Tuesday, July 28, 2009

How to Make Herb-Infused Vinegar

Our gardens have been producing lots of savory, thyme, parsley, tarragon, oregano, and sage. Jessica, one of our working members, is interested in making herb-infused vinegars. Here's what she found (thanks, Jessica!):

These instructions are adapted from the Bountiful Pantry class with Sandy Cruz (http://hialtpc.org/). She's having another class August 29, and I highly recommend it for learning about preserving foods without freezing or canning.

Containers: Use only
glass jars with screw lids, caps, or corks. Small canning jars work well. Wash and then sterilize the jars and lids in simmering hot water for 10 minutes, or run them through the dishwasher and use right away.

Vinegars: Use good-quality, distilled white vinegar for delicate herbs. Use cider or wine vinegar for stronger herbs.

Flavorings: Use culinary herbs (basil, mint, tarragon, etc.), as well as garlic and citrus peels. Everything should be very fresh and washed, with bad parts trimmed off.
Use 3-4 sprigs of herbs or 6-8 small cloves of garlic or chunks of citrus peel per quart of vinegar. Reduce the amount of flavorings for smaller jars of vinegar. You can still use 3-4 sprigs, but make them smaller. They should fit in the jar easily, with room for the vinegar to cover them. Try making several small jars with different flavors, and use no more than three flavorings per vinegar.

Examples: basil and
cider vinegar; sage and tarragon with white wine vinegar; garlic, mint, and lemon peel with white wine vinegar

Procedure: Put the flavoring in the bottle and add the vinegar to cover all of the flavorings. Cap tightly and place in a cool, dark place or the refrigerator for 2-4 weeks. Then strain out the flavorings and return the vinegar to the jar. Keep it tightly capped in a cool, dark place. It should last 2-4 months, but check for odd smell, color, taste, or appearance before using. Trust your senses. If something doesn't seem right, don't use it. If you're really worried about bacteria, stick to distilled white vinegar.

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