Make your own flavored vinegars...

Discussion in 'Food & Cooking' started by chrisbelgium, Mar 28, 2011.

  1. chrisbelgium

    chrisbelgium

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    Did you know you can flavor vinegar and produce your very own homemade stuff? I'm not talking about actually brewing your own vinegar, but about macerating herbs in vinegar. Spring and summer will bring lots of stuff that you can use. Simply collect flowers or leaves, rince them quickly, dry them quickly (I use a home salad drier), fill your bottles or use a large glass jar, add white vinegar, preferably organic and let your preparation enjoy the sun for the rest of the summer. Filter if necessary and put into bottles. Forget for some years, then use...

    As you can see, I fill a lot of smaller bottles and make my own labels. Nice presents for fellow foodies!

    [​IMG]

    In the picture from left to right;

    - Tarragon vinegar. The 2 bottles on the left are made with branches of tarragon, collected in high summer. The first bottle is a gift from a friend. It dates from...2002! I used some just a month ago in mayo. The longer this vinegar rests, the softer the taste gets as the vinegar loses its sharpeness but not the flavor. The leaves can stay inside the bottle as long as you like.

    Delicious for making mayo and above all, as a starter liquid for béarnaise! Also amazing on summer ripe tomatoes; just the vinegar, no oil.

    - Rose vinegar. When wild roses produce flowers, collect them, wash and dry them and put in a large jar to macerate in the sun all summer. Produces a very particular flavor, very useful like in couscous, salads etc. Very fresh floral taste.

    - Elder flower vinegar. My favorite. Collect the flowers in spring, proceed as with the rose vinegar. Absolutely stunning flavor. I use it frequently to correct the acidity in dishes. People are startled by this unknown flavor. I also make a variation; elder flowers in wodka; totally amazing in cakes etc. instead of using vanilla extract.

    - Basil vinegar. Made with the leaves of purple basil. Frequently used in sauce reductions. Delicious. Also in tomato salads.

    Forget about balsamic vinegar, this is much more tasty and fun to make!

    Any other ideas?
     
    Last edited: Mar 28, 2011
  2. longcolts

    longcolts

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    If I allow it to set in the sun for the summer it probably will have come to almost a boil several times!  I live in AZ where June temps run between 108 to 115 degrees in the shade!  :p
     
  3. chrisbelgium

    chrisbelgium

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    Longcolts, in Italy balsamic vinegar is stored on attics where in summer the temperatures are extreme high and very low in winter. Don't worry, it won't boil.
     
  4. longcolts

    longcolts

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    Then here it would probably be ok to place in a storage room.  Thank you!
     
  5. phatch

    phatch Moderator Staff Member

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    My favorite flavored vinegar is actually lemon balsamic. A decent balsamic with lemon rind steeped in it for a couple of  weeks.
     
  6. mikez

    mikez

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    I enjoy a good garlic vinegar. I think it is made from apple cider vinegar so yummy sometimes i just take shots of it.. like right now
     
  7. scarletswitchit

    scarletswitchit

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    Sometimes, no vinegar seems to beat a little hot pepper vinegar on pork stewed turnip greens... it may be as southern and basic as a side dish can get but what can I say?
     
  8. grumio

    grumio

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    Trader Joe's carries a "white balsamic" vinegar which makes TERRIFIC tarragon vinegar.  Oooh - lemon tarragon vinegar... think I may have to give that a whirl.
     
  9. chrisbelgium

    chrisbelgium

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    This is something I want in my collection too. Do you make your own? Or if not can you refer to a brand or any directions which peppers are used; dried/fresh?
     
    Last edited: Apr 2, 2011
  10. scarletswitchit

    scarletswitchit

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    I used to go through so many bottles, I started making my own.  Of the many, many brands I have tried, I reccommend Chili Pepper Vincotto Vinegar (find it online @ http://www.passionatepalate.co.uk/index.php?main_page=product_info&products_id=82.)

    If you plan on using it sparingly to spice up meats/game/bitter veggies/etc, get the bottle above.  I swear by it when i'm not cooking WITH it.  For example, I like to drizzle it over grilled peaches during the summer for a nice outdoor treat, or during the fall put a tad atop some roasted pumpkin and bacon, or add a few drops to my bi-weekly serving of stewed turnip greens.)

    If you're planning on actually cooking with your vinegar, make your own b/c it'll save you a shoot-ton of money.  Just like good olive oil, there are some kinds that are best for cooking, others are best for complimenting a dish and you wouldn't dare cook WITH it.  In this case, try the recipe I follow:

    --White vinegar

    --Raw Cider vinegar (with "the mother")

    --Several long sprigs of oregano, enough to fill 1/4 your mason jar
    ***Do 2 batches your first time around, one jar w/ the oregano, one without.  The difference is tremendous and you'll find which one you like best AND have a variety for dishes you plan on serving to guests.***

    --Enough ripe, raw peppers of your choice (I like to mix jalapenos, banana peps, and one or two habaneros.)

    ~Simply fill 1/2 of your mason jar with the peppers (in the batch using oregano, your jar will be about 3/4 full)
    ~Fill the bottle with half white vinegar, half (shaken) raw cider vinegar.
    ~Using a chopstick, nudge the oregano sprigs around until you're pleased with the way the bottle looks.
    ~Lid it.  Put it in a cabinet or the bottom of your pantry (where it's kinda cool and dark.)
     

    Every week or so gently shake it, then put it back.  In about three to four weeks, the vinegar will develop the bite you're looking for.

    As you use the vinegar, you can replenish the jar with a little fresh vinegar, this will "dilute" the heat after time, but the first two or three times of "refilling" won't make much of a difference, depending on the size of your jar.
     
  11. scarletswitchit

    scarletswitchit

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    Oh!  @ChrisBelgium, I forgot to add: slice the tip of each pepper before putting it in your mason jar.  This will allow the vinegar to come in direct contact with the seeds, but the little slit won't allow the seeds to come out of the pepper.
     
  12. chrisbelgium

    chrisbelgium

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    Thanks so much for sharing! I will try this out as soon as nice ripe peppers are available.