I’ve long been the sort of person who looks at a commercially prepared item and wonders, “Could I make that?” Whether it’s a facial mask, flavored coffee or insect repellant, I’m constantly asking myself, “Woman, are you up to the challenge?” Sometimes, no, I’m not, but typically, why yes, I am! Now that fresh herbs are back in season and the first crop of arugula is popping up in the garden, I’ve had salad on my mind. To dress those salads, I’ve had vinegars on my mind. And because I’m always wondering if I can whip up something myself, I’ve had a mind to make infused vinegars, which I’ll share with you today. — Ashley English
The full post and how-to is after the jump…
The process of making infused vinegars at home couldn’t be easier. You simply fill a sterilized glass jar with infusing agents of your choice, top them off with warmed vinegar, seal and label. A few weeks later, the pungent, sour liquid is imbued with a heady blend of flavorful aromatics. Purchased pre-made, these beauties would set you back a good bit. Done up yourself, however, they top out around a dollar or two per bottle, which, from my vantage point, is a very, very good thing.
Pictured here are three vinegars I recently infused. Let these serve as a springboard for infused vinegars of your own. Trade out tarragon for rosemary, peaches for the berries or lemongrass for the garlic and chilies and create a custom kitchen of vinegars curated to your and your family’s preferences. That’s the beauty of making things yourself; you’re at the helm, guiding the flavors wherever you choose.
Tarragon & Orange Vinegar
- 1 Tablespoon orange zest
- 2–3 sprigs fresh tarragon
Black & Blue Lavender Vinegar
- 6–8 blueberries
- 4–6 blackberries
- 2 teaspoons lavender buds
Hot & Spicy Vinegar
- 2–3 dried chilies
- 2–3 garlic cloves
- 1 teaspoon brown mustard seeds
- 1 teaspoon coriander seeds
1. Choose a glass vessel to your liking. I keep a variety of used bottles on hand for purposes just like this. Sterilize and dry them.
2. Place your infusing agent of choice in the jar. If necessary, use a skewer or chopstick to press the items down into the jar.
3. Warm 1–3 cups of white or red wine vinegar until hot but not boiling (the amount used will depend on the size of your bottle; to know how much liquid your bottle will hold, pour a measured amount of water into it first and determine your vinegar quantity accordingly).
4. Transfer to a spouted container and pour over the infusing agents in the jar until full.
5. Store in a cool location out of direct sunlight (such as a cabinet or pantry) for two weeks, shaking the bottle every few days.
6. Strain the solids and discard (or compost). If desired, place a small amount of the initial infusing agents back in the jar for presentation. Label and use within three months.
Infused vinegars are fantastic, affordable, creative and tasty selections for gift-giving. With Mother’s Day, graduation, Father’s Day and so many other holidays coming up over the next few months and weeks, you may want to consider whipping up one of these tart and tangy brews for your nearest and dearest. They’re also incredibly handy as last minute “I need a gift, now!” items, for occasions like house-warming parties or host/hostess gifts. A bit of twine, raffia or ribbon and a tag are all that’s needed to dress up your concoctions.
What about you? Have any favorite infusion combinations? I’d love to hear about them. Otherwise, I’m off to splash my arugula with something homemade, easy, budget-friendly and, most of all, delicious!
Photography and styling by Jen Altman