Vinegar is a miracle solution. You can cook with it, clean with it, even rinse your hair with it. There are aged vinegars, flavored vinegars organic vinegars and thousands of other variations on this ancient product. Here in Traverse City, we even have a store devoted to the sale of it.
All of that said, imagine my surprise at this statement, “You know white vinegar is made of oil, don’t you?” I didn’t take these words lightly. They came from the mouth of a wise friend whose opinions and ideas I take to heart. I didn’t argue with him, because I didn’t know, but I couldn’t just let that conversation go. I had to do more research because, well, I love my white vinegar!
In my searching, I stumbled upon this post at Tiny Choices that discusses vinegar at length. I won’t rewrite her post here, but it is true. Most white vinegar is made with by products of the petroleum industry. The worst part is that this practice is sanctioned by the FDA and other government agencies established to protect us!
Ok, so chemically, the vinegar is probably the same as “natural” vinegar distilled the old-fashioned way. But do I want to encourage the use of petroleum by-products in my food? Do I want to wash my clothes in oil? Soak my pickles in oil? Rinse my dishes in oil? I can’t speak for you, but no, I don’t.
The vinegar I was buying didn’t state its source. Which means that it is pretty likely that it isn’t naturally distilled. Heinz touts purity on its labels, but Heinz is significantly more expensive than the vinegar I was buying so I had to keep looking. I checked all the vinegar labels at Meijer: none of them announced their source.
On to the next store. My neighborhood grocery, Tom’s, is generally a little pricier than Meijer, but with time comes wisdom and I’m beginning to realize all the things that make paying a little extra important even if it cuts into my budget. Tom’s employees are friendly and cheerful. They are willing to help you and they still carry out your groceries for you if you want that service. Many of the employees have been with the company for a long time; that says a lot. I could go on all day about the merits of local businesses over box-stores, but this is a post about vinegar, no?
Once again, Tom’s comes through for me. The store-brand vinegar that they sell comes in a gallon jug, costs $2.29 and has this printed on the label:
So, do you know what’s in your vinegar?