Balsamic vinegar puts some zing into summer eating

A lovely new refrigerator recently came to live in my kitchen. It necessitated carpentry work on the cabinets surrounding it (this fridge is taller than its predecessor). The shortened cabinet above the appliance is now not high enough to accommodate the tall bottles formerly kept there.

Needless to say, I didn’t have a bunch of empty shelves just sitting there ready to move said bottles onto. Therefore, other items had to shift around to vacate space for the bottles. This, in turn, made me move other necessary things. You get the drift.

All this moving around of kitchen items led me to a revelation. I had some duplicates — lots of them.

For example, the odds and ends of bread were over the top. Many were stale (politely referred to as “day-old”), although I’d purposely kept them and none was moldy. I like to turn them into croutons, turkey dressing, bread crumbs and occasionally French Toast, but I have to admit this was ridiculous (an accumulation, not a collection).

Some of my dried herbs had lost some of their “zing” and some of their bright color, too. And, yes, there were a few duplicates.

I’d collected no less than 12 various and sundry bottles of Balsamic vinegar. I think this borders on an hoard, rather than a collection. They ranged from sample size to full size, all from different places at different times. The bottles held quite a selection of colors as well.

Thankfully, as long as it’s tightly closed and kept out of bright light and heat, Balsamic vinegar is good to use. There is actually Balsamic vinegar that has been aged (purposely) for over 100 years. The longer you keep it, under the right conditions, the better it tastes.

I’ll be shopping for some new and different recipes for all that good vinegar. Got some? Please share. Meanwhile, here’s one I’m making good use of. It’s quick, it’s yummy, and it keeps well in my new fridge.



2 cups Balsamic vinegar

3/4 cup granulated or turbinado sugar

2 tablespoons butter

In a medium saucepan, combine all three ingredients and stir to dissolve sugar. Heat for about 25 minutes, stirring occasionally, until sauce thickens slightly and coats the back of a spoon.

This is good on meats, drizzled over tomatoes, and over roasted or grilled root veggies.

Makes about two cups.

Linda Conway Eriksson can be reached by e-mail at