You wouldn't think vinegar would be exciting. True, balsamic vinegar has developed a gourmet following, and I enjoy using it now and again myself. But aside from that, vinegar has previously only had a couple of minor uses in my kitchen: white vinegar for cleaning and for making herb vinegars for salad dressing, and the rare bottle of cider vinegar for one or two recipes. The vinegar you find at the local grocery store is never anything to sing to the skies about, and so I'd never really given it much thought.
When I first spotted the cider vinegar at the farmers market, though, I decided that in the interest of stocking up on local foods whenever possible, I'd give it a try. I knew I'd need it for pickling and making relish over the summer, so I tucked it in the refrigerator until I started bringing home the produce.
The first whiff changed my mind about vinegar completely. This stuff was real, alive, and practically dancing its bubbly way around me, making me dizzy with delight. This vinegar actually smelled like apples and fresh cider, a realization that startled me. (Yes, I know that cider vinegar is made from letting cider ferment over several months. But the store-bought vinegar I'd always used before never offered that real connection for me.)
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