Is black vinegar gluten free?

Is black vinegar gluten free?

There are some gluten free black vinegars, but most contain wheat bran. Below you’ll find info about black vinegar, some substitutes, gluten free options, and a few recipes that use it.

Chinese black vinegar is known by many different names, such as dark vinegar, Chinkiang vinegar, or Zhenjiang vinegar. Black vinegars in China tend to be made with rice, wheat, millet, sorghum, or a combination of these. Japanese black vinegar is called kurozu, and is only made with rice.

Black vinegar’s flavor is malty, woody, and smoky. It also tends to be more aromatic and less acidic than regular rice vinegar. For more information about the regional variance in black vinegar, we’d recommend this article as a starting point.

black vinegar

Black vinegar brewing from Tourist in Japan

Black vinegar is made by inoculating whole steamed grains with a starter culture, which is then left to ferment and age for at least 6 months and up to 3 years. The vinegar darkens and develops more complexity during the aging process. Balsamic vinegar has a similar aging process, but uses only liquid (grape juice) fermentation and wooden barrels rather than stone. Black vinegar is less sweet and has a more malty, subtle flavor than balsamic.

This type of vinegar isn’t distilled, so any grains used during brewing would still be present in the finished product. It’s also a fermented food, which makes it difficult to test for gluten levels because the proteins are broken down. For this reason, it’s best to buy black vinegar that isn’t made with gluten-containing grains.

Black Vinegar Substitutions

  • 1:1 mixture of balsamic vinegar + rice wine vinegar

  • 2:1 mixture of balsamic or rice vinegar + gf soy sauce

Gluten Free Black Vinegars

You can purchase gluten free black vinegar online by following the links below! But please make sure to double-check the ingredients of the item you receive, to make sure you have the gluten free version. If you decide to search your own local store for black vinegar, know that any unidentified ‘bran’ on the label often means wheat bran, so you’ll want to skip those types.

black vinegar

Black vinegar pickled garlic from Porch Wine and Gravy

Recipes That Use Black Vinegar

black vinegar

Chinese steamed crab from Serious Eats

* Title image courtesy of Feast Glorious Feast.

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