Making Herbal Vinegars.

Instructions on making your own herbal vinegars for personal use or gift giving.

Herbal vinegars are a wonderful addition to any homemade salad dressing or cooking project. They are also delicious on fruits and vegetables,or as a marinade for meats. But herbal vinegars can be hard to find and expensive. I will tell you how to make your own herbal vinegars, to use yourself, or give as gifts. If using for gifts, you will want to bottle them in attractive bottles or jars. These can be found at many discount stores, yard sales, auctions and flea markets. You can also recycle old liquor and wine bottles. Just make sure they are sterilized, and have tight fitting lids or corks.

While you can use any combination of any herbs that you happen to have on hand to suit your tastes, this will give you an example of different herbal vinegars and how to make them.

RASPBERRY VINEGAR

2 12 ounce packages frozen raspberries

3 cups red rice wine vinegar

Thaw and crush one package of raspberries and combine with the vinegar in a heat proof 2 quart glass jar (a canning jar will work). Place the jar in a saucepan filled with water and bring the water to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 20 minutes. Remove from heat and allow the jar to cool. Cap the jar and let stand for 2 weeks.

At the end of the 2 weeks, strain the liquid through a double layer of cheesecloth into a glass bowl. Discard the berries. Thaw and crush the remaining berries. Combine the newly crushed berries with the vinegar in the jar. Repeat the heating and standing process for an additional 2 weeks.

Repeat the straining process and bottle in glass containers. Seal tightly.

PEPPER VINEGAR

5 hot peppers, stemmed and chopped

3 cups white vinegar

Place the peppers in a 1 quart glass jar with a non metal lid. Bring the vinegar to a boil. Pour the vinegar over the peppers and allow to cool. Seal the jar and let stand for 3 weeks. After 3 weeks, drain the liquid through a double layer of cheesecloth into a glass bowl. Pour the vinegar into glass jars and seal.



TARRAGON VINEGAR

white wine vinegar

tarragon sprigs

Remove any browned leaves from the tarragon sprigs, wash, then dry quickly. Wrap them in a towel to get rid of any moisture.

After dry, put a bunch of tarragon in a quart container. Bring the vinegar to a boil and pour into the jar over the tarragon. Let this cool, uncovered. When cool cap the jars and store for at least 2 weeks before use.

GARLIC VINEGAR

5 or 6 cloves of garlic, peeled and cut in half

red wine, white wine or Oriental rice vinegar

In a sterile jar, put in the garlic. Bring your vinegar to a boil and pour over the garlic in the jar. Let cool, uncovered. When cool, seal and store for 2 weeks, shaking occasionally. Keep checking this vinegar by smell, when you feel it is strong enough, strain into another container and seal.

DILL, CHIVE OR BASIL VINEGAR

For this recipe you can either use fresh or dried herbs. If using fresh herbs, just take a few sprigs of the herb, including the flower heads if using dill (this is the part which form the seeds) and place in a glass container. Bring a white wine vinegar to a boil, and pour over the herbs in the jar. Let cool, uncovered. Then seal. This is usually strong enough to use in several days. If using dried herbs, follow the same basic directions, but use 3 tablespoons of the dried herbs per pint of vinegar.

FIVE HERB VINEGAR

½ cup chopped fresh rosemary

½ cup chopped fresh thyme

1/4 cup chopped chive blossoms

1/4 cup chopped fresh oregano

1 sprig fresh parsley, chopped

4 shallots, thinly sliced

12 peppercorns

3 3/4 cups white wine vinegar

additional sprigs of fresh rosemary, thyme and oregano

Place the first seven ingredients in a large wide mouth jar. Place the vinegar in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Pour the vinegar over the herbs and cover the jar. Let stand at room temperature for 2 weeks. Strain the flavored vinegar into a decorative bottle, discard the used herbs. Add the additional fresh sprigs of herbs to the bottle and seal.

LEMON-MINT VINEGAR

1 lemon

1/4 cup fresh mint leaves, chopped

2 cups white wine vinegar

additional sprigs of fresh mint

lemon rind strips

Cut a continuous spiral of the lemon rind, and place in a wide mouth jar. Add the chopped mint to the jar. Place vinegar in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Pour the boiling vinegar over the chopped mint and lemon spiral in the jar. Cover. Let sit at room temperature for 2 weeks.

After 2 weeks, strain the vinegar into decorative bottles, discarding the used lemon rind and mint. Add the additional fresh sprigs of mints and lemon rind strips. Seal bottles.

These vinegar recipes should give you somewhere to start in creating your own herbal vinegars. One little tip, be sure to include a fresh sprig of whatever the herbal base you have used. This will make it easy to see at a glance what type of vinegar you have and makes your vinegar look more attractive.

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