14 September 2007

Do not forget the Herbal Vinegar

End of the summer around here is a busy time as I am always trying to make sure to put up all the delicious things that are coming in fast and furious. We had red and yellow bell peppers and peperoncini, lots of blackberries, elderberry, and not enough mushrooms. It has been a beehive of activity around all the coming and goings of our always interesting guests. So I thought I would just mention herbal vinegars to add to the list of things to put up for the winter before all of your herbs have finished up for the season. It always makes ordinary vinegar a bit more complex and intriguing when you dash a bit on your average salad. We eat a lot of salads and use a few marinades, so a variety of herbal vinegars add a bit of zip to things and uses up a bit of those excess herbs. I started out with a mix which came to mind, Parsley, sage, rosemary and time and it came out rather nice. I always have an abundance of marjoram, so a combination with some chives, hot pepper and of course garlic, is a staple around our house. One of my other favorite vinegars is to make a cilantro vinegar to add to my Mexican salsa in the winter as fresh cilantro is almost impossible to find. I always grow some in the summer and long for it all winter. When I'm mot eating it fast enough I end up with coriander seeds and that is not too bad of an option as well.
The main thing to keep in mind is to thoroughly dry your herbs after washing before stuffing a wide mouthed jar full of your favorite herbal combinations, add white wine vinegar and let them set for at least one week or two weeks so all the flavor of the herbs are leached out of the plants. Strain the herbs carefully discard the herbs and let your vinegar age for about 6 weeks for the flavors to develop. Fruits can be nice addition as well.
Experiment with different combinations. The flavors improve as they sit for awhile.
  • Cilantro, garlic, hot pepper, lemon or lime peel
  • Chives, oregano, thyme
  • Basil, Garlic, Bay
  • Parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme
  • The combinations are endless
I came across a site called Gardens Ablaze who has a fantastic list of suggestions of herbs to match with different types of vinegar, if you have the interest. Next it's on to flavored oils to use up a few more of those overabundant herbs. Stay tuned....

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