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From the French words vin aigre, meaning ‘sour wine’. Originally the by–product of the fermentation process of wine or other alcohols, today many vinegars—balsamic for example—are purpose made. Vinegar has been used for thousands of years as a flavouring, pickling and preserving agent. Mixed with oil, it is used as a salad dressing or in marinades and in sauces as a souring agent.