How To Make a Balsamic Vinegar Reduction

Using vinegar on salad

Balsamic vinegar, combined with olive oil, is a popular salad dressing due to its rich tangy flavor.  Through modification, balsamic vinegar can be a versatile sauce for meats and fruits.  Reducing it can significantly alter the tangy flavor into a sweeter and richer one.  Balsamic vinegar can be reduced in a short time through a series of simple steps.

  1. Place a saucepan on a stove.  Make sure the saucepan you use is a non-stick, enamel coated pan.  A stainless steel coated or cast aluminum pan can be an alternative as well.  Saucepans without any coating can significantly change the flavor of the balsamic vinegar.
  2. You can either turn the heat of the stove to medium or high.  This will depend on how well you can manipulate the balsamic vinegar in the chosen saucepan.
  3. Pour a cup of balsamic vinegar onto the pre-heated saucepan.  Constant stirring or whisking of the balsamic vinegar is required to achieve the desired consistency.
  4. The desired consistency needed for a balsamic vinegar reduction is usually the same thickness as that of a typical maple or pancake syrup.  Normally, a good balsamic reduction is reached if 1/3 of the original amount of the vinegar remains.  Make sure that you remove the saucepan from the stove a few seconds before achieving the desired consistency.
  5. Let the pan sit for a few minutes and allow it to become more viscous.  If the vinegar seems to be too thick, you can opt to add water in small amounts to retain the desired consistency.
  6. If you are planning to use the reduced balsamic vinegar as a topping or condiment, combining the hot liquid with butter is recommended.  The reduced liquid will definitely sweeten to a certain point.  Normally, if you want to use the reduced vinegar as a sweet glaze on a fruit or pastry dish, it might be worthwhile to add a spoon of brown sugar while still hot.  You may also add other flavors to the liquid depending on what final taste you want the concoction to bring out.

Keep in mind that purchasing low-quality and generic balsamic vinegar brands is not recommended if you are planning to reduce it.  Using high-quality balsamic vinegar is highly essential in reduction.

Balsamic vinegar reduction is a simple process.  With a little experimentation and following these simple steps, you can easily concoct a sauce that can bring many varied and wonderful flavors to virtually any dish.


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