are not suppose to heat up balsamic just use as finishing flavor). This month I will be delving into how we can use balsamic vinegar in other dishes and share those recipes with you on my blog site lowfatdivablog.com
If you don’t want to take the risk of purchasing the “true” balsamic, I was told by a very reliable source that you can age supermarket balsamic with this easy recipe. In a sauce pan add 1/3 cup of balsamic, 1 tablespoon of Port and 1 tablespoon of sugar and slowly cook it over low heat until the mixture is ½ the original volume.