Balsamic reduction is one of the favorite condiments of many cooks who keep it on hand in their fridge. It's also easy to make a balsamic reduction (balsamic glaze) at home. It only takes about 15 minutes and is much healthier than buying it from the store (which usually contains unnecessary stabilizers, emulsifiers and chemical colorings).
Balsamic reduction is made from balsamic vinegar, which is left to simmer on the stove for a while, until it thickens. The end result is a delightful glaze that's perfect for drizzling on your salad, dinner, dessert and everything in between. This topping is a really elegant finish to many dishes.
If you decide to pair your balsamic reduction with something sweet, such as ice cream or a strawberry dip, you may want to consider adding a sweetener to it, such as:
- brown sugar;
- maple syrup.
When you reduce the balsamic vinegar, you are actually evaporating the water and concentrating the sugars. That way the mixture is naturally sweetened. This makes the balsamic reduction perfect for drizzling over vegetables, spreading on meat, serving as a dip with aged cheeses and more.
A simple balsamic reduction made with just balsamic vinegar, as mentioned, is sweet, but adding a little sugar is a good idea for some recipes, especially if you're adding it to a dessert. You can really add as much sweetener as you want, but the rule of thumb is to use about 6 tbsp. of sweetener (honey, sugar, etc.) to 1 cup balsamic vinegar before reducing it.
You don't need to buy expensive balsamic vinegar when you decide to make balsamic reduction at home. It is best to use an organic product at a moderate price. When you buy balsamic reduction or glaze from the store, you'll find several unnecessary ingredients like caramel colorings, glucose syrup, sugar, cornstarch, dextrose, and xanthan gum. The brand probably used very low-quality balsamic vinegar as a starting material. So the store bought reduction is not recommended!
How make a balsamic reduction?
Just add 1 cup of balsamic vinegar in a small pot on the stove. Boil it, then reduce the heat and leave it to simmer for about 10-15 minutes.
You can reduce the heat by 1/3 or 1/2, depending on how thick you like it. Just remember, that it will continue to thicken as it cools. That's it!
If you want to make a sweeter balsamic glaze, you can definitely add 1-2 tbsp. of honey or maple syrup into the pot with the balsamic vinegar. Then reduce like we explained above. It's up to you if you want to add sweetener. It is recommended that you try it without sweetener on your first try.