Qingxu mature vinegar brewing techniques

|China Daily|Published:2021-03-08 10:13:14

Qingxu mature vinegar brewing techniques

Qingxu mature vinegar is poured from a ladle. [Photo provided to chinadaily.com.cn]

Shanxi mature-aged vinegar is one of the four famous kinds of vinegar in China. Its main production areas are in the townships of Mengfeng, Qingyuan, Xugou and Xigu in Qingxu county in southern Taiyuan city, the capital of Shanxi province. 

During the Spring and Autumn Period (770-476 BC) and Warring States Period (475-221 BC), the people of Qingxu county were already brewing vinegar in vats and urns using a liquid fermentation process. Commercial vinegar brewing workshops first appeared in the county during the Western Han Dynasty (206 BC-AD 24).

The milestone innovation of solid fermentation in vinegar brewing came in the Northern Wei Dynasty (386-534) and laid the foundation for the unique style and brewing techniques of Qingxu mature vinegar. 

Qingxu mature vinegar brewing techniques

The brewing process of Qingxu mature vinegar. [Photo provided to chinadaily.com.cn]

The main raw ingredient of Qingxu mature vinegar is locally grown red sorghum, with various husks added as auxiliary materials and distiller's yeast to help the concoction ferment. After the ingredients have been adequately mixed, they are steamed and undergo anaerobic alcoholization, fermentation (according to demand), high-density leaching and high-standard aging.

The localized brewing techniques have been passed down from generation to generation in Qingxu and are famous among northern-style advanced vinegar brewing techniques thanks to brewers' continuous improvement.

Qingxu mature-aged vinegar has a bright color and a soft sour-sweet taste that lingers on the palate. The vinegar can help remove overly fishy tastes and sterilize food; it is also a fantastic seasoning while cooking dishes.

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