How to Make Balsamic Reduction and How to Use It

How to make balsamic reduction and how to use it well

Complex in flavor, sweet, and easy to use in many different dishes, reducing balsamic vinegar is a very easy method that gives a punch of flavor. It mimics the more expensive balsamic vinegars but costs a fraction of the price!

What is balsamic vinegar reduction?

It’s just what it sounds like – it’s balsamic vinegar that has been reduced to a thicker, fuller flavor. I find that is has less acidic bite and a whole lot more complexity to its flavor. Making a balsamic reduction glaze is as simple as adding a little sugar or honey to it before it simmers down.

Making healthy food flavorful

Too often people associate healthy (or nourishing) eating habits with lack of flavor. There are two reasons for this. The first being that people used to highly processed foods need to give their taste buds time to adjust to a more natural diet. The second reason being under-flavoring food. Our food should be well salted (with a good, unrefined salt), spiced, herbed, it should use onions (such as this very flavorful caramelized onion recipe) and garlic, and mustard and the many other beautiful and flavor foods out there.

If one of your resolutions is to eating healthier food this year, make sure that you include a lot of flavorful and delicious options in your diet. Once you find how delicious and satisfying a nourishing diet is, you just may find it hard to go back to an unhealthy one.

What type of vinegar to use to make balsamic reduction

As mentioned above, this simple method mimics the flavor of the more expensive balsamic vinegars, but for much cheaper. If you spend the money on an expensive balsamic vinegar, I recommend you enjoy it as is (perhaps in a balsamic dressing such as the one in this sample from my salad cookbook). I recommend that you use any sort of inexpensive organic balsamic vinegar. One that I enjoy using is Bionatuae organic balsamic vinegar. It’s inexpensive but tastes great.

This brand, and other options, are available at Vitacost (an affiliate) – I buy natural body products and certain supplements from them, so it’s easy to add on some of their grocery products, which can be much cheaper. Shipping is free with order over $49.  There are some options at Amazon (also an affiliate), but right now it looks like the added shipping of the organic brands make it a more expensive choice.

How to use balsamic reduction and vinegar

  • Drizzle balsamic reduction over sliced avocados with a sprinkle of unrefined salt and enjoy as a tasty snack.
  • Or drizzle it over juicy, summer kissed tomatoes, perhaps with basil, unrefined salt, and mozzarella cheese for a flavorful mini-meal or appetizer.
  • Use balsamic vinegar to make a healthy and tasty, better-than-store-bought salad dressing. It’s my seven year old’s favorite way to enjoy green salads. (Download this sample from my salad cookbook for our favorite balsamic dressing recipe).
  • Use either the balsamic vinegar or the reduction to liven-up bowls of herbed beans. Many bean soups are perfectly suited for the tanginess of vinegar.
  • Use balsamic vinegar to bright the flavor or tomato based sauces (just a little will do it)!
  • Make a sweet reduction (perhaps with some cinnamon and cloves) and serve it with ice cream or strawberries.
  • Drizzle balsamic reduction over melons wrapped in prosciutto, peaches, figs and whatever other fruit catches your fancy.
  • Drizzle balsamic reduction over steamed or roasted vegetables.
  • Use balsamic reduction to flavor beef, chicken or fish.

How to make balsamic reduction and how to use it
 
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Complex in flavor, sweet, and easy to use in many different dishes, reducing balsamic vinegar is a very easy method that gives a punch of flavor. It mimics the more expensive balsamic vinegars but costs a fraction of the price!
Ingredients
  • 1 cup of balsamic vinegar
  • Optional: 1-4 tablespoons unrefined sweetener of choice (such as coconut sugar, maple syrup or honey), a cinnamon stick and/or a couple cloves, 1 bay leaf, 1 tablespoon minced fresh rosemary, part of an orange rind
Instructions
  1. In a medium sized saucepan that is nonreactive, add the balsamic vinegar and any flavoring agents you'd like (they are completely optional, but add their own flavorful dimensions. Don't add them all! Just one or two will be enough).
  2. Turn kitchen fan on high as vinegar is going to be floating into the air!
  3. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat, and then turn down heat to keep at a low simmer. It will take about 10-15 minutes to thicken and reduce. Keep a careful eye near the end as you don't want to burn it. When it coats a spoon, it will be thick enough. You can thicken it slightly, or make it as thick as molasses. You can reduce anywhere from ⅓ to ¾'s of the vinegar (but not more, unless you want to really risk burning it)! When reduced more, it will thicken up considerably once cooled. You can always gently reheat (and add a little water, as needed).

 

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I love beautiful and simple food that is nourishing to the body and the soul. I wrote Fresh: Nourishing Salads for All Seasons and Ladled: Nourishing Soups for All Seasons as another outlet of sharing this love of mine. I also love sharing practical tips on how to make a real food diet work on a real life budget. Find me online elsewhere by clicking on the icons below!

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Comments

  1. Tracey says

    Thanks so much for this list of ideas! I have made a balsamic chicken using a reduction that includes chicken broth, and I drizzle it over chicken and sauteed spinach. Can’t wait to try some of the things on your list — never thought to try it with an avocado!

  2. Rachel says

    Hi! Sounds lovely!!! Do you know if it will keep in the fridge? Sounds like it could be a great staple.

    Thanks,
    Rachel

  3. Denise in Winterpeg says

    I made balsamic reduction this year for the first time. Your idea for adding orange zest particularly intrigues me! I make it quite thick and love it drizzled over fruit, especially strawberries. For a gourmet touch to make a salad or dessert special try decorating the plate with a ribbon of this instead of chocolate! An instant taste wake up, and a delicious surprise for your guests! At New Years on individual wedge salads with strawberries and oranges this got kudos, even from the resident chocoholic!

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