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Dear Dr. Vinny,

My wine vinegar is very acidic. I used a mother from my Italian neighbor. I want to make chutney with it and use it in salad dressing. Any ideas?

—Vicky C., Tasmania

Dear Vicky,

I get a lot of questions about making vinegar from leftover wine, both red and white. It doesn’t always work, but it takes only a small investment to get started, and it’s great way to use leftover wine (if you ever have such a thing as “leftover wine”).

Of course, vinegar is supposed to be acidic, but I agree that the homemade stuff typically seems stronger than what you buy in the store. That’s usually because store-bought vinegar is diluted. You could cut your own vinegar with water, but you’d dilute not just the acidity, but the flavor and intensity too.

When adding your aggressive vinegar to recipes like chutney, just adjust the sugar levels accordingly to balance it out. When I make the dressing for my Greek salad with homemade red wine vinegar, I often add a touch of sugar or honey to round out the notes.

—Dr. Vinny

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