Q. I like to make salad dressings and other seasonings from plain white vinegar. Most of the time they are cold sauces or dressings for salads and such, but sometimes I make a warm dressing or sauce for a stir fry or other warm dish. I typically make these dressings in a small pot on the stove because of the vinegar. I was always told that vinegar doesn’t microwave well, and that the flavour will be ruined if I heat it up that way. I don’t always have a stove at my disposal, particularly if I want to heat up a dressing in the microwave at work. Maybe it’s a weird question, but I am truly very curious. Can you microwave vinegar?
A. It’s not a strange question at all. Yes, you can microwave vinegar. Like any other liquid, it can be heated up either on the stove or in the microwave. The rumours about the taste changing may be more related to smell than actually related to taste. When heated, the smell of vinegar can be intensified beyond what many people enjoy smelling. That doesn’t mean it affects the taste at all, particularly if the vinegar is but one ingredient in a dressing or sauce.
To microwave vinegar, it should heat gently at a low temperature. You don’t need to boil dressings, just make them warm enough to warm the food it is covering. To do that, heat the dressing over a low heat for 20-30 seconds. Remove from heat, stir, and taste. Continue until the perfect temperature is reached. Use immediately. Vinegar is a natural preservative, so your dressings should stay good in the refrigerator for at least a week after being made. Simply refrigerate any unused portions promptly.
Did you know that vinegar can also be heated to steam clean your microwave? Simply mix equal parts vinegar and water in a microwaveable safe bowl, throw in a toothpick (a precautionary measure) and then heat on high in the microwave for several minutes. The combination will steam the interior of your microwave, making it easy to simply wipe down the sides and roof of your microwave with a sponge with little effort at all. Give it a try!