Thursday, April 21, 2011

Day 125! Nicaragua - Vinagre de Piña (Pineapple Vinegar) Up Next, Niger

Original Painting, Joelle Feldman
I love fruit infused vinegars, so when I came across this Nicaraguan recipe for Vinagre de Piña, I knew I had to make it. And, since spring greens are coming in abundance, and summer is on the way, this vinegar which takes about 4 weeks to settle and ferment, will be ready just in time. Not only that, but there are no fancy ingredients or complicated steps - the whole process takes all of 5 minutes from start to finish and costs pennies compared to the store-bought stuff.

I can imagine this light, fruity vinegar blended with olive oil, a little crushed garlic, sea salt and black pepper, then drizzled a top rich avocados or peppery arugala. Sexy, right?

Located in South America, Nicaragua is a representative democratic republic and the largest country in South America. Nicaragua borders Honduras and Costa Rica. To the west is the Pacific Ocean and to the East, the Caribbean. Due to Nicaragua's tropical climate, fertile soil and abundant forests, the country boasts some of the world's most unique and important ecosystems. Conquered by the Spanish Empire in the 16th century, with the British establishing a protectorate on the eastern seaboard from the middle of the 17th century to the 19th century, the country is a diverse blend of Spanish and Creole.

As diverse as the culture is, the food is equally interesting and varied. Corn is the main staple in the country, but fruit, seafood and coconut are used in most regional cuisine. Corn is used to for dishes such as nacatamali, drinks, sweets and desserts. Fruits include, but are not limited to mango, papaya, jocote, grosella, tamarind, bananas, avocados and yucca. Herbs and seasonings include cilantro, oregano an achiote.

Vinagre de Piña (Adapted from Whats4Eats)

Peelings and trimmings of 1 pineapple, chopped
3/4 cup piloncillo or dark brown sugar
1 1/2 quarts water

Clean a large glass container with hot soapy water and rinse well. Add the pineapple trimmings and brown sugar and water and stir with a clean spoon to dissolve the sugar.

Cover the container with plastic wrap and a lid and set in a warm, dark place for 4-6 weeks. The liquid will turn murky and brown at first, but as time passes, any solids will settle out and the liquid will clear.

Once the liquid has cleared, strain the solids out of the vinegar by pouring it through several layers of cheese cloth or through a coffee filter. Store in a clean bottle away f om light and in a cool place.

* You can use the entire pineapple, including the fruit, if you like, but using just the trimmings is fine.

** After the vinegar is strained and stored, it may eventually develop a gelatenous mass that either sits at the bottom or floats to the top. This is called the "mother" of the vinegar (madre de vinagre), and it is harmless. If you start a new batch of vinegar, make sure to include some of the "mother" from the old batch to help it develop.

1 comment:

Karen said...

ooo, that is it !