How Greeks Use Vinegar in Greek Cuisine

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Fresh baguette with an olive oil, balsamic vinegar and fresh herb dip.Vinegar is one of those ingredients that most of us don’t think about much. We reach for it when we need to dress a salad or when the recipe calls for it. Other than that, it sits in our kitchens, relatively forgotten until the next time we need it. In Greek cooking, vinegar is one of those things that has always had a place and it has been used in some form since Ancient Greece. Even Hippocrates in some of his works has been known to prescribe vinegar for certain health conditions. In modern Greece, vinegar is still being used. Here’s more information about vinegar and its uses in Greek Cuisine:

How Vinegar is Made

Chemically speaking, vinegar is made up of 5% – 20% acetic acid, water, and other flavoring agents. It is made through a chemical process that occurs once alcohol touches the air. Technically speaking, it is created through a process of fermentation that involves ethanol and acetic bacteria. This means that alcoholic beverages such as wine and other spirits can be used to make vinegar.

Most Common Type of Vinegar In Greece

Because of its rich winemaking tradition, the most common type of vinegar that can be found in Greece is wine vinegar. It is rare to find other types of wine, such as apple cider vinegar and distilled vinegar. You may have heard that Hippocrates encouraged the use of apple cider vinegar for certain health conditions. However, if you read some of the writing of Hippocrates, you will notice that he actually didn’t specify what type of wine he typically used. Since wine vinegar is the most commonly used product in Greece and has been since ancient times. Although it is difficult to say which type of vinegar he really used, a logical assumption would be that he actually used wine vinegar.

Drinking Vinegar for Wine

Many people erroneously believe that the wine of Ancient Greece tasted like vinegar. This is only a half-truth. The wine that was produced in Ancient Greece was considered to be a high quality, unfermented product. However, it was often expensive and not everyone in the population could afford it. To replace it, they would drink a beverage referred to as “fouska” which was wine vinegar that has been mixed with water. Since wine vinegar was much cheaper than wine, this replacement beverage was fairly common.

Vinegar in Today’s Greek Cuisine

Vinegar is still being used in Greek cuisine. Although most Greek salads are primarily dressed with olive oil and herbs such as oregano, some people do sprinkle some wine vinegar on their salads if they have it handy. However, it’s mainly used in many popular Greek dishes such as tzatziki, lentil soup, seafood dishes, and skordalia. It is especially used in dishes that don’t involve the use of tomato or lemon, which also provide a level of acidity to a dish. Besides that, you might still find people drinking fouska, especially since it was such a big part of the culture at one time.

Vinegar is an important condiment in Greek cooking, especially in Greek cuisine.

Sources:

Wikipedia – Vinegar

Wikipedia – Hippocrates

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This post was written by GreekBoston.com

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