The Basics on Cooking with Wine

Thursday, September 13th, 2007 at 12:00 am

cooking with wineCooking wine, also known as cooking sherry, refers to the inexpensive grape wine or rice wine that is intended for use as an ingredient in food rather than as a beverage. Cooking wine typically available in North America is treated with salt as a preservative and food coloring. The salt in cooking wine acts as an inhibitor against the growth of acetic acid-producing microorganisms.

This prevents the cooking wine, once opened, to ferment due to oxygen exposure and transform into wine vinegar. This preservation is important since a bottle of cooking wine may be opened and used occasionally over a long period of time.

Cooking wines are convenient for cooks who use wine as an ingredient for cooking only rarely. However, most professional chefs do not use cooking wine as they believe the added preservative significantly lowers the quality of the wine and, resultantly, the food made with that wine.

Not to mention that several professional cooking textbooks recommend only using inexpensive but drinkable wine for cooking. Many chefs believe that there is no excuse for using low quality cooking wine for cooking when there are quality drinkable wines already available at very low prices.

Cooking wine is considered that of such poor quality. It cannot be drunk by itself and it is only intended for cooking. Although professional chefs advises against cooking with any wine that one would find unacceptable to drink (following the motto "If you can’t drink it, don’t cook it"), a recent study has found that inexpensive wine works just as well as expensive wine when it comes to cooking.