In all honesty, I don’t usually add any extra sugar to my balsamic reduction. I find that when it’s reduced it becomes abundantly sweet on its own. I am used to things on the less-sweet side, so if you have more of a sweet tooth, if you want this to be even more sticky sweet, you’d may like to make a sweeter balsamic glaze, you can definitely add 1-2 tablespoons of honey or maple syrup or sugar to the pot with the balsamic vinegar. Then reduce it as mentioned at Balsamic reduction recipe.
It’s up to you if you’d like to add a sweetener. Though I’d recommend trying this Balsamic Reduction Fast2eat without the sweetener at least on your first try.
The flavour is intense and should be used as a drizzle.
Some of my favourite ways to serve are with gorgonzola cheese and green onions on pasta or portobello mushrooms, on grilled vegetables, such as beets and carrots, with salmon, chicken, steak, or pork, or as a dressing on salad with toasted nuts, caprese salads; thick slices of bruschetta; thin-crust pizza; dried cranberries or fresh juicy summer berries; such as strawberries or even on vanilla ice cream. It’s also the perfect addition to a cheese plate.
- 1 cup Balsamic vinegar - Yield about 1/4 cup*
- 1-2 tbsp Honey - (a sweetener of your choice. Honey, maple syrup, molasses, brown sugar, granulated sugar, Agave syrup (aka agave nectar) are good choices)
- Pour balsamic vinegar and any sweetener of your choice: Honey, maple syrup, molasses, brown sugar, granulated sugar, Agave syrup (aka agave nectar) into a small saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring constantly until sugar has dissolved.
- Once bubbling, reduce heat to low and continue to simmer and let simmer for about 10-15 minutes until vinegar has reduced by about half and thickened*. Stir occasionally. Be sure to keep an eye on it to make sure it's not boiling rapidly because it can burn... just a low simmer is perfect.
- Glaze should coat the back of a spoon.
- As soon as the balsamic reduction reaches the consistency and concentration level that you prefer, remove it from the heat, and let it cool down for at least 10 minutes to serve. Once allowed to sit, and cool the flavour will become more complex,.
- Remember that the sauce will continue to thicken slightly as it cools. If you accidentally over cook it and it starts to harden, you can just reheat over low with a little bit of water or additional balsamic vinegar to thin it back down. Mix it well and it should fix the consistency.
- Use immediately or allow to cool completely and then store in a sealed container in the fridge.
Tips for the best Balsamic reductionWhen boiling balsamic vinegar down into a syrupy essence, you’re throwing a lot of steam and aromas into the atmosphere. It kind of makes your house smell like vinegar while it reduces, but it’s worth it (I love this stuff, I want to pour it on everything!), plus there are worse smells in this world! Remember to turn on the exhaust fan or if you have an outdoor kitchen of some sort — a single burner on your gas grill, for example, or a one-pot propane burner, that’s where I recommend you do it. Or you can just diffuse some essential oils and your house smells fantastic again. You can reduce it by ¼, 1/3 or 1/2, depending on how thick you like it. Just remember that it will continue to thicken as it cools. A neat trick to help you track the reduction process is to visualize where the level of a balsamic reduction will end up in relation to the sides of the pot. Typically, the volume is reduced to one-third or one-quarter of its original volume. So if you’re starting with 1 cup of balsamic vinegar, you’ll end up with 1/4 cup. Pour 1/4 cup of water into the pot you’re using (do NOT mix with balsamic, it is just to have a visual aid to check the level). Now take a chopstick or any other straight object and stick it in the pot. Note the level of water on the chopstick. Then, when you’re reducing the vinegar, you’ll have a visual aid to show you how much more you have to reduce by putting the chopstick in the simmering liquid and noting how high up on the stick it is.
Which balsamic vinegar should you use?Good news, you don’t need to buy the really good most expensive and aged balsamic vinegar to produce a delicious reduction when making it at home, use the relatively inexpensive commercial balsamic. A well-made commercial balsamic will at least have sweetness, accentuated by tartness and a lingering richness. To make a reduction of balsamic vinegar, you must start with genuine balsamic vinegar. There are plenty of imitations, so read the label. The ingredients should include grape must and red wine vinegar, NOT cider vinegar, corn syrup and caramel colouring. A moderately priced organic or Aceto Balsamico di Modena (balsamic vinegar from the Modena region) is what I usually use. Because balsamic vinegar evaporates as it ages, high-quality aged balsamic vinegars (often the most expensive ones at the store) are actually pretty syrupy to begin with. This recipe is designed to create that same experience with any bottle of balsamic in your pantry, but remember that depending on how concentrated your vinegar is to begin with, the time it takes to cook down into a reduction will vary. You’re looking for the vinegar to coat the back of a spoon — it should be thick yet pourable, similar to warmed honey. It will continue to thicken as it cools, so switch off the heat a minute or two before it’s ready.
StorageFor long-term storage, refrigerate the reduction, which will maintain quality. But for a week or less, you can certainly keep the sauce at room temperature, it's not a safety issue. Once made, Balsamic Reduction will last for at least 3 months as long as you have it properly sealed in an air tight container and store it in the refrigerator. If reduction hardens after being in refrigerator for too long just place the container in a bowl filled with warm water to heat up the reduction. Suggestion: Keep a large batch of the sauce in a jar with a nonreactive lid. Then transfer small amounts into little plastic squeeze bottles (about 2-ounce capacity) with a narrow spout so that it can be applied in a slender stream for controlled garnishing to make artistic squiggle presentations.
What is the difference between Balsamic Reduction, Flavourful Balsamic Reduction, Balsamic Glaze and Balsamic Demi-glace?The reduction is the process of intensifying the flavours by simmering or boiling the base stock to get a thick consistency. Balsamic reduction is made by allowing balsamic vinegar to simmer for around 15 minutes. Balsamic vinegar, when cooked for a long time, turns sweet and has a syrup-like consistency. It is applied to food typically by dipping or with a brush. Garlic cloves can also be added to make the Flavourful Balsamic Reduction. Aromatics such as vegetables, fruits, and wine are often added to the broth to enhance the taste of the reduction. After a while, the aromatics are removed, and the liquid is then simmered to form a thick syrup-like consistency.
Making your own homemade balsamic vinegar reduction also allows you to infuse additional flavours into the vinegar. To turn one of these average commercially made balsamic vinegars into a very rich and flavourful balsamic essence, add one of the following options:
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