There’s a joke that goes around that you will never see an advert for vinegar yet it sells billions of litres a year worldwide. The salty and sometimes bitter liquid is so important it doesn’t need any pushing. Vinegar comes in many varieties including white, malt, balsamic and many other varieties. These kinds of vinegar are made from a wide variety of base ingredients include rice, fruit, cider, malt and more. The different vinegar varieties bring different qualities and elements to the party. Now if you happen to need white vinegar and can’t get your hands on it what could you possibly use as a substitute. First, let’s get to know white vinegar.
White vinegar is made from alcohol that is oxygenated allowing bacteria to grow and produce the acetic acid that gives vinegar its bitter sharp taste. The alcohol used in white vinegar is made from grain. The vinegar is then further distilled to get the stuff we use in our food. White vinegar has many applications in salads, baking, cooking, pickling and even household cleaning. Our focus is on substituting white vinegar in food. There are a few options you can turn to.
Lemon juice is a great substitute for white vinegar. If you are trying to substitute it in a recipe that uses white vinegar as a condiment, topping or in its fresh state. Lemon juice is available the world over and is a very popular condiment in its own right. You have two options for lemon juice fresh squeezed or bottled. In most places, you can find lemons on sale all year round and they don’t cost much. This is ideal because the taste of freshly squeezed lemon juice is unparalleled. If you cannot find lemons because of them being out of season you should check the condiments aisle in your supermarket or grocery store for bottled lemon juice. You will find many brands that are 100% lemon juice. You can use this as a substitute for white vinegar. If you need the white vinegar for cooking, baking or pickling lemon juice may not be the most effective substitute. Vinegar’s main ingredient that it brings to cooking and pickling is acetic acid. Lemons are abundant in citric acid which does not bring the same qualities as acetic acid. So if the recipe requires pickling, cooking, baking or some other processing look at other options on the list.
If you can substitute white vinegar with lemon juice then you can substitute white vinegar with lime juice as well. Limes are citrus fruits that are very similar to lemons with slight differences in colour, size and flavour. Limes are firstly smaller than lemons with a rounder shape than lemons. Limes are green when ripe, both on the inside and outside while lemons will ripen to a bright yellow colour. Where lemons have a sharp sour to bitter flavour limes have a sweet tartness to them. They of course have the same notes of citrus. Limes are not quite as popular as lemons so you may not have as easy a time finding them. You have the same options of finding fresh limes and squeezing the juice yourself. This is the best bet especially if going into a salad or being used as a condiment. You can also find lime juice that is pre squeezed and bottled. 100% options are commonplace but this is a second choice and most viable in the absence of fresh limes or if you want to use lime juice again and are not sure when. If you’re working on a recipe that involves pickling or cooking then lime juice may not make the best substitute.
Another popular type of vinegar that you can use as a substitute for white vinegar is cider vinegar. As the name suggests cider vinegar is made from the fermented juice of fruits and mostly apples. You will find apple cider vinegar almost everywhere as it is a very popular product but there are other fruits used to produce cider vinegar including raspberries. Because it is vinegar, cider vinegar has more applications in which it can substitute white vinegar. You can use it in cooking, baking and pickling. White vinegar typically has 4-7% acetic acid which is close to apple cider vinegar’s 5-6% acetic acid content. So you can use cider vinegar as a substitute for white vinegar in more than just salads or as a condiment. You can safely use apple cider vinegar as a substitute for white vinegar in cooking, baking and even pickling. The key when substituting cider vinegar for white vinegar is to match the volume of acetic acid, so rather than replacing one part white vinegar with one part cider vinegar calculate the volume of acetic intended in the recipe and use the amount of apple cider vinegar that has the same volume of acetic acid.
Another viable substitute for white vinegar is malt vinegar. Malt or malted vinegar is made from grains just like white vinegar. In the case of malt vinegar grains such as barley are malted. This process involves soaking the grains in water and germinating them then halting the germination process by drying them out with hot air. The grains are then brewed into an ale like mixture which is then further fermented which turns the ale into vinegar. The vinegar is briefly aged to concentrate the flavour. Malt vinegar is widely available and you will find it in either the baking items or condiments section of your supermarket. It has a flavour that is a mix of lemon, nut and caramel which makes it just as or perhaps more popular than white vinegar. You can use malt vinegar as a white vinegar substitute in salads, as a condiment, in cooking, baking and pickling. Malt vinegar is often favoured in pickling over white vinegar because of the additional flavour it brings. You will find malt vinegar has between 4 and 8% acetic acid and the same guidelines as those discussed in cider vinegar above should be followed when substituting malt vinegar for white vinegar in pickling.
If you just want to replace white vinegar as a condiment all four options will work for you the lemon and lime juice are pretty much limited to just this application. If it’s for cooking, baking or pickling go for cider vinegar or malt vinegar which also have acetic acid like white vinegar.