Add a sparkle to your vinaigrette. Create beautiful, unique gifts. Decorate using bottles filled with colourful flavoured vinegars. Featured here are two vinegars I recently made, one with chive blossoms and the other with tarragon. Herbs, spices, and fruit can be added to any vinegar if it is at least 5% acidity. Knowing how to properly make these vinegars will ensure a safe product without yeast causing cloudiness.
Vinegar is one of the very few foods that has played remarkable roles in cooking, medicine, food preservation and cleaning! Incredibly, its history dates back to 5000 BCE. Today we enjoy many varieties of vinegars which can be elevated to exquisite levels with the addition of fruit, herbs, and spices. Give it a try!
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- For each 500 ml of vinegar, use:
- 3 to 4 sprigs fresh, washed, and sanitized herbs
- 3 TBSP dried herbs
- 1 to 2 cups fruit, frozen is great
- Rind of one orange or lemon
- Other additions may include peeled garlic, peppercorns, jalapeno peppers, spices such as cinnamon or star anise.
Choose Your Combo
Select the type of vinegar you want to work with and the herbs, spice, and fruit. Milder vinegars such as wine or champagne are best suited for tender herbs. Cider vinegar goes well with fruit. White vinegar is sharp but is suitable for stronger herbs and spices.
Sterilize & Sanitize
Sterilize canning jars by boiling them for 10 minutes. Keep them warm until you are ready to pour in vinegar that has been heated to just below boiling point. For fresh herbs, wash carefully. Then sanitize the sprigs in a solution of 1 tsp bleach and 6 cups water. Rinse thoroughly and dry. This step is important to prevent bacteria & yeast formation. Pour vinegar over herbs, spice, or fruit. Put sterilized lids on and move the jars to a cool, dark location.
Percolate & Decant
Let the infusion rest a minimum of 10 days but full flavourings will happen in about 3 weeks. After this resting period, strain the vinegar through cheesecloth or a coffee filter. Sterilize jars for final bottling. Pour heated vinegar into jars. If desired, add a sprig of clean, sanitized herbs, fruit, or spices. Apply a tightly fitting lid. Date and label the jars.
Flavoured vinegars are best used within 3 months. Fruit vinegars can discolour after that time. Refrigeration will extend the quality to up to 8 months according to the University of Georgia.
A couple of caveats: Use only commercial vinegars for this purpose. Also note that flavoured vinegars can be safely made at home, but flavoured oils cannot. Flavoured oils pose a botulism risk so stick with flavouring vinegars for home use and for gifts.