Homemade Herb Vinegar
It makes a great gift!
There used to be a few local herb growers who made their own herb vinegars and sold them at craft markets, but I haven’t seen any local herb vinegar for sale lately. I used to make my own herb vinegars, but fell out of the habit sometime in the 90’s!
And so it's time to start again, especially since the last time I checked the price of flavored vinegar, I was shocked. In fact, I was shocked at the price of a gallon of plain old cider vinegar! All the more reason to create your own specialty vinegars!
Luckily, I started before the storms hit. When I heard of the first impending bad weather, I harvested all the tarragon left in my herb pots, which yielded about two cups. I crumpled the tarragon between my hands to bruise it, and stuffed half of it each into two very clean mason jars. I poured cider vinegar over the crushed tarragon leaves and sealed up the jars with lids and rings, and used my trusty sharpie to mark the top with the date about three weeks in the future. The jars sat out of the way for those three weeks before I poured the liquid through a couple layers of cheesecloth. It then went into some decorative bottles and I stuffed a fresh sprig of tarragon into each bottle. Once the corks were in, they were ready to go on the shelf. Those two quarts should last a while. Of course, my culinary friends will love them as gifts, so I probably should have made more!
The same technique can be used for other herb vinegars. How about chive blossom white vinegar? The chive blossoms give the vinegar a lovely pink color and light onion taste. Or how about basil, oregano and thyme in red wine vinegar? This makes a delightful salad dressing or marinade. I have a friend who even makes a hair rinse with rosemary white vinegar. She swears by it to make her unruly hair very soft.
Do you use herb vinegars? If someone gave you a pretty bottle as a gift, would you use it, or would it sit on a shelf, just looking nice? What other flavored vinegars do you like?