Specialty vinegars are becoming ever more popular throughout the country. They are sought after for their culinary uses and as medicinal aids. For those lucky enough to have their own herbs available, here is a simple recipe and method for making your own herb vinegars:
- 1 gallon jug of white vinegar
- Assorted fresh herbs
- 2 glass jugs, 1 gallon size
- Plastic wrap
A good assortment of herbs for vinegar, are Oregano, Chives, Garlic, Rosemary, Thyme, Tarragon, and Basil.
Harvest your fresh herbs early in the morning before the sun warms them too much. Wash the herbs thoroughly and pat dry with paper towels. Do not remove the leaves from the stalks, but do use tender, not woody, stalks.
While the herbs are drying, wash and sterilize the glass jugs. Fill the jugs with the fresh herbs of your choice, you might try combining Oregano, garlic and chives, or Tarragon, with a few slices of lemon, Rosemary and Thyme make a nice vinegar, and Basil, all by itself is a treat.
Fill the jug to the top with the white vinegar, and cover the jug opening with a piece of plastic wrap, before putting the lid on tightly.
Invert the Jug and place it outside where it will get full sun, then forget about it for the next 4 to 6 weeks. You can leave the jugs out longer if you don't have time to decant them.
When you are ready to decant the herbal vinegar, wash and sterilize smaller containers. Some people use canning jars, some use recycled liquor bottles, and some use attractive bottles found at flea markets or yard sales.
Strain the herbal vinegar twice through cheesecloth. If it still seems a bit cloudy, strain again, it couldn't hurt (smile). Then simply pour the herbal vinegar into the prepared containers, cap and label them. That's all there is to it. They are ready to use, or give as gifts. Have fun experimenting with different flavors. I like this "Sun Tea" type of brewing the vinegars because the herbal oils slowly leech into the vinegar and do not separate. For those watching their diets, these vinegars can be used on salads with no need to add oil.