Make Your Own

Flavored Vinegars

Make your own flavored oils and flavored vinegars . They make great heart warming gifts from your own kitchen for any occassion. In our fast paced word most of us don't share the heart to heart and warm gifts hot from the oven like was common in grandma's time. We hope this information will inspire you to do it yourself and create something wonderful and heart warming from your your home as a gift for someone special.

Making Flavored Vinegars and Oils

Both vinegars and oils absorb other flavors very easily. By heating them, adding herbs or fruits, and allowing them to infuse, you can create unique flavor combinations great for use in cooking.

Any kind of vinegar can be used as a base for flavored vinegars as long as it contains at least 5 percent acidity. For flavored oils you can use many of the inexpensive oils available at your supermarket, corn oil or vegetable oil work well because they are highly refined and are almost tasteless.

If you want a more flavorful oil look for the words unrefined, virgin or cold pressed oils . You can occasionally find a tasty olive oil in your supermarket. A dark green colored oil is an indication of a stronger flavor.

The best quality oils are produced from the first pressing of the seed, nut or fruit and are characterized by a dark color, distinctive flavor, and usually, some sediment.

When using one of the more flavorful unrefined oils, arrange your flavor combinations carefully. For example adding garlic to malt vinegar is an unappealing idea.

These decant oils and vinegars can be put into wonderful glass bottles that you may find at discount stores or garage sales during the summer and sealed with a cork and dipped in paraffin that has been colored . Do not use metal caps with vinegar products as the vinegar will corrode the cap.

Flavored vinegars keep indefinitely and can be prepared weeks in advance.As long as clean and high-quality ingredients (vinegar and herbs, vegetables or fruits) are used, the greatest concern with homemade flavored vinegars should be mold or yeast and then having to throw out your product. If your flavored vinegar starts to mold at any time, or show signs of fermentation such as bubbling, cloudiness or sliminess, discard the product and do not use any of it that is left.

The oils may go rancid after 6 or 8 weeks, so prepare floavored oils only a couple of weeks before using.

What a great gift to give someone and very inexpensive. Label your fancy bottle and make a label or hang tag to put on your bottle if giving for a gift.

Flavored Vinegars Recipes

Before You Start

Select and prepare containers first. Use only glass jars or bottles that are free of cracks or nicks and can be sealed with a screw-band lid, cap or cork. Wash containers thoroughly, then sterilize by immersing the jars in a pan of hot water and simmering for 10 minutes. Once jars are sterilized, remove from the simmering water and invert on paper towel to dry.

Thoroughly wash your herbs, fruits, vegetables before putting them into the steralized jars.

The recipes below can be adapted to use whatever fruits, herbs or spices you wish to use.

Raspberry or Fruit Vinegars

Makes 4 cups

2 cups red raspberries

4 cups white vinegar

Add the berries to vinegar. Heat gently for 15 minutes to infuse the flavor and red color, but be very careful not to boil the mixture. Strain and pour into pretty bottles. Use a sliver of bamboo or a long toothpick and thread some berries onto it, then add to the vinegar. Cork and seal bottle. Label.. Use with your favorite oil to make a refresing salad dressing.

Other fruits such as strawberries, blackberries, blueberries etc can be substituted for a different flavour using this same method.

Herbal Vinegars

Makes 2 cups

Infusion time: 4 to 5 Days

2 cups vinegar (white, cider, or wine)

6-8 tablespoons of minced fresh herbs

Bring vinegar to a simmer, remove from heat, and add 6 to 8 tablespoons of herbs. Cover and allow to sit 4 or 5 days shaking occasionally. Strain into a bottle and add a fresh sprig of herb. Cork tightly and dip bottle neck in melted paraffin to seal. Label and store.

You can use almost any herb or combination of herbs in this recipe. Try tarragon, chives basil , marjoram, dill, sage, rosemarry or winter savory. Garlic will add even more spice.

Prepare tarragon vinegar and add a whole long red pepper for a great flavor and a nice presentation.

Garlic Vinegar

Makes 2 cups

Infusion time: Overnight

2 cups wine vinegar

1 Clove garlic, quartered

1 bay leaf

Bring vinegar to a simmer, add garlic and bay leaf. Allow to stand overnight, strain, and bottle. Place in refrigerator.

Raspberry-Mint Vinegar

Makes 6 cups

1 -12 ounce package frozen unsweetened reasberries or 3 cups fresh raspberries

4 cups cider vinegar

2 cups dry red wine

3 teaspoons dried mint, crushed or 3 or 4 fresh mint sprigs.

Thaw raspberries, if frozen, Or, rinse fresh raspberries with cold water, drain. In a large bowl combine raspberries, vinegar, and wine. Cover and let sit overnight. The next day in a stainless steel or enamel saucepan heat vinegar mixture to boiling. Boil, uncovered 3 minutes. Place 1 teaspoon of the dried mint in each of three 16 ounce bottles. Pour hot vinegar over mint in each bottle. Strain mixture, discarding solids. Cover tightly. Store vinegar in a cool dark place for 2 to 4 weeks before using or giving.

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