This passage details the many uses people have had for vinegar over the years.

Lexile Level: 1170L

Categories: History Sports & Health Science & Technology

Vinegar has been around for thousands of years and was most likely discovered by accident. It is formed when bacteria in the air convert the alcohol in wine into acetic acid. The word "vinegar" comes from the French "vin aigre," which means "sour wine." Since its discovery, vinegar has enjoyed a long and colorful history. Citizens of the ancient civilization of Babylonia discovered that vinegar curbs the action of bacteria that spoil food, so they used it as a preservative. In the Middle Ages during Europe's Black Plague, thieves would douse themselves in vinegar as protection against germs and then steal from the homes of the dead. During World War I, vinegar was used to treat soldiers' wounds on the battlefield. Today, vinegar is still employed against rashes and other skin ailments and is occasionally used as a household cleaner. Vinegar's most popular use, however, is in cooking, and high-end varieties of the ingredient can be found in many kitchens.

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