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!
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?