The 6 most important types of vinegar: characteristics and properties - psychology - 2023



Do you know how vinegar is made? Do you use it to add flavor to your dishes? Did you know that there are up to 6 types of vinegar?

In this article we will explain the characteristics of each of them. In addition, we will explain some of the properties (and use) of vinegar, especially in the gastronomic field.

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What is vinegar?

The term vinegar comes from the Latin “vinum acre”, which means “sour wine”. Thus, vinegar is a liquid substance with a sour taste; It is obtained through the acetic fermentation of alcohol (through bacteria called "Mycoderma aceti"). On the other hand, it contains between 3 and 5% acetic acid in water.

Specifically, vinegar is a liquid solution (in some cases a little thicker) of acetic acid obtained by a fermentation process. In addition, salts and extracts of other materials are added to this solution.

As for its origin, the first vinegar to be made and popularized was wine vinegar. Its history is actually very old, and the sacred books already mentioned vinegar (and wine).


To obtain it, vinegar goes through two fermentation processes: the first is alcoholic fermentation (the action of ferments transforms sugar into alcohol); the second is the acetic process, which involves a large group of bacteria (specifically, aceto-bacteria). These bacteria combine oxygen and alcohol to produce acetic acid..

The types of vinegar

There are different types of vinegar, depending on their ingredients and their characteristics. The vinegar that is most consumed (or the best known) is distilled white vinegar. The classification that we are going to present of the different types of vinegar is based on two parameters: the methods of making it and the material or ingredients used to make it.

1. Wine vinegar

Wine vinegar is obtained by fermentation (exclusively). It is the vinegar most used in the gastronomy sector, especially in Europe (especially Italy and France).

In turn, wine vinegar can be from different types of wine:

1.1. Red wine vinegar

This type of vinegar is especially indicated to accompany red meats, as it enhances its flavor.

1.2. White wine vinegar

This second type of vinegar is a good option to cook some sauces, such as hollandaise sauce or mayonnaise.

1.3. Other types of wine vinegar

Other types of vinegar made with wine, and perhaps less known, although very original, are: vinegar with fine herbs, fruit (for example strawberries, raspberries ...) or garlic wine vinegar.

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2. Apple or cider vinegar

Apple or cider vinegar is a milder vinegar; thus, its flavor is preferred by many. It is made either through the pulp of the apple or its juice.

How is it made? The sugar in the fruit is first converted to alcohol and then to acetic acid. Another option is to obtain this vinegar through cider or fermented apple. Cider or apple vinegar is ideal to add to salads, white meats and fish.

3. Distilled white vinegar

Distilled white vinegar, as we have already mentioned, is one of the most widely used and consumed types of vinegar. It is obtained through distillation, just before the alcohol has been converted into acetic acid.

The strong flavor of distilled white vinegar is explained by the fact that its production process makes its acetic acid content very high. Thus, this type of vinegar is obtained from corn, molasses or sugar cane. On the other hand, it is widely used to make packaged sauces, for example.

4. Sherry Vinegar

The next of the types of vinegar is sherry vinegar. Specifically, It is produced by submerged fermentation with wines with the Designation of Origin of Jerez. In addition, they make it in 500-liter oak jars. The system they use is called “Criaderas Soleras”.

This type of vinegar is perfect for salads; In addition, it is a good option to dress almost any dish of traditional Mediterranean cuisine. It is also one of the ingredients in gazpacho.

In turn, Sherry vinegar can be of two types:

4.1. Sherry Vinegar "Reserve"

The first type is Sherry vinegar "Reserva"; its aging period in boots must be at least 2 years.

4.2. Sherry Vinegar "Solera"

The second type is Sherry vinegar "Solera"; It is a type of vinegar that must have undergone an aging period of at least 6 months in boots.

5. Modena Vinegar

The next of the types of vinegar is that of Modena, with a little thicker consistency (it is not as liquid as the previous ones), and of a dark brown color. Modena vinegar is especially used to add flavor to salads (as a dressing). Its origin is Italian, and it is made with fresh grape must.

Regarding its elaboration, the must is boiled to concentrate the flavor and sugar content, and then it is left to age between 6 and 12 years.

On the other hand, this type of vinegar is also used to make vinaigrettes or other types of sauces, such as yogurt sauce. To combine with food / dishes, Modena vinegar is ideal for fatty fish (such as tuna or salmon).

We must bear in mind, however, that the Modena vinegars that they usually sell in the supermarket are not original, but have added significant amounts of sugar.

6. Rice vinegar

Rice vinegar has a fairly mild flavor, although it has a sour touch. It is white to pale gold in color. It is extracted from the fermentation of rice.

This type of vinegar is used especially in Japanese cuisine, to season dishes such as sushi.

Properties and uses of vinegar

Now that we have seen the 6 types of vinegar that exist (or their 6 large groups), we are going to know some of the properties of vinegar (and some of its uses).

1. Natural preservative

Vinegar has the property of preserve food naturally; that is why in the food industry it is used for it. In addition, it reduces the pH of food, preventing bacteria from growing.

2. Ideal for marinating

The vinegar helps to tenderize meats, as it unfolds its fibers and proteins. That is why it can be a good product to marinate.

3. Antibacterial agent

On the other hand, vinegar can also be used as an antibacterial agent; this is because helps eliminate some bacteria that could harm our health. For example, it prevents the proliferation of fungi, neutralizes unpleasant odors and disinfects.

4. Highlight the flavor

Another property of vinegar is that it highlights the flavor of many dishes and / or foods (for example salads, meats, sauces ...). It is a good option since adds a touch of acidity to dishes.