Sponsored post in collaboration with Sarson’s.
Ask most UK citizens about vinegar and they will most likely conjure up images of fish and chips doused in Sarson’s malt vinegar. Sadly though most chippies, in fact, don't even use vinegar today, opting instead for "non-brewed condiment", an abysmal, budget solution of industrial acid and synthetic colouring that seems caustic enough to take your breath away by smell alone. This synthetic substance cannot even be legally called vinegar.
Vinegar has been used for thousands of years and according to The Oxford Companion to Food (Alan Davidson) its origins are untraceable. One of the earliest references to vinegar is from the 5th century BC where Hippocrates recommends its medicinal powers. These days however, it is mainly in use as a flavouring and preserving agent.
Archaeologists have found traces of it in 5000-year-old Egyptian urns, and sour wine features many times in the Bible, most memorably as a final indignity at Calvary.
Vinegar is naturally occurring, indeed the word vinegar comes from the French vin aigre, meaning sour wine. Sour wine is not, by any means, the same as a fine vinegar made in a controlled process. Not all acetic acid producing bacteria give a satisfactory taste nor are they all safe for consumption.
There are many types of vinegar: malt, cider, wine, balsamic and rice to name but a few. As for Sarson's, well, they sell:
Sure we all know that vinegar can be used to pickle, preserve, and is fabulous on your chips but did you know it's a great item for eco friendly cleaning?
Worcester(shire) sauce originated in the 1840s. The story goes that it was the result of an accidental oversight in a Worcester chemist’s shop. A barrel of spiced vinegar, made according to an Indian recipe for a customer went uncollected and was left for some years in the basement of the shop. The liquid began to ferment, possibly according to some sources because of the addition of soy sauce. The shopkeeper was about to throw out this ‘spoiled’ barrel but happened to taste the contents and rather enjoy the spicy brew. He therefore bottled and sold the sauce and having found it to be a good seller continued to make some more.
Worcester sauce is now widely used not only in English cookery but all over the globe, sometimes in locally manufactured versions such as ustasosu in Japan.