When it comes to pantry items, balsamic vinegar is a must have. The dark, tangy vinegar, a result of fermented white grape juice, has soared to popularity in recent years. Now, it’s not just used by chefs in fancy restaurants, but by home cooks as well.

Traditional balsamic vinegar made in regions of Italy, went through a minimum 12 year aging process, but what we find on our grocery store shelves has been aged around 2 months. As always, when buying pantry staples, purchase the best your budget will allow. The Fresh 20 recommends using Lucini Aged Balsamic Vinegar, if it is available in your area.

Once you’ve found the perfect balsamic for you, leave the rest to the Fresh 20. In your weekly menus you’ll find new and exciting ways that balsamic vinegar can add flavor to your everyday dishes. The most common being pasta dishes, marinades for meat, roasted vegetables, vinaigrettes and seafood dishes.

Basic Vinaigrette
1 Tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
3 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

Whisk all ingredients together until well blended.