Distilled white vinegar is something that we’ve all got a half-empty bottle of. You bought it ages ago for that thing you’ve forgotten about now, but you don’t really want to get rid of it because it might come in handy for something. Well, you’re right, it is handy! In this article, we’re going to take you through some of our favourite uses of white vinegar, both for food and other things too.

Close up of glass vase of vinegar against brown background
white vinegar on wooden background

Food Uses

There are many types of vinegar and distilled white vinegar doesn’t have too many traditional uses in western cooking. Typically, the only places that it’s used are ones where a different, but still acidic substance had been used for many years, and it was discovered that distilled white vinegar would work just as well, if not better.

A great example of this is when making ricotta cheese. Traditionally, lemon juice or a more specific cheese acid would be used to start the process by which the mixture turns to cheese, but it is now known that distilled white vinegar does the job a little better. Therefore, an awful lot of people now use it for that purpose, as it does it so well.

In Eastern cooking, it has a great place in marinades and pickles. In pickles, it serves to give a distinctive flavor, as well as to help preserve all the ingredients present within them. Interestingly, due to its acidic nature, it also has an important use in marinades: to help tenderize meat. Typically, to tenderize meat you might use a specialist piece of equipment, but you’ll essentially just be relying on brute force to do the work. For people who struggle with things like that in the kitchen, using white vinegar-based marinades may do the trick almost as well, leaving you with deliciously tender meat to enjoy in your meal

Cleaning Uses

White distilled vinegar is a powerful acid, there are no two ways about it. It’s particularly useful as a cleaning agent as it’s also food safe, which means that it can be used for cleaning and disinfecting. You can use it to clean a piece of kitchen equipment, and the equipment won’t need sterilizing afterwards.

The most convenient use of a bottle of white vinegar in cleaning, at least from my point of view, is to dissolve built-up solids on different pieces of equipment. I use it most of all for the steam wand on my espresso machine, which can have a problem with the build-up of dried milk. The distilled vinegar dissolves it with no problem, and then I can just wipe it with paper towels.

It also has non-kitchen uses. For example, it is often used to clean windows on houses and cars, as it can dissolve built-up dirt and grime quickly and easily. I’ve done this myself on the windows in our kitchen, and as long as you give it a thorough rinse, your windows do get very clear.

Distilled vinegar has a whole host of uses in the kitchen, from cleaning in that way to descaling kettles, to unblocking drains. It’s an indispensable helping hand in the kitchen which I certainly couldn’t go without. So don’t throw it away, find another use for it today.

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