Balsamic syrup, balsamic glaze, balsamic reduction. Call it what you like, this stuff is the goods.
Really, any of the above are just a fancy way of saying reduced balsamic vinegar.
You can buy a variety of reduced balsamic glazes in the grocery store but they’re often overpriced and filled with preserving ingredients that are unnecessary, not to mention kind of groddy.
Making it yourself couldn’t be easier and you can play around with infusing different flavors into your vinegar.
The versatility to this sweet-tangy sauce is endless. It can be used to dress salads, as a finishing sauce for grilled chicken or fish, as a dip for vegetables,and it’s delicious drizzled over vanilla ice cream or fresh berries- strawberries are my favorite!
As easy as it is to make, it does require some patience regarding the cooking time. And a few quick tips will help that the process goes smoothly.
The vinegar can burn all to quickly towards the end- like fine one minute, burned to holy high water the next. Resulting in a sour smelling kitchen and leaving you with a witch of a sauce pan to clean up. Keep in mind the size of the pan you’re using. The wider the base, the more surface area thus making the vinegar reduce quicker. If you use a smaller sauce pan, it will take longer to reduce the same amount of vinegar.
Once you bring the vinegar to a simmer, turn the heat back so it reduces slowly. It’s easy to have the heat to high on the vinegar and it will reduce to quickly, again, resulting in a burned vinegar mess.
If you can avoid over reducing the glaze, you’re home free.
I’m giving you a recipe calling for an exact amount of vinegar (2 cups). To make it easier on you! I know some of you like things “exact.” Not really my style but I like to make things as simple as I can on you! But if you like flying by the seat of your pants in the kitchen (my kind of cook!) you can use whatever amount of vinegar that suits your fancy and reduce it by about two thirds.
Once cooled, the balsamic glaze can be stored at room temperature or in the fridge. If you do store it in the fridge don’t be alarmed if it hardens a bit. Simply pull it out of the fridge well before you want to use it or put some warm water in a mug and let the vinegar sit in the mug for a few minutes bringing it to room temperature quickly.
The recipe I’m offering up today is for a basic reduced balsamic. I’ve infused mine with everything from garlic to a stick of cinnamon. Following are just a few ideas to add flavor to your balsamic glaze:
- 1-2 garlic cloves
- 1 sprig rosemary or other hearty herb
- whole peppercorns
- 1 cinnamon stick
- orange rind
Depending on how strong you want the particular flavor to stand out, infusion time will vary. Start with 10 minutes and taste the vinegar. Play around from there.
An easy DIY recipe for making balsamic glaze. It's much more cost effective than the store bought versions and is great for drizzling on so many things!
- 2 cups balsamic vinegar
- Pour vinegar into a small non-reactive sauce pan and bring to a simmer. Turn the heat to low reduce the vinegar for about 30-40 minutes or until the vingar has become thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. You should end up with just more than 1/2 a cup.
- Remove from heat and allow to cool. Pour into an airtight container and store at either room temperature or in the fridge. If you do store it in the fridge don't be alarmed if it hardens up a bit. Simply place the container into a mug of warm water and it will soften quickly.
It's very important to keep a watchful eye when reducing the balsamic so it doesn't over reduce and burn.