You can make your own unique herb vinegars with freshly grown herbs from your own garden or herb pots in your kitchen.
Making your own vinegar is easily done and fairly inexpensive compared to the high cost you will pay for store purchased products. Â A decorative bottle of fresh homemade herb vinegar looks beautiful in your kitchen or will make a wonderful and thoughtful gift to that special cook in your life.
When using fresh herb leaves, gather them just before the plants are in full bloom.Â The oils are strongest at this point in the leaf and the branch.Â Snip off all you need and then wash in cold water.Â Lay them out to dry on paper towels or tie into bunches and hang upside down for a short time.Â Loosely pack about two cups of chopped fresh herbs into a wide-mouth quart glass jar.Â
The best fresh herbs that will make a fine vinegar include the following:
- Lemon Balm
- Summer Savory
Cover with the best quality of vinegar available, tightly cover and let stand in a warm place.Â You will need to shake the jar or stir with a wooden spoon every other day.Â Make sure it's put in a visible place so you don't forget to shake or stir!
There are different types of vinegars that you can use in making your herb vinegar.Â The English like to use malt vinegars and the French use red and white wine vinegars.Â There are also some good cider vinegars.
Some of the best combination of vinegars and herbs are using a white wine vinegar with tarragon, basil and burnet; use full strength cider vinegar with mint; and red wine vinegar with garlic.
After about ten days, take a taste from the jar.Â If the vinegar seems weak and needs more herbs, strain and throw out the the herbs you put in at first, add fresh ones and start all over using the orginal vinegar you started with.Â Taste the vinegar every few days until you reach the strength you like.Â
When you are satisfied with the flavor of the vinegar, pour through a filter and bottle your final product.Â A coffee filter works well for this.Â When bottling use a glass or stainless steel funnel.Â If you are storing in a nice glass bottle add a sprig of the herb for a decorative look.Â If you are giving as gift, tie a little raffia around the top and add a hand-printed description of the vinegar and herbs on a brown paper tag.
If you decide to make special blends with your herbs it is important to not let the strong herbs such as garlic, chives, sweet basil and tarragon overshadow and destroy the effect of the more delicate herbs.
Garlic in the blend should be left in an infusion no longer than the first 24 hours of the two weeks needed to blend the vinegar.
A nice mixed herb vinegar can be made with chives, borage, summer savory, basil and lemon balm.
You can certainly try your own creative mixes and blends to make your vinegars.Â Here are a couple of suggestions for a nice herb bouquet:
- About 1 1/2 ounces each of summer savory, chives, marjoram, and tarragon.Â AddÂ some chopped mint and balm to taste.
- Fresh basil, rosemary, mint, tarragon, marjoram, bay, crushed dill seeds, and few crushed cloves of pepper and a bit of all-spice
Making a vinegar with aromatic seeds is also very simple.Â Bruise the seeds in a mortar with pestle, about two tablespoons for a quart of vinegar.Â Place the seeds in a jar and pour hot vinegar over the seeds.Â Cover the jar tightly and place in a warm spot for about two weeks.Â Shake every other day.Â At the end of the two weeks, strain through a coffee filter into a bottle or glass jar and cork tightly.
Seeds that blend well in herb vinegars are:
Making your own herb vinegars is a journey into the unknown of unique tastes.Â Experiment and enjoy.Â Â Â