May 29, 2014

What can you do with vinegar? - Marukan vinegar review


There are so many different kinds of vinegar you can choose from — in my cupboard right now I have organic raw unfiltered apple cider vinegar, premium rice vinegar from Japan, umeboshi plum vinegar, aged red wine vinegar, orange muscat champagne vinegar, chilies and balsamic vinegar, organic balsamic vinegar, organic distilled white vinegar and red red chili vinegar (yes, two reds). At least. And that doesn't include the Marukan rice vinegar and seasoned rice vinegar I received for review, or the gallons of cheap white vinegar I keep in the bathroom and laundry area for cleaning and fabric softener/deodorizer, or to put down the sink with baking soda to keep the drain clear. Seriously.

Miso soup with rice noodles.

Even with all those choices, when seasoning foods or making sauces or a marinade, the vinegar I turn to most often is rice vinegar. It seems more mellow and naturally sweet than other vinegars, and lends itself well to Asian style stir-fries, soups and bowls, which we cook often. Japanese food especially, requires a subtle, delicate hand with seasoning, as most of the flavor comes from careful preparation of the food, itself, and a touch of mellow rice vinegar can add just the right amount of brightness without overpowering the dish.

A little rice vinegar can really bring out the flavor in miso soup, for example, and Marukan rice vinegar is a favorite of ours, so I was delighted when I was offered samples to try.

Stir-frywith mung threads.

I received two varieties of naturally brewed rice vinegar and one bottle of ponzu sauce. Because the ponzu sauce contains wheat-based soy sauce and I have problems digesting wheat, I gave it to my son to try. He used some to marinate tofu and was very pleased with the result.

I've been mainly using the plain rice vinegar. The seasoned vinegar tastes really delicious, but it contains 530 milligrams of sodium and six grams of sugar per tablespoon. I prefer to add my own sugar and salt to food so I can control both the kind of salt and sugar I use as well as the amount. Marukan also makes a Seasoned Gourmet Rice Vinegar Lite with reduced salt and sugar if you are interested in using a seasoned variety, but I'd rather season it myself.

Old, boring, leftover lentil soup brightened with a splash of rice vinegar.

I love Marukan vinegar, and recommend it. The company sells organic versions of the plain rice vinegar as well as the gourmet seasoned rice vinegar, and that is what I would buy. It's worth noting, though, that even the regular rice vinegar is made with non-GMO rice.

According to the Marukan Web site, "Marukan Rice Vinegar is made by the cultivation of a slow and delicate process including fermentation, refining and aging — a special technique handed down over 360 years. It is a quality "jun-mai"(pure non-GMO rice) vinegar, brewed from only the finest selection of short-grained rice grown in California and naturally gluten free."You can find out more about Marukan products here.

How do you use vinegar in your cooking or in general? Or do you prefer to use lemon juice? In addition to the uses I've already mentioned, I once used vinegar to remove a wart! And, I know someone who says that taking apple cider vinegar in water after eating has cured his acid reflux.

update: I forgot to add to the list that I've used white vinegar to kill weeds. Here is a link to a recipe for homemade weed killer. I haven't tried it yet, but if plain vinegar worked, maybe the jazzed up version works even better.

Disclaimer: I was sent three free bottles of Marukan products for the purpose of review. I was not paid. I was not told what to write.

21 comments:

  1. We love their organic rice vinegar & like you, we have several different kinds of vinegars in our pantry. Everything you made looks fantastic!

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    1. Thanks, Molly. I wish they had sent me organic vinegar! Marukan brews a very nice vinegar, though.

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  2. I have to admit that I usually use vinegar in salad dressing concoctions and for cleaning as well; I've never thought of too much beyond that, so thanks for the tip!

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    1. I think I forgot to mention that I use vinegar in salad dressings, too, but I still prefer rice vinegar, even for salads.

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  3. I actually have the Marukan seasoned rice vinegar and like it a lot! I mainly use it in stir fries and peanut sauces. Apart from that, the vinegar I use most is apple cider vinegar, typically for baking or in salad dressings. It's definitely a versatile ingredient!

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    Replies
    1. I agree. I use it in baking, too, to get more rise from my cakes.

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  4. I like rice vinegar but I don't use it in all that many surprising places. It's incredible how many varieties there are. Have you ever infused yr own? I feel like I've seen some nice ones with fresh herbs.
    The vinegar I probably use the most is apple cider vinegar...yes, and white distilled to clean with.

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    1. I've never made my own flavored vinegar — too much fun buying it. I used to use mostly apple cider vinegar but lately I've really been into rice vinegar. Must be the arsenic that gets you hooked. (Just kidding ... I hope.)

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  5. Most of the time, I have cider vinegar, mirin and rice vinegar. Rice vinegar is my favourite because it goes so well in stir fries. I occasionally keep malt vinegar for pickling but it is quite strong. Balsamic is great in salads too,I don't have any at the moment. Nice post and a reminder for me that I need to get a bottle of the cheap stuff for cleaning too!

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    1. I've never had malt vinegar. I usually use cider vinegar or just salt for pickling. In addition to white vinegar for cleaning, it also makes a good weed killer! I should add that to the post.

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  6. I don't use the varieties of vinegar enough. Distilled and balsamic are my most used, but you've inspired me to break out my not-as-loved other varieties.

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    1. You should definitely try rice vinegar for cooking and seasoning — very mellow and sweet.

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  7. Very informative and inspiring. I never really know what to do with vinegar beyond cleaning and salad dressing! And occasionally raw apple cider in baking. Thanks for the inspiration!

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    1. Cleaning and salad dressing are both good uses for vinegar. It also makes nice sauces for stir-fries and suck.

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  8. I used to have a bunch of vinegars but I scaled it back. ACV, balsamic and rice vinegar only. I am curious whether the ponzu was vegan? I used to love it with oatmeal for breakfast but it wasn't vegan with the bonito flakes.

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    1. Good for you for taking control of your pantry! Yes, the ponzu was vegan, but if you really want ponzu, you can easily make it from the ingredients you have. That's what I did after I gave the bottle away.

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    2. Yeah, I resorted to the same thing. :)

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  9. Yup, for rice vinegar Marukan is the brand I like to get. Usually the plain, like you, I prefer to season myself. Unless I'm feeling lazy and have a bottle of the seasoned rice vinegar to use up. :-)

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    1. Yes. I guess I have a bottle of the seasoned stuff to use up now.

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  10. Snap! I use rice vinegar most too, even for things like non-Asian salad dressings, because it's a great subtle flavour. That, and white vinegar for cleaning!

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    1. Truthfully, most of my vinegars, except for rice vinegar for cooking and salads, and white vinegar for household use, just sit on the shelf looking pretty and taking up space.

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