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Balsamic reduction question.

Was reading the posts on CH about making it so looked it up. Is it better to simply reduce the balsamic by itself or do you add things to it? I saw a few recipes where they added things like catsup and soy sauce. I've had it in restaurants, but this will be my first time to try it. What is the best way, and how long does it take to reduce to a syrupy condition?

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  1. You question seems easy but the answer is hard. Various 'balsamic' vinegars just have different flavors - and these will intensify with reduction. You'll need to taste to see if it needs more acid (tomato) or salt (soy) - both of these ingredients have umami as well. Reduce by half and taste - then add the ingredient IF NEEDED. Restrain yourself from continually adjusting (opps too sweet - opps too tangy) since that will ultimately result in just 'yuck' - limit it to no more than two 'adjustments' if even needed. The aim is to have a tangy, sweet, deep flavored syrup.

    1 Reply
    1. re: alwayscooking

      Thank you. I get it, I think. Will try it tomorrow, will let you know!

    2. With wine and balsamic, just boil away until reduced to a syrup. Taste and add with caution only at the end.

      1. At times I've reduced various balsamics that I've bought at Costco or Trader Joe's. I usually do it in my little enameled cast iron pot and open a window, and I've never added anything. The main lesson I've learned is to not over-reduce. Remember that it'll be thicker when it cools. Says the woman who made balsamic candy (?) that wouldn't pour out of a bottle.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Vetter

          sadly, i think it is true that the difference between an "ok" and a "very good" balsamic increases when they're reduced.

        2. jfood reduces balsamic for tomato and mozzy as an app. Jfood's one word of advice is not not putthe old shnoot near the steam, it will knock your head back like a right hook from Joe Frazier.

          1 Reply
          1. re: jfood

            omg, that is too funny. I only laugh because jfood has done exactly what cc has.

          2. All points are good. I just let it reduce on it's own, but depending on what I am using it for I may use a few aromatics or some other flavors. It really depends. And different balsamics do have different flavors for sure.

            I do take juices all the time from roasts just a few pan dripping, add a small diced shallot and balsamic and reduce until fairly thick. Add a little fresh herbs and it makes an amazing thick sauce over the meat. But you can use as sweet savory for many dishes, fruits, vegetables and hundreds of dishes. It has such an amazing flavor.