Balsamic Vinegar 101

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Why shell out $20 or more for a bottle of vinegar? It's all about taste. I learned from the May issue of ShopSmart to look for bottles that say "Aceto Balsamico tradizionale di Modena or Aceto Balsamico tradizionale Reggio Emilia"--reading labels assures you get the best quality. These bottles contain grape must that is aged at least 12 years allowing for the sweet, rich flavor--perfect for pairing with strawberries.

If you haven't tried this pairing you are missing out. It's a easy mid-week desert that will please kids and adults. We simply drizzle cleaned and sliced berries with balsamic and let marinade a bit before serving, but if you want to get a tad fancier, here's a grand and healthy recipe from the Mayo Clinic.

1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup sliced strawberries
1/2 cup blueberries
1/2 cup raspberries

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In a small bowl, whisk together the balsamic vinegar, brown sugar and vanilla. In another bowl, add the strawberries, blueberries and raspberries. Pour the balsamic vinegar mixture over the berries. Let the fruit marinate for 10 to 15 minutes. Drain the marinade. Refrigerate or serve immediately.

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