Trader Joe’s Pomegranate Vinegar

Trader Joe's Pomegranate Vinegar

Ah, the silhouette of the pomegranate. Like an apple having a bad hair day.

The little burgundy bottle of Trader Joe’s Pomegranate Vinegar has been staring me in the face for weeks now, daring me to buy it. I finally picked it up the other day, and I’ve really been wrestling with what the hell to do with it ever since.

Trader Joe’s Pomegranate Vinegar certainly isn’t the sort of product that you’re reaching for everyday in the kitchen. TJ’s seems to focus on two distinct categories of products – standard fare done in the Trader Joe’s style (soup, salad, bacon, etc) and exotic items designed to appeal to the gourmands and foodies of the world. Trader Joe’s Pomegranate Vinegar falls squarely into this second category. Unless you are living a very specialized sort of life, you’re going to find this a difficult product to just casually make use of from day to day.

Where I usually run into trouble in my comment section is with these more refined food products (ex: dolmas). As an Average Joe, I don’t have too much trouble wrapping my head around the minestrone soups out there, it’s the niche, world-cuisine stuff, the himalayan tuffle salts if you will, that usually leave me boggled. The advanced culinary spheres are only dimly known to me. I still only have a white belt in kitchen jujitsu. I tend to caramelize my simple syrups while other are already eating their crepes.

With that said, I purchased this vinegar knowing full and well that it might best me – but I was determined to give it my best shot. If you haven’t tried this vinegar yet, think of it as tasting like an apple cider vinegar, but with pomegranate instead of apple. A lot of pomegranate. This is a tremendously potent – and flavorful – vinegar, absolutely brimming over with the smells and tastes of pomegranate. The trouble, of course, is that pomegranate is a challenging flavor to incorporate into a meal. I’m mentioned this before, but I think the recent fad of throwing pomegranate flavoring around all over the place is foolhardy. Pomegranate is so tart that it’s just not that good when distilled down to it’s bare essence.  Pomegranate seeds are one thing, I’ll gobble them by the handful, but take those seeds, squeeze the juice out of them, and mix it with a strong, acerbic vinegar and you’re talking about a very specific, very difficult flavor to incorporate in your dishes.

The vinegar bottle suggests trying it on salad or with chicken. I gave both of these a shot, and in both cases I found that the intense flavor was off-puttingly strong – almost medicinal in taste. But just laying on some lettuce leaves isn’t a pomegranate vinegar’s natural habitat, it was born to grace foods and dishes as exotic as itself.

So what is pomegranate vinegar rightly used for? Primarily, it would seem, as a condiment for fancy appetizers, as a dressing on carefully constructed salads or, and this one appealed to me, simmered down into a tangy glaze. In order to do full justice to this product, I felt that I must at least give the glaze a shot. After a little bit of searching I settled on this simple but elegant recipe from Il Fustino, and cooked it up with a dish of fresh grilled chicken breast.

The results were exactly what I’d been promised – a fruity, tangy glaze with considerable complexity and none of the acerbic or mediciney hang ups of the straight vinegar. Down right tasty, in other words – all the sweet flavor of pomegranate with just an edge of zing. Was I delighted? Yes. Am I a convert now? No.

To be honest, if I’m looking for a tangy, fruity glaze for my chicken, I’ll grab my bottle of Trader Joe’s Balsamic Glaze before I start stewing some up from vinegar. If TJ’s had released a Pomegranate Vinegar Glaze instead of a straight vinegar I might be singing a different song right now, as it is – this is a fine, well made vinegar, it just has  an incredible narrow focus of use.

The Breakdown

Would I Recommend It: Not unless you’re eating a lot of artisnal cheese or like to simmer your own glazes.

Would I Buy It Again: One bottle should about do me.

Final Synopsis: An intensely strong, pomegranate-infused vinegar perfect for making a glaze and maybe like one other thing.


9 Comments on “Trader Joe’s Pomegranate Vinegar”

  1. I just bought this vinegar a couple days ago myself, and I really like it to make a fruity vinaigrette for salad greens. It’s good with olive oil, but I really liked it with some roasted hazelnut oil I had (sadly, not available at TJ’s) on spring mix.

  2. Melanie says:

    I don’t mean to be nosy, but are you wearing nail polish in that picture?

  3. So, I just discovered your blog about 20 minutes ago while googling about this exact product, and now I’m pretty much obsessed with your blog and will probably read every post. So thanks for that. I think.

    I’m wondering if you’ve experimented with the vinegar any more. I too have seen in in the store every time I go and while I am intrigued, I am not yet confident enough in what I’d use it for. I had an idea this morning of adding some lime juice and EVOO to make a nice Pomegranate Lime vinaigrette. Have you found any other good uses since posting this?

  4. Meg C.H. says:

    I’m convinced this product is sold for one reason only, and it’s a damn good reason indeed. Mix TJ’s pomegranate vinegar with olive oil 1:2, add some oregano and black pepper. Marinate individual baby lamb pops 4-6 hrs. (If you buy the whole rack, like I do at Sam’s Club, cut into chops between the bones and poke each one with a fork a few times) Grill these little beauties a few mins-maybe 5- on each side and serve with TJ’s tzatziki. You’ll thank me later. I swear.

  5. RJ says:

    LOVE pomegrante vinegar – PLEASE bring it back Now !!!! use on salads, marinades , meat ….. vegetables

  6. Cynthia says:

    I have been hooked on this vinegar for my Italian Salad Dressing for years – it’s the absolute best. So for using every day – your vinaigrette recipe – just sub…way better than balsamic for everyday use. BUT…it’s gone…went to stock up today and it’s MIA – no shelf space even. Anyone know what happened?

  7. bob smith says:

    I don’t get it. Just add pomegranate juice to red or white wine vinegar. You’re not likely to use this straight from the bottle anyway, right? You’ll use it to make vinaigrette which can be characterized any number of ways with juice, oils, herbs, etc. And to get down to it, this isn’t REALLY pomegranate vinegar at all. It’s pomegranate FLAVORED wine vinegar, and you can make something like this on your own. All you need to do for a recipe is read the ingredient statement on the back label of any food. The front label is basically an ad.

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