Zhenjiang vinegar (Chinese: 镇江香醋; pinyin: Zhènjiāng xiāngcù) (also known as "Zhenjiang aromatic vinegar" and formerly as "Chinkiang vinegar") is a major type of black rice vinegar originating from the city of Zhenjiang, Jiangsu Province, China. Its origin can be traced back at least 1400 years BP. Jiangsu Hengshun Vinegar Industry Company, established in 1840, is a notable producer at the present time. A legend of the vinegar's origin can be tied to the Xia Dynasty (ca. 21st - 16th Century BCE) period. During that time, according to the legend, a fortuitous accident in Zhenjiang, Jiangsu Province, resulted in a winemaker's creation of the vinegar.
Production of Zhenjian vinegar begins when a vinegar Pei mixture (wheat bran, rice hull, alcohol obtained from saccharification of glutinous rice and vinegar seed from a prior batch) is poured into an urn until the urn is half-full. The mixture is kept warm for up to 3 days in summer and 6 days in winter. At that point, rice hull is added and mixed in once per day until the urn is full. Salt is added and the urn is stored for up to 3 months during which it undergoes an aging process. The vinegar is then leached and the soaking liquid from water-soaked, parched rice is added as a colour and flavour enhancer.
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