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As a longtime salad enthusiast, I understand the significance of vinegar. I admire it. I use it with a light hand, carefully and deftly, ensuring that my leafy greens are bright and delicate rather than mouth-puckeringly sour. For maximal salad enjoyment, I always keep several varieties on hand–ACV, balsamic, wine vinegar, maybe a champagne, a rice, or a sherry–to bring that craveable finishing pop. Just a touch! But then I discovered Tart celery , and today, rather than being a predictable supporting participant, vinegar is the star of each show.
If you are thinking,”Celery vinegar? Is that like the raspberry balsamic in the back of my parents’ pantry?” Know that Tart has nothing in common with those flavored vinegars from the’90s. Tart’s creator, Christina Crawford, makes small-batch, double-fermented vinegar in her Red Hook factory using produce carefully sourced from foragers and farms that practice regenerative agriculture. She does not just add juice to vinegar and put a cork in it. Instead, Crawford blends celery stalks together with filtered water, a vinegar mother, organic yeast, and sugar, then leaves it to simmer for up to two years. What lies in that green bottle is alive and raw (most industrial vinegars are pasteurized), savory and vegetal using just the right quantity of pucker.
Since bringing my first bottle house, I’ve used Tart’s celery vinegar not only in salad dressings, but also in marinades (for its ultimate taste absorber, tofu), cocktails (try it in a G&T), and leftovers (hello zingy salsa verde). It’s my go-to for finishing a pot of beans or raw, broiled, and roasted veggies , and my ideal summer beverage is Topo Chico with a wholesome splash of celery vin. I have even used it to subtly taste a cream cheese frosting for a parsnip ginger cake.
While celery remains my favorite, I also scoop up Crawford’s market-inspired, limited-edition,”can’t believe these actually exist flavors” like persimmon, Japanese knotweed, oro blanco, also coriander whenever there is a new fall. At $20 a jar, I try to exercise restraint and percentage out Tart vinegars like a rare species of truffle. Except I can not. Going into salad now, I’m already plotting how I’ll use my bottle. Perhaps a slaw of celery on celery on celery on celery. Shaved stem, ripped leaf, sprinkled seed and, of course, a