Makes 1 pint
Once you have this on hand you will begin to use it in many dishes and you will wonder why you never had it before. I use organic apple cider, umeboshi plum, rice wine or white wine vinegar, which are naturally made and good-tasting. Do not make this with distilled vinegar (often inferior substitutes made from synthetic ethanol). Use vanilla-flavored vinegar in small amounts in vinaigrettes, dressings, fruit and vegetable salads and sauces. I particularly love what it does to Waldorf salad (see recipe at right ).
• 1 pint good-quality organic vinegar
• 1 whole vanilla bean
1. Cut vanilla bean in half crosswise and lengthwise. Put pieces into a clean, 1 pint bottle (I save used vinegar or soy sauce bottles for this purpose).
2. Using a funnel, pour vinegar into the bottle. Cap and shake for a minute or two. Label and date bottle. Shake twice a day for a week or two. You can use it after a week, but it is best after 3 or 4 weeks.
3. The longer it sits, the better the flavor. As you use the vinegar, top what’s in the bottle off with a little more vinegar.
Susan Belsinger is a culinary herbalist and author of several cooking and gardening books. Her most recent contribution to the Brooklyn Botanic Garden’s All-Region Guide is now available in(Sterling Publishing, 2004).
The Queen of Beans: Vanilla Recipes