When it comes to cooking, wine is commonly used as an ingesdient to help flavour, colour and add moisture to a dish. But if you’re looking to avoid alcohol then it can be a little problematic.
There are many reasons we may not want to cook with wine these days. Firstly, the temptation may be too great and you end up having a glass or two while you cook, while many people these days are also battling addiction. More and more people are now entering a private rehab centre, and the last thing you want to be doing is serving up a steak in a red wine source for your friend in recovery.
The withdrawal and recovery process is long and tough, so if you’re cooking for someone, it’s always good to find an alternative. Of course, there are many other reasons you may not want to add alcohol to a dish, and here are some great alternatives to improve your dishes…
Red and white wine vinegar
Of course, firstly, you can use red or white wine vinegar, with the flavours similar to wine and only containing a small amount of alcohol which is largely removed in the fermentation process as well as reducing during cooking.
It’s a much better option than using wine, but if you want to completely remove alcohol from your diet, then it could also be worth avoiding.
Pomegranate’s flavour, aroma and acidity compare very well to red wine and it offers a great non-alcoholic alternative to wine. It’s perfect for a number of different dishes and is especially good when it comes to the likes of salad dressings, sauces and as a glazer over vegetables.
Pomegranates are also rich in antioxidants so does actually offer health benefits as an alternative too.
Cranberry juice is a very sweet substance, so if you are going to use this as a replacement, do find a juice that has no added sugar. It’s another good red wine substitution and has a rich flavour ideal for deepening the intensity of just about any dish.
You can reduce the sweetness of cranberry juice in your cooking by adding a tablespoon of vinegar, and like pomegranate, there are plenty of health benefits too.
A solid replacement for white wine is ginger ale. The carbonated soft drink has an acidity to it which is perfect for tenderising meat and making it easier to chew.
However, you do of course need to be careful of the difference in taste of the two, and ginger ale should only be used with recipes that will benefit from the slight ginger flavour that will come with it.