The history of the salad and its countless dressings dates back many centuries.
Nearly 2,000 years ago, the Babylonians used oil and vinegar for dressing greens. And the Egyptians favored a salad dressed with oil, vinegar and Asian spices.
In more recent times, in 19th-century Greece, the ingredients of a Greek salad resembled those that a Greek farmer would have on hand. Due to this, it’s often thought that Greek salad was a farmer’s breakfast or lunch and grew in popularity from that origin.
The authentic Greek salad, or what’s called ‘Horiatiki’, which means village or peasant salad – is basically a combination of tomatoes, onions, cucumbers, green peppers, olives and feta cheese, dressed in olive oil and sprinkled with oregano.
In Italy, you won’t find abundant bottled salad dressings because Italians have long favored a simple mix of olive oil, vinegar and salt.
As far as vinegar, regular red or white wine vinegars are most common. But balsamic vinegar, originating from the regions surrounding the cities of Modena and Reggio Emilia, Italy, is rising in popularity today.
Unfortunately, what originated years ago with robust olive oils and vinegars produced from local farmers has now evolved into mass-produced, overly-processed salad dressings that can compromise your health.
Why You Should Avoid Most Commercial Salad Dressings
Whether you’re eating a salad on a regular basis to complement a ketogenic diet with healthy fats or simply delighting in leafy green salads for optimal health, organic is clearly the best approach.
Fresh organic vegetables are tastier and better for you as well.
However, be aware… even if you go all organic and add healthy fats like avocados, olives and raw nuts to your salad, you could be jeopardizing your good intentions if you drizzle on a highly processed or low-fat salad dressing.
The vast majority of commercial salad dressings are far from good for your overall well-being. Most are chock-full of high fructose corn syrup, trans fats and highly processed omega-6 GMO oils full of toxic herbicides, like glyphosate.
Low-fat dressings should also be avoided. When fat is removed from a food product, it's usually replaced by sugar/fructose in order to maintain its good flavor.
We only need to look to the Greeks and Italians to find the heartiest salad dressings and more.
How Wine Vinegar Can Do More Than Dress Up a Salad
In addition to boosting the savory taste of salads, different types of vinegars can enhance the flavor of vegetables and other culinary dishes.
Vinegars, such as red and white wine vinegars, are not only great dressings for salads but are also valuable for marinating and tenderizing your favorite proteins.
Red wine vinegar is a type of vinegar that is directly derived from red wine – once the alcohol begins to turn into vinegar, it loses much of its alcoholic content. The increase in vinegar gives red wine vinegar a very good level of acidity, which can help tenderize meat and provide a unique flavor to many dishes.
White wine vinegar can be excellent when used as a salad dressing and to marinate meats as well.
Many consider white wine vinegar to have an advantage over red wine vinegar. This is mainly because white wine vinegar does not impart color, which can make it a better choice when seasoning pan sauces and soups, or for pickling vegetables.
Unfortunately, not all red and white vinegars are created equal and can offer you optimal savory taste and culinary benefits.
Over time, scientific advances have pushed the envelope in producing wine vinegars on very large scales. Instead of using more traditional processes proven over hundreds of years in Greece, this type of large-scale production has often sacrificed quality.
Balsamic Vinegar – A Lesson in Out-of-Control Production Growth
The term “balsamic” comes from the Italian name for the vinegar, aceto balsamico, where balsamico refers to something with healing power, almost like an elixir.
Unlike most Europeans vinegars, balsamic vinegar is not made directly from wine but rather from grape must, a concentrated syrup made from boiled down grape juice.
Balsamic vinegar is a deep brown vinegar known for having distinctive, bold and complex flavors as well as a tart aftertaste.
As is the case with red and white wine vinegars, not all balsamic vinegars are created equal in overall quality and taste.
One only needs to look at the accelerated production growth of balsamic vinegar over time to see the over-industrialized processing taking place. From 1987 through 2002, production of balsamic vinegar grew from about 3,000 bottles to 100,000 bottles.
In many cases, pain-staking traditional processes that have yielded the most consistent quality and taste have been slowly pushed aside.
How to Recognize the Finest Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar is a popular fermented food highly regarded for its many culinary-enhancing properties.
Similar to other vinegars, apple cider vinegar contains acetic acid that gives it a distinctive sour taste.
You can quickly recognize organic, raw, unfiltered and unprocessed apple cider vinegar by the distinctive presence of the “mother” – dark, strand-like chains of cloudy, enzyme-rich probiotic bacteria found floating at the bottom of the bottle.
If you have a bottle of apple cider vinegar in your pantry, you most likely already know how valuable this particular staple can be.
With many varieties available out there, finding a high-quality apple cider vinegar can be a daunting task.
The dark, cloudy strands found at the bottom of a bottle of apple cider vinegar indicate that it is not pasteurized or filtered, which means you probably won’t find it at your local grocer.
What’s the Key to Olive Oil’s Reported Benefits?
When it comes to olive oil pressed from fresh olives, the Italians, Greeks and Spaniards have long had a corner on the market.
In addition to enjoying the great taste of olive oil, Greeks understand that there’s more to the oil than meets the eye.
It’s important to know that the flavor, smell and color of olive oil can vary significantly based on whether it’s extra virgin (finest grade) or not.
Extra virgin olive oil is the highest quality olive oil you can get. It is unrefined and contains more nutrients when compared to other processed varieties.
In fact, in contrast to unrefined extra virgin olive oil, refined olive oils could be lacking in important fatty acids, rich oleic acid and other nutrients.
A word of caution is warranted when it comes to olive oil… fake olive oil abounds.
High-quality olive oil should smell fresh and fruity. It should have a slightly spicy taste, which can leave a harmless burning sensation in the back of your throat.
Tests reveal that 60 to 90% of the olive oils sold in American grocery stores and restaurants are adulterated with cheap vegetable oils or non-food-grade olive oils.
So, just like vinegars, when it comes to flavor, texture and quality, all extra virgin-olive oils are not created equal. We want to help you take the guess work out of finding high-quality vinegars and oils to enhance your culinary experience at home, and it all starts with…
The Farm as a Living Organism
Certainly, Certified Organic is a minimum requirement we insist on for any vinegars or extra-virgin olive oils you may choose.
However, there’ another certification that elevates the standards on sustainable, regenerative agriculture and pushes the envelope on growing nutritious, flavorful food.
The mere fact that a plant is organic doesn’t guarantee it is high quality. If the soil lacks important nutrients, the plant will lack nutrients.
For nutritious plants, you need good topsoil. And to build good, nutrient-rich topsoil, we believe the best possible way is to follow regenerative farming methods.
A step above organic, Demeter Certified Biodynamic® farming utilizes regenerative farming methods with a spiritual-ethical-ecological approach.
The Biodynamic concept views a farm as a living organism. It’s self-contained, self-sustaining and follows the cycles of nature. The farm creates its vitality and well-being out of its own dynamics.
So how did this concept come about?
How the Founder of Waldorf Education Revolutionized the Traditional Farming Industry
Back in the 1920s, Rudolf Steiner, the founder of Waldorf education, and someone regarded as a very wise man, was approached by a group of farmers alarmed at what was happening on their farms.
Their seeds weren’t germinating... Their food wasn’t as tasty... Even their animals weren’t as healthy. They were beginning to notice the effects of industrialized agriculture with its repurposed nitrogen fertilizer and synthetic pesticides.
Steiner’s sage advice? Stop viewing farms as factories and instead, see them as the living organisms they truly are.
A group of German farmers who followed Steiner’s teachings wanted to make his concept of “Biodynamic” farming an agricultural standard. Demeter was formed in 1928.
The world’s oldest ecological certification organization, Demeter sets the standards for Biodynamic just like the National Organic Program (NOP) sets organic standards.
Demeter is well known within Central Europe. In fact, a full 10% of German organic farmland is Demeter Certified Biodynamic®.
However, the U.S. has been slower to catch on.
The wine industry was the first to take note. U.S. winemakers observed that the finest wines in the world were coming from Biodynamic vineyards. This led them to adopt Biodynamic practices on their own land.
So, how does Demeter’s Biodynamic® certification differ from Certified Organic?
Demeter Certified Biodynamic® agriculture is a step up from organic standards in that it considers the entire farm instead of individual crops and products. And it requires the use of holistic regenerative farming practices to promote the health of the soil, crops and livestock.
Biodynamic farmers strive to build a diverse and balanced ecosystem within their farm to enhance the quality and nutrition of the food being grown with a heavy focus on sustainability.
Certified Biodynamic® and Traditional Certified Organic: What’s the Difference?
Let’s take a closer look at how Certified Biodynamic® compares to NOP’s Certified Organic standards:
|Allows imported organic fertilizers
||Reduces imported materials by utilizing nutrient-rich humus created within the farming system
|Allows imported organic pesticides
||Creation of biologically diverse habitat encourages balanced predator prey relationships
|Does not require the use of livestock
||Integrates livestock to improve soils
|Does not address the rotation of crops
||Promotes crop rotation and makes intensive use of cover crops (green manure) to add nutrients to the soil
|Organic feed for livestock can come from anywhere in the world
||50% of livestock feed must be grown on the farm
|No requirement for biodiversity
||10% of total farm acreage must be set aside for biodiversity
|Focused on crops and allows only one section of a farm to be certified
||Focused on farms and requires that the whole farm be certified
|Product certification focuses mainly on ingredients used
||Product certification uses 12 biodynamic processing standards so the agricultural ingredients used define the product
It’s important to note that many organic farmers recognize the importance of caring for their soil and may already be practicing some of the Biodynamic methods, thereby exceeding the organic standards.
And certainly, Certified Organic is still a very high-quality standard out there. Certified Biodynamic® is quite simply a step up to an even higher standard.
If a farm is Demeter Certified Biodynamic®, it has also met the organic standard, even if it isn’t Certified Organic.
Demeter Certified Biodynamic® is as good as it gets in agriculture – it’s the platinum standard for high-quality, nutrient-dense food.
Aiming to strive for this higher standard whenever possible, we’d like to introduce you to truly exceptional red and white wine vinegars, and an extra virgin olive oil produced from Demeter Certified Biodynamic® farms and vineyards.
Introducing Our Solspring® Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Red and White Wine Vinegars, and Balsamic and Apple Cider Vinegars
Exclusively produced on small Biodynamic farms and vineyards in Europe, we’re excited to bring you our Solspring® brand of olive oil and vinegars:
- Solspring® Biodynamic® Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil:
Our Extra Virgin Olive Oil is exclusively produced on small Biodynamic family farms from fresh Koroneiki olives grown in southern Greece. The olives are hand-picked and cold pressed within 24 hours of harvesting, resulting in the freshest, rich and flavorful olive oil you’ll ever taste.
- Solspring® Biodynamic® Organic Red Wine Vinegar:
Produced solely from Syrah and Grenache Rouge grapes grown on a single Biodynamic vineyard in Greece, our Red Wine Vinegar benefits from the traditional Orleans Method of fermentation. This centuries-old rare process results in a full-bodied and bursting-with-flavor red wine vinegar, perfect for heartier flavors and foods like beef, pork and vegetables.
- Solspring® Biodynamic® Organic White Wine Vinegar:
Our White Wine Vinegar is made with Roditis and Savatiano grapes fermented into wine and then into vinegar using the slow, proven Orleans Method over time. The grapes are grown on a single Biodynamic Greek vineyard with vinegar produced on site, yielding a deeply flavorful and slightly sweet white wine vinegar that pairs well with lighter dishes like chicken and fish.
- Solspring® Biodynamic® Balsamic Vinegar of Modena:
Using only top-quality grapes grown and cultivated in the Italian Province of Modena, our Balsamic Vinegar is exclusively produced on regenerative Biodynamic farms. By employing traditional “open sky and direct fire” procedures to maximize its full-bodied flavor, this vinegar is perfect as a dressing for salads and vegetables and is a fantastic companion to Biodynamic® Extra Virgin Olive Oil.
- Solspring® Biodynamic® Organic Apple Cider Vinegar:
Innovatively crafted by skilled Italian artisans, our Apple Cider Vinegar is produced unfiltered and raw on Biodynamic farms. As this vinegar is bottled right after fermentation and avoids pasteurization, the apple fragrance is left intact and the organoleptic characteristics of the fruit are preserved. Enjoy this invigorating vinegar as a beverage, or add it to your favorite salads, vegetables and other culinary dishes.
Why This Traditional Process of Making Wine Vinegar Is So Important
Despite scientific advances that have made large-scale production of vinegars fast and easy, it’s the traditional Orleans Method or Process that creates the most full-bodied and nutrient-rich wine vinegars.
Named after a small town in France, called Orleans, the Orleans Method received official recognition and world patents in the 16th century. Yet, this process has been around since the Middle Ages.
So, why is this process of making wine vinegars so important?
Unlike the large-scale production of vinegar, which includes rapid forced fermentation, the Orleans Method requires:
- Grapes to be left on the vine for at least a month to ensure a high-quality starter called the “mother culture.”
- A controlled environment for the conversion process with carefully cultured bacteria in complete darkness.
- The vinegar to mature for about 10 months in small oak barrels.
Most brands found at your local grocer are produced in huge aluminum tanks with the process done rapidly, typically within 24 hours.
Just like fine wine, excellent wine vinegar comes only with time and not through rapid mass-produced and forced acceleration processes.
And that’s why Solspring® Biodynamic® Organic Red and White Wine Vinegars provide a clear choice for the highest quality, best-tasting wine vinegars available.
Biodynamic® Balsamic Vinegar Produced True to Tradition on a Family-Owned Farm
The producer of our Biodynamic® Balsamic Vinegar utilizes a generations-old family-owned farm with deep roots in Modena, Italy.
All farming was converted into organic and Biodynamic back in the 1970s – a progressive change not seen anywhere else in the industry at that time. In the 1980s, our supplier received a special certification for Demeter Certified Biodynamic® balsamic vinegar production.
Production continues today, taking advantage of the original procedures, and maintains the family tradition as the unique Demeter Certified Biodynamic® balsamic vinegar producer in Italy.
Through Biodynamic farming, the highest quality grapes are produced with authentic flavor and goodness beyond grapes cultivated with more mass-produced conventional systems.
Here’s a taste of how our exclusive Biodynamic® Balsamic Vinegar is meticulously produced over time:
- The raw material used to produce the vinegar is grape must, cultivated within the Modena area.
- After the pressing that follows the grape harvest, the juice is removed from the stalks prior to fermentation.
- Next, it is cooked over direct heat in a special boiler.
- After prolonged boiling using the traditional “open sky and direct fire” methods, the concentrated cooked must is removed from the boiler.
- After cooling for at least 48 hours, the liquid is filtered and checked for taste and quality.
- After resting in a special iron tank, the acidification process begins once another taste check has been passed.
- One of the final steps called “topping up” places the cooked must into wood barrels for refining.
This clearly shows how extensive the traditional processes are for producing a high-quality balsamic vinegar, like Solspring® Biodynamic® Balsamic Vinegar of Modena.
Tradition and Innovation Used to Create Our Biodynamic® Apple Cider Vinegar
When it comes to apple cider vinegar, a wide variety of choices are available.
Solspring® Biodynamic® Organic Apple Cider Vinegar is truly in a class of its own.
Not only is this high-quality vinegar produced on Biodynamic orchards and farms in Italy but only organic apples from the Trentino Alto Adige region are exclusively used.
And you won’t find any mass-production processes involved here. Biodynamic® Apple Cider Vinegar is obtained by following well-proven traditional processes.
The apples are collected and then pressed to obtain two juices: an apple cider juice and a concentrate.
The juice is then left to rest in the original containers and not in wooden barrels. This is done to maintain the freshness and all the organoleptic characteristics of the fruit.
The full-bodied, unfiltered vinegar is bottled, as it naturally comes after fermentation and without pasteurization to leave all the apple properties intact.
Biodynamic® Apple Cider Vinegar is raw and unfiltered with the “mother” intact. The “mother” is amino acid based and rich with probiotics and enzymes.
How Solspring® Olive Oil Sets the Bar High
In addition to all the benefits from Biodynamic regenerative farming, when it comes to making the highest quality extra virgin olive oil, we obviously cannot overlook another important factor… the olive.
Biodynamic® Extra Virgin Olive Oil utilizes only the finest olives from the Koroneiki tree.
The Koroneiki olive is special in many ways because it:
- Is native to Greece from trees that have survived since ancient times.
- Produces glowing golden-green color oil.
- Yields a very high content of oleic acid and polyphenols.
- Provides an exceptionally long shelf life when compared to other varieties.
- Contains a cultivar (cultivated variety) suitable for an excellent premium olive oil.
Order Our Biodynamic® Vinegars and Olive Oil Today
Of course you can find extra virgin olive oils and vinegars just about anywhere on the internet today as well as at your local grocer.
Unfortunately, what originated years ago with robust olive oils and vinegars produced from local farmers has now evolved into mass-produced, overly-processed oils and vinegars.
We doubt you’ll find any of these mass-produced oils and vinegars even come close to our high-quality Solspring® Biodynamic® products.
Our oils and vinegars are steeped in rich traditions of using only the freshest fruits and take advantage of centuries-old proven processes.
We strongly believe Biodynamic is the wave of the future and exactly what’s needed to ensure that our soils can continue to support agriculture and feed the world.
Why not give Biodynamic farmers your vote of support and treat yourself to a truly extraordinary culinary experience by ordering our one-of-a-kind Solspring® Biodynamic® products today?