Make Flavored Vinegars with Herbs


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d.bell2Desiree Bell is inspired by botanicals and natural materials. She is a vegetarian who has a certificate in herbal studies and a certificate from Australasian College of Health Sciences in Aromatherapy. When she isn't in her suburban garden, hiking or crafting, she is teaching pre-k with an emphasis on nature and gardening. For more ideas on Simple Living With Nature you can visit her blogs at www.beyondagarden.blogspot.com.

Garden harvest or purchased herbs, spices, fruits and vegetables can easily be used to make flavored vinegars. Vinegar is a sour-tasting liquid consisting of impure dilute acetic acid, made by oxidation of the ethyl alcohol in beer, wine, or cider. It is used as a condiment or preservative.

10-28-2011-white herbal vinegarThe process for making flavored vinegars is easy and uses simple kitchen equipment. Any of the following vinegars from the market will work as the base; balsamic, cider, malt, rice, sherry and red or white wine. Before starting the process wash all the utensils, bottles and containers in hot soapy water and rinse. Make sure the items used are made of nonreactive materials, including the jars and lids that are going to be used for steeping the vinegar.

Herbs for making vinegar can include basils, bay, borage, burnet, chervil, chives, dill, fennel, garlic, lavender, lemon balm, lemongrass, lemon verbena, lovage, marjoram, oregano, parsley, rose geranium, rosemary, sage, savory, shallot, spearmint, sweet cicely, tarragon and thymes. Gently wash the herbs and dry with a towel. Strip leaves off the stems (small sprigs can also be used) and put in a clean jar and pour vinegar over the herbs to steep.

Spices used for making flavored vinegar can be any of the following: allspice, cinnamon, cardamom, ginger, juniper, white, pink, black and green peppercorns, chili peppers, nutmeg and herb seeds of anise, dill, caraway, celery, coriander, cumin and mustard. Combine spices and vinegar in a sauce pan and heat to 110 degrees. (This releases the essential oils from the woody botanicals.) Then remove pan from heat and let cool before pouring in steeping container.



Let mixtures steep in a dark place at room temperature. Shake the jar every couple days and taste the vinegar after a week. If you would like the flavor stronger let it stand for another one to three weeks, checking the taste weekly. When the flavor is to your liking, strain the vinegar and pour into clean sterilized decorative bottles, cap tightly and label.



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