Monday, November 12, 2007

Herbal Vinegar - a gift from the garden

It is easy to make your own vinegar and it is fun to give for gifts as well. Today's post is a quick tutorial on how to make herbal vinegar. First clip what you have left in your garden to harvest. Even though we are well into November, we still have alot of parsley, mint, burnet (cucumber flavor), rosemary of course, lemony lemon verbena, bay leaves, lovage, garlic chives and savory. Next collect a wide mouth jar to put your rinsed clippings into. You don't want to pack the jar tight but you do want it to be full. Next add your vinegar to that. You can use healthful apple cider vinegar, or smooth white wine vinegar, or rice vinegar works also. Balsamic vinegar has such a strong flavor of its own that it seems to work only with strong flavored herbs such as sage and rosemary. Pour the vinegar over the herbs in the wide mouth jar and let them sit for 2 to 4 weeks. You will be able to tell when it is done as the herbs will turn brown and sink to the bottom. If you use colorful chive blossoms, red rose petals or purple basil, the white wine vinegar will even turn a lovely shade of pink. At the end of the two weeks or the month, strain out the vinegar, bottle and use. For gift giving be sure to label your vinegar and also add a recipe or two to the gift. If you want, you can add a fresh sprig of Rosemary or Tarragon to your bottled vinegar, but do know that is not where the flavor comes from. Remember when working with vinegar, that it "eats' through metal rather quickly, so if your wide mouth jar has a metal lid you must put a layer of wax paper between the vinegar and the lid.

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