Hunger for Life

How to Make a Balsamic Reduction: Easy and Kind of Life Changing

A couple of weeks ago, I went on and on about the power—and delicious beauty—that is the balsamic glaze from Trader Joe’s. But because I know some of ya’ll don’t have a Trader Joe’s down the road (and for that, I’m sorry—I’m willing them to come your way!) nor do you have the funds to buy this stuff pre-bottled (it isn’t cheap most places), today I’m making good on my promise. Because for this Hunger for Life, I’m sharing how I make my balsamic reduction. It’s pretty quick, totally easy and may just change your life—or at least make your roasted Brussels sprouts even tastier. (Yes, we think that’s possible.)

First things first. Grab your balsamic vinegar. I don’t use anything fancy, but do know that—like wine—what you use will reduce and intensify the flavor. So you want to have a balsamic vinegar you don’t mind the flavor of (I use this TJ’s stuff on salads all the time), but it doesn’t need to be super aged or anything.

balsamic-vinegar

Then, pour into a pan and turn that pan up to medium high. There’s no hard rule on how much you have to put in the pan. We’ll be reducing the volume by half, so start with twice as much as you want as a balsamic vinegar reduction end result. You jive?

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Go ahead and bring it on up to a lively little boil. Keep it there, whisking regularly to prevent burning. Once it reduces down to about half and starts to coat the pan, you’ll be ready to take it off the heat. For the small amount I was doing here (about a 3/4 cup to start), it only took about five minutes. Look at that nice syrupy coating!

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Then, pour it either onto your veggies directly or into a small bowl to use later. As soon as it comes off the heat it’ll thicken up though, so it’s best to use ASAP! Plus, why would you wait?

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Now some people add sugar and other herbs and stuff to their balsamic vinegar reduction, but me? I think plain is best. The balsamic vinegar reduction on its own is already pretty sweet and has a deep, rich flavor. Try it over roasted veggies, on fish and chicken or even as a foodie-a-fied topping for vanilla ice cream. Whatever you do, just try it!

Ever made a balsamic vinegar reduction before? What do you like to use yours for? —Jenn


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