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      Herbal vinegars are a wonderful addition to any homemade salad dressing or cooking project. They are also delicious on fruits and vegetables,or as a marinade for meats. But herbal vinegars can be hard to find and expensive.

      I will tell you how to make your own herbal vinegars, to use yourself, or give as gifts. If using for gifts, you will want to bottle them in attractive bottles or jars. These can be found at many discount stores, yard sales, auctions and flea markets.

      You can also recycle old liquor and wine bottles. Just make sure they are sterilized, and have tight fitting lids or corks.

      While you can use any combination of any herbs that you happen to have on hand to suit your tastes, this will give you an example of different herbal vinegars and how to make them.

      raspberry vinegar
      2 12 ounce packages frozen raspberries
      3 cups red rice wine vinegar

      Thaw and crush one package of raspberries and combine with the vinegar in a heat proof 2 quart glass jar (a canning jar will work). Place the jar in a saucepan filled with water and bring the water to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 20 minutes.

      Remove from heat and allow the jar to cool. Cap the jar and let stand for 2 weeks.

      At the end of the 2 weeks, strain the liquid through a double layer of cheesecloth into a glass bowl. Discard the berries. Thaw and crush the remaining berries.

      Combine the newly crushed berries with the vinegar in the jar. Repeat the heating and standing process for an additional 2 weeks.

      Repeat the straining process and bottle in glass containers. Seal tightly.

      tarragon vinegar
      white wine vinegar
      tarragon sprigs

      remove any browned leaves from the tarragon sprigs, wash, then dry quickly. wrap them in a towel to get rid of any moisture.

      after dry, put a bunch of tarragon in a quart container. bring the vinegar to a boil and pour into the jar over the tarragon. let this cool, uncovered.

      when cool cap the jars and store for at least 2 weeks before use.

      dill, chive or basil vinegar
      for this recipe you can either use fresh or dried herbs. if using fresh herbs, just take a few sprigs of the herb, including the flower heads if using dill (this is the part which form the seeds) and place in a glass container. bring a white wine vinegar to a boil, and pour over the herbs in the jar.

      let cool, uncovered. then seal. this is usually strong enough to use in several days.

      if using dried herbs, follow the same basic directions, but use 3 tablesthingys of the dried herbs per pint of vinegar.

      lemon-mint vinegar
      1 lemon
      1/4 cup fresh mint leaves, chopped
      2 cups white wine vinegar
      additional sprigs of fresh mint
      lemon rind strips

      Cut a continuous spiral of the lemon rind, and place in a wide mouth jar. Add the chopped mint to the jar. Place vinegar in a saucepan and bring to a boil.

      Pour the boiling vinegar over the chopped mint and lemon spiral in the jar. Cover. Let sit at room temperature for 2 weeks.

      After 2 weeks, strain the vinegar into decorative bottles, discarding the used lemon rind and mint. Add the additional fresh sprigs of mints and lemon rind strips. Seal bottles.

      These vinegar recipes should give you somewhere to start in creating your own herbal vinegars. One little tip, be sure to include a fresh sprig of whatever the herbal base you have used. This will make it easy to see at a glance what type of vinegar you have and makes your vinegar look more attractive.

      Herbed vinegars can be used in any recipe that calls for vinegar. Choose the type of vinegar by the herbs you are using. Red and White Wine Vinegars and Rice Vinegars are the most often used, because of their smooth taste.

      White Vinegar is sharper, but is still a nice choice with some herbs. Cider Vinegar has a taste of it’s own, so care has to be taken so that it doesn’t overpower the herbs. Again, I have compiled a nice list of herb combinations for making herbed vinegars in these pages, so feel free to check it out for ideas about herbal combinations and what kinds of vinegars to use.

      This list only a general guideline for beginners, but do experiment with combinations of your favorite herbs on your own.

      In herbed vinegars, the proportion of herb to vinegar is an important consideration as far as taste, and if you have a favorite herb, please adjust the herb proportions accordingly. One thing about making herbed vinegars is that if you make a mistake and the taste is wrong, you haven’t spent much money, and you still have a decorative addition for the kitchen. As a baseline for proportioning the herbs, use three or four 2 inch sprigs of fresh herb per cup of vinegar.

      If using dried herbs, use 1/4 cup of herb per cup of vinegar. If using garlic, hot peppers, or something similar, use 1 garlic clove or 1 pepper per cup of vinegar.

      Place the herbs in clean jars or decorative bottles. Gently heat the vinegar, but don’t boil it. Let it cool down, then pour the warm Vinegar over the herbs in the jars.

      Place the jars in a dark place, such as a cabinet or shelf away from bright windows. The vinegars can be used in 3-4 weeks to up to a year later.

      If you prefer to start out simply, you can make single-herb vinegars – below is a sampling of some herbs and the appropriate types of vinegar to try. This is not a complete list by any stretch, so do experiment on your own once you are comfortable with the basics.

      White Wine Vinegar goes well with Borage, Chive, Dill, Savory, Sage, Opal Basil, Lavender Sprigs or Flowers, Fennel, Parsley, Rosemary, Tarragon, Thyme, Garlic and Onion Stems & Blossoms

      Red Wine Vinegar goes well with Basil, Garlic, Oregano, and Thyme.

      White Vinegar is complimented by Basil, Rosemary, Tarragon, and Dill.

      Cider Vinegar is enhanced by Lovage, Orange Peel Spirals, Raspberries, and Lavender Blossoms.

      Rice Vinegar goes well with Parsley, Dill, Savory, Sage, Rosemary, Purple Basil, Tarragon, Thyme, and Garlic.

      Use these single combinations, or experiment with your own for poultry or seafood marinades, to sprinkle over tomatoes or cucumber dishes, in green salads, mixed with mayonnaise, in bean salads, soups, stews, fish sauces, and for potato salads.

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