With all of those herbs you are growing for the pollinators (Herbs Are Great for Bees), it is easy to make a delicious herb vinegar to capture the season. I use vinegars in my kitchen a lot, in salad dressings, over cooked greens, in soups, or simply when food tastes too “flat” and needs a bit of acid to perk up the flavor. If the vinegar is herbal, even better. Plus, they make great gifts.
While you can follow a recipe for herb vinegar (below I have included one), you can also follow a few simple rules and come up with your own creation. Here’s how:
Choose a vinegar
Cider vinegar, white wine vinegar, champagne vinegar, rice wine vinegar, and red wine vinegar (better with stronger flavored herbs) are all good choices. Choose a good quality vinegar that you like. I would not use white vinegar as it is too sharp in flavor.
Choose your herbs
Any culinary herb that you enjoy can be used. Consider basil, chives, rosemary, tarragon, marjoram, mint, dill, fennel, lemon verbena, lavender, thyme, sage, parsley and cilantro. You can use one herb or a combination of herbs that taste good together. Wash and dry the herbs to remove all water.
Would you like other flavors?
To add even more flavor consider adding garlic, ginger, lemongrass, shallots, cloves, cinnamon sticks, hot peppers, bay leaf, peppercorns, or even nasturtium flowers (adds a peppery flavor). Generally speaking a little goes a long way.
Easy steps to herb vinegar:
- Sterilize the jars you will use. (I use a pretty jar for the finished vinegar and a wide-mouthed jar or bowl to mix the vinegar in.)
- Combine washed and dried herbs (several generous sprigs) and other flavorings (if desired) in the wide-mouth jar or bowl. You don’t need to cut the herbs into small pieces, large sprigs are fine.
- Add vinegar of choice. For a basic recipe I use a quart of vinegar with several sprigs of herbs. You can decide how much vinegar you need to fill your jar and adapt the recipe accordingly.
- Set aside for about 2 weeks. You may want to taste test it at about week one to check the flavor. Note: You are not cooking the vinegar because this would release the fragrant oils into the air–not what you want.
- Once you have the flavor you like, strain the herbs out of the vinegar.
- Bottle in jar of choice (using a funnel is a good idea.)
- If desired add a sprig of herb for the finished bottle.
Recipe for Chive Blossom Vinegar
The chive blossoms turn light vinegar into a beautiful shade of pink, with a chive flavor.
- 1 attractive jar for the final vinegar
- 1 wide-mouthed jar or bowl for mixing the herbs and vinegar
- 2 cups chive blossoms (picked in the morning for best flavor). If you do not have enough blossoms, you can use what you have and let them soak for a longer time.
- 2 cups white wine vinegar
- In your wide-mouthed jar or bowl mix the chive blossoms and vinegar
- Cover and let sit for about 1-2 weeks. Mine was good at 9 days, so I stopped it there.
- Strain chive blossoms out.
- Bottle in a pretty jar.
- Add one chive blossom that has been cleaned and dried.
Now how easy is that?
I used the booklet, Making Herb Vinegars by Jim Long as a guide for the chive blossom vinegar recipe.
Photo credit for featured image: Copyright: kerdkanno / 123RF Stock Photo