Alabama Maker Casa Perdido’s vinegars are good – and good for you

Alabama Maker Casa Perdido’s vinegars are good – and good for you
Casa Perdido is the pride and joy of longtime owner Jim Eddins, who has produced flavorful vinegars, chock-full of healthy antioxidants, since 2002. The company enjoys robust sales of its Casa Perdido muscadine and other flavorful wines, as well. (Michael Tomberlin / Alabama NewsCenter)

Casa Perdido, Perdido, Alabama 

The Maker: Jim Eddins

If you’re looking for a healthy and tasty vinegar, look no further than the Casa Perdido brand made in Alabama.

“We make one of the healthiest vinegars you can buy on the market today,” said Jim Eddins, founder and manufacturer of Casa Perdido gourmet wine vinegars. Eddins employs laboratories at three Southern universities to determine the exact amount of antioxidants in his 13 flavors of vinegar.

For instance, Casa Perdido’s popular muscadine wine red vinegar contains 881 antioxidants; the white muscadine contains 545 antioxidants and its cucumber vinegar – perfect for making a tangy-tart cucumber, onion and tomato salad – has 181 antioxidants.

Alabama Maker Casa Perdido is producing wines and vinegars unlike those you will find anywhere else from Alabama NewsCenter on Vimeo.

“There’s a reason you don’t see the antioxidants listed on many commercially produced vinegars: They don’t have any, or would test very low levels of antioxidants,” Eddins said. “We also use other muscadine grapes, and local fruits and honey for production of wine.”

With the 2001 repeal of the Alabama Native Farm Winery Act of 1979, wineries lost access to the Alabama marketplace, Eddins said. In 2002, he expanded his operation to make vinegar, which is nonalcoholic. His product provided new markets and an economic growth opportunity.

“An acre of grapes yields about 600 to 700 gallons of juice per acre,” said Eddins, a civil and environmental engineer who earned his Professional Engineer license. “Other farmers in our area produce fruits and vegetables for the winery, thus providing different vinegars complementary to season produce. Actually, fully ripened produce with the highest sugars and flavor yield the best wine vinegars.”

Naturally good gourmet

It’s no accident that Alabama-made vinegar is better for you, a lucky benefit of the state’s environment, Eddins said.

“Alabama has high humidity and temperatures that create disease and insects,” he said. “All the fruits and vegetables grown in the Southern region are higher in antioxidants than the same produce grown in more ideal climates. The antioxidants in our food reinforce our own immune systems to keep us healthy. So many illnesses are diet-related, so the health benefits are most important in the foods that we consume.”

“Alabama has high humidity and temperatures that create disease and insects,” he said. “All the fruits and vegetables grown in the Southern region are higher in antioxidants than the same produce grown in more ideal climates. The antioxidants in our food reinforce our own immune systems to keep us healthy. So many illnesses are diet-related, so the health benefits are most important in the foods that we consume.”

Eddins is not a fan of white distilled vinegar.

“White distilled vinegar is commonly used for food preservation and has zero antioxidants,” he said. “It’s widely used for sanitizing and cleaning. It is simple acetic acid, cheap, a simple chemical that is clear, colorless and tasteless.

“Use natural wine vinegars to make your food taste better,” Eddins recommends.

The Delicious Dietitian company, a health-care firm whose registered dietitians serve clients in Alabama, Mississippi and Pennsylvania, agrees. With five locations in Mobile and seven locations in doctor’s offices in Birmingham-area hospitals, the company recommends the use of Casa Perdido vinegar in a healthy eating plan.

Making antioxidant-rich vinegar

Vinegar is the second fermentation of the naturally fermented wine. The process converts the alcohols in the wine into acetic acid.

“Both alcohol and acetic acid are antibacterial, and are healthful in our diet because they aid digestion and kill pathogens that make us ill,” Eddins said. “Natural wine vinegar has the flavors and all the vitamins and minerals of the original-source fruits and vegetables.”

Casa Perdido uses a modern process of submerged acetification. The process varies with the type of fruit or vegetable, but aging can take from a few weeks to a year for malt and beer vinegars. Casa Perdido’s bulk vinegars are aged and stored in drums and oak barrels.

Take home: A 12-oz. bottle is $9 to $12.95. Find Casa Perdido vinegars at Alabama Goods, Whole Foods and Winn-Dixie stores, or order products through the website.

The product: Casa Perdido vinegars are offered in 13 flavors: apple, beer, blueberry, cucumber, fig balsamic, Geronimo hot pepper, Halls of Montezuma hot pepper, honey mead, malt, Satsuma orange, sugar cane, tomato and white muscadine grape.

Casa Perdido

22100 County Road 47

Perdido, Alabama 36562

251.937.9463, www.casaperdido.com and www.perdidovineyards.net

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