House brand taste test… cider vinegar!

Cider Vinegar Samples

The contenders, left to right: Great Value, Heinz, Bragg’s Organic

My last batch of sour slaw looked a little off-white and I realized it must be the cider vinegar: I was near the bottom of a jug of Bragg’s Organic, which not only is unfiltered but comes “with the mother” in case you want to make your own. I’ve always known Mrs. Dewey Goodman would not use such an eco-friendly and probably left-wing product, so it was off to the store for a gallon of good old Heinz.

However, a tour of several local markets turned up no Heinz cider vinegar gallons. White vinegar, yes, but for cider a quart is the largest size. So I bought it but couldn’t resist the gallon of Great Value sitting next to it at Walmart and costing just a few cents more. (As I recall the quart of Heinz was $2.99 and the gallon of Great Value was $3.99.)

Cider Vinegar jugs

Bragg’s Organic, Heinz, Clear Value in retail packaging

It was now time for a taste test. Samples of Bragg’s, Heinz and Great Value were placed side by side and tasters were asked to provide a combined score rating aroma, taste and acidity. This needed to be literally a blind tasting because the vinegars looked different—the unfiltered Bragg’s was muddy as one might expect, and the Heinz was noticeably paler than the Great Value. Since all three had only apples as their ingredient, no added color, this was an ominous sign suggesting more processing of fewer apples.

One taster liked the Heinz the best, the other two placed it at the bottom. We found it astringent and coarse though it did have an apple aroma. The Bragg’s had the best apple aroma and a pleasant taste but was judged overly mild as an acidic ingredient. I voted Great Value at the top and the other two placed it in the middle, making it our overall winner. Nothing special but nothing not to like and the value is undeniable.

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