Saturday, 15 June 2019

Of Vinegar And Virgins

Bob's Belgian roots means that he dips his chips in mayo - my Essex roots mean I liberally sprinkle vinegar on mine. As a child, that always meant Sarson's. The company has been around since 1794, started by Thomas Sarson. In 1884 his grandson Henry registered the name "Sarson's Virgin Vinegar". This was from the bible story [Matthew 25] of the wise women who were prepared. This is the year after Abram Lyle put Samson's lion on his syrup tin. Why don't manufacturers do this nowadays? Millett's could put Jael and her hammer on their tentpegs [Judges 5] Silentnight could put Abishag on the electic blankets [1KIngs1] Velux could have Eutychus [Acts 20]...but I digress
The vinegar debate started because my shaker-bottle was empty. I usually remove the top and refill from a larger more economical bottle. Here's a helpful video to show you how to get the top off...

However, this time I ended up buying a new shaker bottle in the supermarket. It appeared to be good value. When I got home however I  compared the old and the new. No wonder it seemed good value - the new one holds considerably less than the old. 
Bob came downstairs in the middle of all this activity and said "There's a bottle of vinegar on a shelf in the garage"
I said I thought it was pickling vinegar and he went off to find out. Yes, it was!
I have no idea how old it is. All my chutney making of late has been in Norfolk - I suspect this bottle came with us from the cupboard in Kirby Muxloe. But there seems to be no best before date. It does seem that vinegar doesn't need one, as white distilled vinegar will remain essentially unchanged over a very long period of time.
I decided to have a look at the Sarson's website and see if there was anything I fancied pickling. 
The jar says on the side "This will hold 1kg of winter veg or 12-15 eggs" which is sort of useful. [Once you realise that not all the vinegar will go back into the jar once it is full of eggs, so another container will be needed] But I do not like pickled eggs, and I prefer to malt vinegar for pickled onions.
You will just have to wait till Monday to find out what I did next
[one final anecdote- back in the 1960's  I remember my Dad had to mark some Boys' Brigade Bible Exam Papers. One lad had written "And when the foolish virgins came back, they discovered all the wise virgins had married the bridegroom" 
If you don't know the story, find a Bible and look it up!]


  1. I just sent for a 5L container of Sarsons which is the only one with enough acid in for chutneys. In the shops Sarsons seems to be only available in the little table top bottles and supermarket cheap own brands are really not good enough for preserving

  2. You're absolutely right Sue - I don't mind sprinkling cheaper stuff on my chips, but properly brewed Sarsons does make better chutneys and pickles. Now the company is part of the huge Mizkan group, I hope its Japanese owners will continue to maintain the high standards of vinegar production which have made this the UK #1 brand.


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