Difference Between Balsamic Vinegar and White Vinegar

Balsamic Vinegar vs White Vinegar

Strangers to the culinary world may indeed be surprised to find that there are many types of vinegar used in the world today. The reason for this is that vinegar can be made from almost any that has natural sugar in it. Vinegar is produced by letting the yeast ferment the sugars into alcohol which is once again converted to vinegars by a certain type of bacteria. Balsamic vinegar and white vinegar are two such types of vinegar that are commonly used in the culinary world today.

What is Balsamic Vinegar? 

Produced in the Reggio Emilia and Modena provinces of Italy, balsamic vinegar is a popular and flavoursome vinegar that is available in a variety of forms. The traditional balsamic is made from the concentrated juice of white Trebbiano grapes and is dark brown in colour, complex in flavour and very sweet. Balsamic vinegar is considered as artisanal food similar to great wines of which the finer varieties are aged in barrels made of oak, chestnut, mulberry, cherry, juniper, acacia wood and ash. Originally, balsamic wines were a costly product aged from 12-25 years made available only to the Italian upper classes. They are now marked “tradizionale” or “DOC” to protect its Protected Designation of Origin status. One can often find a leaf rating system ranked from one to four. This system would also aid one to figure out the use of the vinegar. For example, vinegar with one leaf rating can be used as a salad dressing whereas vinegars that feature four leaves are quite strong in nature and can be used as seasoning a dish right before serving. 

The non-DOC commercial brands are much cheaper and are marked ‘acetobalsamico di Modena’ for ease of recognition. This is the type that one is most likely to find in American grocery stores.

Because of the arduous production process of the balsamic vinegar, only a limited number of stocks make it to the market each year. What is available in the market is quite costly owing to the same reason.

What is White Vinegar? 

A commonly used type of vinegar in American households, white vinegar is a clear type of vinegar commonly used in households also known as distilled vinegar. It is produced from either laboratory-produced acetic acid diluted with water or grain-based ethanol, mostly malt. In some instances, it is also derived from petroleum. Alcohol is fermented and is then diluted to produce a colourless liquid containing 5% to 8% acetic acid in water with a pH value of about 2.4. White vinegar is quite harsh in nature and, other than cooking, it is often used for laboratory and cleaning purposes, as well. In the culinary world, white vinegar is ideal for pickling, baking and preservation of meat.

What is the difference between White Vinegar and Balsamic Vinegar?

While for those engaged in the culinary arts, the many characteristics of each vinegar may possess a world of difference, for those unfamiliar with the world of food may not be very much aware of these differences. White vinegar and balsamic vinegar are two popular types of vinegars used in the culinary world today, each possessing a distinct identity in themselves. 

• Balsamic vinegar is a costly artisanal vinegar that is considered a rarity in the culinary world. White vinegar is the most commonly used type of vinegar used in American households.

• Balsamic vinegar is made from the concentrated juice of white Trebbiano grapes. White vinegar is either obtained from fermenting alcohol or by diluting laboratory-produced acetic acid with water.

• Balsamic vinegar is a flavoursome, aromatic vinegar that has a leaf grading system to discern their quality. White vinegar is more acidic and stronger in nature.

• White vinegar is also used for laboratory and cleaning purposes. Balsamic vinegar is used purely for cooking purposes.

• White vinegar is a colourless liquid. Balsamic vinegar is dark brown in colour.


Further Reading:

  1. Difference Between Balsamic Vinegar and Red Wine Vinegar
  2. Difference Between White Vinegar and Rice Vinegar 
  3. Difference Between Acetic Acid and Vinegar