As summer progresses, I get an abundance of herbs. I like to make herb vinegars that I can use all year long, or give as gifts at Christmas. It is super easy and I will give you the knowhow.
Let’s talk containers. You should use a clean (dishwasher cleaning is great) glass bottle or jar. I have used wine bottles, scotch bottles and even old bottles I’ve found in my yard. You know all those wine corks you save but never really plan to use? Now you have a use.
You can make herb vinegar with white vinegar, white wine vinegar or red wine vinegar. It’s what you feel like making. If you only have white vinegar, that’s great, it doesn’t have to be white wine vinegar, I just like it best.
My latest batch was using white wine vinegar (you can make your own but it takes several months) I bought at the store, and fresh tarragon from my garden.
Red wine vinegar goes well with a hearty herb such as basil or sage or rosemary. White wine vinegar is more delicate and goes well with tarragon, thyme, chervil, savory, chive or marjoram. But, if you only have old fashioned white vinegar, that works just fine.
Why herb vinegar and not herb oil? Great question, because the acetic acid in vinegar prevents the growth of botulism. Only use commercially made herb oils.
Here is the recipe:
Place the contents of a bottle of vinegar in a saucepan. Bring to just a simmer, you don’t want it to boil. Add your herbs (a small handful whole, not chopped) and turn off. Let cool, then pour through a strainer into a clean glass bottle or jar (or use the same bottle the vinegar came in). That’s it. It will last for a very long time. If you get some fragments of the herbs, that’s just fine. Won’t hurt anything. I even leave in the garlic and peppercorns so I know what’s in the bottle.
Some good combos:
- Red wine vinegar with garlic, basil and peppercorns. Just simmer the garlic and peppercorns with the vinegar then add the basil and turn off the heat.
- White wine vinegar with dill
- White wine vinegar with chive and thyme.
- White wine vinegar with thyme and lemon zest
You really can make any combination and you don’t need to make a huge batch. Make several small batches with different ingredients. That way you will find your favorite flavor pairings and can pass them on.