Herbal Vinegars

Herbal vinegars are easy to make and totally worth that extra flavor they add to foods - not to mention they are gorgeous.

 

I make herbal vinegar by combining herbs with White Distilled Vinegar.   Some of my favorites are Oregano, Rosemary, and Basil.

Purple Basil 

I gather my herbs first thing in the morning.

When I bring them in I wash them thoroughly and allow them to sit on the towel for about 30 minutes - I typically turn them on the towel at least once so that most of the excess water is absorbed into the towel.  As I wash the leaves and stems (if I am using stems) and make sure I'm only keeping the healthiest of leaves and stems so I get maximum flavor.

While my herbs dry a little (I don't want them to wilt) I prep my garlic.  I use whole cloves in my herbal vinegars.  For every cup my jar will hold I use 2 cloves of garlic.  So, a pint jar has 4 cloves and a quart 8.

getting garlic ready - this garlic is from our garden also

When I put the herbs in the jar I do not pack them in.  I just fill the jar.  If I have to push it in to get more leaves in the jar I consider it full.

Lastly, I bring my vinegar to a boil.  I use enough vinegar to fill each jar of leaves I have.  I prefer Mason jars because it keeps the math easy, but any glass jar with a tight fitting lid will work just fine.

Once to the vinegar has come to a good solid boil I turn it off and let it cool a minute (I don't want to break the glass jars).  Using a funnel I pour the vinegar over the leaves and garlic just under the rim.  There is pressure that builds up in the jar so you need to be sure to leave room for it.

Vinegar ready to sit for 30 days

The vinegar needs to sit in a dark place for about 30 days so it can draw all the deliciousness out of the leaves.

After 30 days

Once it's done, pop the lid, strain it (cheesecloth is great - mine was dirty from some comfrey massage oil I made the other day), so I used a sieve instead.  I don't bother chopping up my leaves - some leaves release their flavor even better when crushed or serrated.  I get enough flavor without taking the extra step, but you always can.

strain

When you're all done make sure you keep in a jar with a lid that seals.  I store mine in the fridge, but it does have a nice shelf life in an air tight container. 6-8 months.

To cook with it you use it anywhere you would use vinegar that you are itching to have a little extra umpf of flavor!

Winters looking pretty tasty! 

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