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Vinegar Q & A
 

 

  Sakurajima

 

Q. Is there any standard of Kurozu (Black Vinegar)?
A. The product we normally call as Black Vinegar is the vinegar that has been ripened for more than 1 year in Special Jar by the method of open-air brewing at Fukuyama Town, Kagoshima Prefecture. Meanwhile, recently, we call black or dark-brown coloured vinegar that has healthy function as Black Vinegar.

 
Now JAS (Japan Agricultural Standards) reviewed the category of vinegar and standardized Black Vinegar as per primary material, method of production, ingredients. Marushige Brown Rice Black Vinegar is based on the standard by JAS.

Q. Is Moromi Vinegar different from Black Vinegar?
A. Moromi Vinegar is the vinegar that was produced from a kind of broth taken in the process of production for Okinawa Awamori (Okinawa's traditional liquor). Recently the effect of citric acid has been found on Moromi Vinegar. Black Vinegar includes rich acetic acid, instead of citric acid.
The acetic acid gives you the same effect of citric acid in your body, so the effect of Moromi Vinegar is similar to that of Black Vinegar.

Q. Is Chinese Fragrant Vinegar 香醋 (Kouzu) different from Black Vinegar?
A. In fact, China is the biggest market for consumption of vinegar all over the world. They use vinegar just like soy sauce, and one of the famous vinegar is Fragrant Vinegar 香醋.
It has black colour and strong smell, so it is very suitable for oily food like Chinese dishes. Primary material is rice, and its character that includes rich amino acid is very similar with that of Jar Vinegar. But because of its strong taste, it is not suitable for drinking.

Q. Is Pure Rice Vinegar the same as Rice Vinegar?
A. If the manufacturer uses more than 40g of rice to produce 1 litre of vinegar, they can indicate it as "Rice Vinegar". But when rice is not enough, it may be difficult for vinegar to get alcohol fermentation, so they sometimes add more alcohol to promote fermentation. If they use rice only without any additional alcohol, they can indicate it as "Pure Brown Rice Vinegar".

Q. Is there any way to distinguish Pure Rice Vinegar and other vinegar with alcohol?
A. If you would like to check whether your vinegar includes alcohol, please check the primary material on the label of product. If your vinegar is made from rice only, the manufacturer indicates “rice” but if your vinegar is made from rice and additional alcohol, they indicate "rice, alcohol".

Q. Is there any difference between normal vinegar and Black Vinegar in the method of production?

 Natural Vinegar
A. The production of Marushige Brown Rice Black Vinegar has the following features:

  • We use and steam brown rice that includes malt and bran (they have rich vitamins & minerals).

  • In the Special Jar, "Glycation", "Alcohol Fermentation" and "Acetic Acid Fermentation" follow in order.

  • Fermentation is going on by natural action (ground heat, temperature).

  • Temperature control for Fermentation and addition of Yeast, Acetic Acid with manpower are not needed.

The production of normal vinegar is as follows:

  • They use white rice that got rid of embryo and bran as primary material. 

  • "Glycation", "Alcohol Fermentation" and "Acetic Acid Fermentation" by adding mold with manpower in each producing process are needed.

  • They can ripen it under temperature control, so it only takes short terms like 1 – 3 months to produce.

Q. Is there any way to distinguish between Black Vinegar produced in Pot Jar and others?
A. In Kagoshima prefecture, there are 7 manufacturers only (including ours) that produces Black Vinegar by open-air still standing brewage in Pot Jar, and they established "Kagoshima Rice Vinegar Manufacturer's Council" in 1990. The council supplies the label of "Hometown Certified Foods" if the products meet with their required conditions (certain fermentation & ripening terms etc.) Please note the council never supplies this label to Black Vinegar that actually was produced in Fukuyama town but doesn't meet with their required conditions.

Q. Is Black Vinegar (Jar Vinegar) only produced in Kagoshima Prefecture?
A. The reason why the production of Black Vinegar took root in Fukuyama Town in Kagoshima Pref. was that Fukuyama Town had rich rice (primary material of Black Vinegar), good and pure water, warm climate, which were important conditions for producing Black Vinegar.

Strangely, if the neighbour town tries to produce it in the same way, they were unable to. It may be due to the bacteria that lives only in the entire Fukuyama Town.

Q. What is the advantage of natural fermentation in Jar?
A. In Kagoshima district, they call this Jar as Aman Jar. They are doing the whole process of the necessary fermentation to produce Black Vinegar in this Aman Jar. It is a very unique method in the world and except for the Black Vinegar, Balsamic Vinegar in Italy is the only product to be produced in this way. Black Vinegar is being ripened slowly for a year to one and a half year. The more time it spends, the more darken brown and tasty it will be and scent are also deepened. The Jar that has been using for a long time has so many yeast and acetic acid bacteria to brew, it will make a special aroma.

Q. Can you say it is a good Black Vinegar if the ripening time is longer?
A. Some Black Vinegar has been ripened for more than 3 years and the longer it is ripened, the more mild taste it will be. But Marushige supplies 1 - 1.5 years ripened vinegar to customers, which is the most delicious term for Black Vinegar. After ripening for half a year, we ripen Black Vinegar in bigger Jar again. So our Black Vinegar has juicy, rich, and mild taste though our ripening time is 1 - 1.5 years.

Q. Does Black Vinegar include rich vitamins or minerals?
A. In the view of micronutrient, we are unable to say that vinegar is a high-grade product. And also, dietary fiber, which is getting popular recently, is not included in vinegar, too.  However, it is said that vinegar prevents micronutrient from destructing and boosts up digestion and absorbing ability inside your body if you take vinegar with the food that includes rich vitamins or minerals.

Q. Why is Black Vinegar black?
A. It is said that amino acid in Black Vinegar reacts to sugar gradually during the period of fermentation and ripening in the Special Jar for more than half a year, and as a result, the black pigment comes out. We can blacken it by heating artificially, but the colour of our Black Vinegar, that was produced in Fukuyama district, is naturally born as black by the function of the Special Jar.
And then, unique Black Vinegar in Fukuyama district is produced by adding seed vinegar that is born as mutation evolution during the production of Black Vinegar for many decades.

Q. Why doesn't Black Vinegar have strong sourness?
A. The unique taste of Black Vinegar comes from harmonious combination of organic acid (acetic acid), amino acid and ammonia.
Normally the ratio of acetic acid is proportional to the irritating smell, but Black Vinegar includes rich involatile organic acids that make its taste mild.

Q. Can we really get flexible body if we drink vinegar?
A. Long time ago, it was believed that the people in circus were drinking vinegar to get flexible bodies but now, we know it is a kind of rumour and nobody can get flexible body even if they drink a lot. But actually, it seems to be true that some people who are in hard-working (such as acrobatic performer) are drinking vinegar to get rid of their fatigue, as their own secret hygiene.

Q. What are the key points to compare the ingredients of vinegar?
A. There are many kinds of primary material, methods of production in vinegar. Especially, the ingredients of brewed vinegar can be totally different. Please check the followings to compare vinegar.

a) pH : Vinegar is basically acidic and has 3.0 – 3.5 pH. But once you take it, vinegar makes your body becoming more alkaline.
b) Acidity Percentage: Acid level of normal vinegar is 4.2% but our Marushige Brown Rice Black Vinegar has the highest acid level in this field, namely 5.0%.
c) Total nitrogen : It's an ingredient of juiciness. It means soluble solid like Amino Acid, Protein, Ammonia etc. Amino Acid occupies about 50 – 60% of total nitrogen and especially Black Vinegar has high ratio of Amino Acid.

Q. I feel that the taste of Black Vinegar is slightly changing. Why?
A. Black Vinegar goes through long-term fermentation and ripening in Pot Jar left at open-air. So each Black Vinegar has different character, level of fermentation, taste, colour, etc in different Pot Jar.

 
To minimize this difference, Marushige has the first fermentation in small Pot Jar for half a year. After that, the second fermentation will be carried out in bigger Pot Jar for half a year (Only our brewery has this method). However, the production of Black Vinegar depends on natural surroundings. Therefore, the level of colour and taste might be slightly different from the previous one due to rice, climate condition, etc. in each year. Of course acid level and pH will be measured every time and be confirmed that they meet with stipulated values every time before delivery. So there is no problem in quality.
Best effort is done to deliver the products in good taste, quality, equalization, but please understand that our vinegar is produced under the nature.

Q. Is it better to keep Black Vinegar in refrigerator once I open?
A. If temperature is high, the ripening is going on even in the bottle. Please keep it in refrigerator or dark and cold place once you open.

Q. I find a bottle of Black Vinegar which has been kept for 5 years in my shelf, can I drink it?
A. Expiry date of brown rice black vinegar is 2 years after production. Vinegar is the ripening food so it doesn't go rotten, but we are unable to guarantee the quality because its taste or colour definitely changes. Probably, the colour is completely black and you can find lees that gathered ingredients in the bottle. In the meantime, you can use it as detergent to utilize Black Vinegar's sterilization effect, without drinking. Please try to find out other usable ways like this.

 

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