OK, I admit it. I have become addicted to aged vinegar. And when you need a lot of something that is expensive, you need to look for alternatives. I searched for “faux” aged vinegar and found a good number of sites, many of them with the same recipe. So I set out to experiment.
Having tried in the past to reduce vinegar, my big takeaway was that you DO NOT do this in the house. Your lungs and eyes will sting and you will choke from the acid in the air. I am not kidding about this. Do it outside. I went and bought a $15 single burner that I could use outside on the deck (a good investment since one good bottle of aged vinegar easily goes for $35 and up).
The first recipe had to boil for awhile to reduce it. I left it unattended and it seized, like candy when it exceeds the perfect temperature. I threw away the pot and tried another recipe, this time attending to it as it boiled. It wasn’t quite right. So I adjusted a bit until I found what I considered very passable “aged” vinegar, for the price – less than $5.00. for 8 oz.
Don’t be put off by the sugar, as I initially was. As vinegar ages, the natural sugars emerge and it is indeed sweet. So try it and let me know how you like it.
1 cup inexpensive Modena vinegar. I like Trader Joe’s in the 33.8 oz jug. $3.50
4 oz. inexpensive port wine
3 Tbs. packed light brown sugar
3 Tbs. Turbinado sugar
Combine the vinegar and port wine in a stainless steel pot. Bring to a medium boil. Let it boil for 10 minutes, stirring frequently. Add sugars, stir to dissolve and continue boiling . Watch it closely and stir continuously, for another 4 minutes.
Remove from heat, let cool and enjoy!
*If you want it a bit thicker, boil it longer, but before you add the sugar.
You can add an essence like blueberry. Wash and thoroughly dry the fruit and add it for the first boil. Strain the mix prior to adding the sugar and continue boiling as above. You can reduce the sugar slightly when adding sweet fruit.