If your white pants are so eager to be worn that they're practically yelling, "wear me now," then you're probably anticipating a legendary Memorial Day weekend. Who doesn't love barbecue, food and celebration?
But if choosing your barbecue menu is as nerve-racking as picking a gift for your mother-in-law, go for something flavorful, yet simple. Many of us like red wine (except those white pants, of course), but have you ever tried it's vinegar counterpart? Red wine vinegar is a great way to add a serious punch of flavor to your meats, salads and even desserts. I'll tell you all about this versatile vinegar - health benefits, recipes and all.
So what exactly is red wine vinegar? It may come as a surprise that red wine vinegar was nothing more than a medieval mishap. As the story goes, centuries ago, a poorly sealed case of wine was stored for too long, and it was exposed to oxygen. When the case was eventually opened, the liquid they expected to be wine had a sour taste, and it soon became known as vinegar - "sour wine" in French. They decided to put this sour wine to use. People found it to be a beneficial remedy for many ailments, as well as a flavor enhancer in foods.
Red wine vinegar includes acetic acid, which, for the science-minded folks out there, is produced via fermentation. You can find red wine vinegar in most Mediterranean countries and in less exotic locales like your pantry. Red wine vinegar, like red wine, is free of cholesterol, fat and sodium, and it's packed with anti-aging antioxidants. Unlike red wine, it's virtually free of calories. Red wine vinegar helps with the digestive process, allowing your body to absorb essential vitamins and minerals more efficiently. Plus, it helps slow the absorption of sugar, which may prevent spikes in blood sugar levels. (Disclaimer: This is not an excuse to reach for a Snickers.)
Now that we know its history and health benefits, let's talk about incorporating red wine vinegar into our Memorial Day dishes, along with our everyday lives. For those who need training wheels to add red wine vinegar to your summer lineup, start with these ideas:
Keri's Easy Red Wine Vinegar Summertime Marinade
-- 1/3 cup red wine vinegar
-- 2 tablespoons olive oil
-- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
-- 2 teaspoons garlic, minced
-- 1 teaspoon oregano
-- 1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper
Combine these ingredients, which yield about 1/2 cup that can be used for up to 2 pounds of meat.
Vinegar veggies. For those looking for an even simpler fix, try this: Combine red wine vinegar, your favorite herbs and a dash of olive oil. Add this mixture to your veggies. Get the grill going, and before you know it, your veggies will have an irresistible flavor that guests will love.
Healthy dessert. For the grand finale, let's complete this summer kickoff with a sweet, healthy dessert. You can never go wrong with grilled fresh fruit. Slice and peel mango and pineapple, and top them with a splash of red wine vinegar, olive oil, and freshly squeezed lemon. This is a dessert you will be hooked on all summer long!
Hungry for more? Write to firstname.lastname@example.org with your questions, concerns, and feedback.
Keri Glassman, MS, RD, CDN, is the founder and president of Nutritious Life, a nutrition practice based in New York City, and Nutritious Life Meals, a gourmet, healthy, daily diet delivery program available across the country. She is a member of Women's Health Magazine's advisory board and has authored Slim Calm Sexy Diet, The O2 Diet, and The Snack Factor Diet. Her fourth book, The New You and Improved Diet, will be released in December. Her expertise is regularly featured on the Today show, Good Morning America, and Access Hollywood Live, among others, and she hosts "A Little Bit Better" on YouTube's Livestrong Woman channel. Read more of Keri's tips every day on Facebook!