How to Make Your Own Flavored Vinegars
Vinegar is not just for pickles anymore. Infuse the flavor of your favorite herbs and fruits into vinegar for an added experience in the kitchen. Flavored vinegar is a wonderful gift any time of year. You can make a variety of healthy flavored vinegars in your kitchen using safe food-handling procedures. When you make your own vinegars, use only glass jars with a cap or cork and pay attention to cooking times and storage recommendations.
Sterilize the glass jars and bottles by boiling them in a large stock pot using a hot water bath for 10 minutes. Use tongs to remove the glassware from the pan and set upside-down on paper towels. Wash the lids or corks in warm soapy water. Rinse and place in scalding water -- 140 degrees Fahrenheit or hotter, verified by a cooking thermometer -- until ready for use.
Remove any bacteria from the fresh herbs by soaking in a solution of 1 tsp. bleach to 6 cups of water. Remove the herbs after 5 minutes and rinse well with clear water. Pat dry and set aside on clean paper towels.
Insert the selected herbs, fruits or vegetables into the sterile jars. You may wish to skewer smaller pieces, such as garlic, pearl onions or spiral citrus peels, onto bamboo skewers for easy removal from the flavored vinegar.
Attach a cooking thermometer to the side of a 1-qt. pan. Pour 2 cups of white vinegar into the pan and heat to 195 degrees. Pour the hot vinegar over the selected flavorings and wipe the rims of the jars to remove any residue. Seal with the proper lid or cork.
Store the processing flavored vinegars for three weeks or more in a dark place until the desired flavor is achieved. A good storage space is an unused shelf in your pantry. Remove any skewers from the jars and strain the vinegar through a cheesecloth until the liquid is clear.
Add sanitized herb sprigs or fruits to clean and sanitized jars. Pour the flavored vinegars into the prepared jars and seal. Store in the refrigerator.
Things You Will Need
- Glass jars with lids or corks
- Large stock pot
- Paper towels
- White vinegar
- Cooking or candy thermometer
- 1-qt. pan
- Fresh herbs
- Fresh fruits
- Citrus peels
- Bamboo skewers
- For one pint of flavored vinegar, use 3 tsp. of dried herbs or 2 to 3 sprigs of fresh herbs. For fruit-flavored vinegars, use 1 to 2 cups of fresh fruit.
- Discard any vinegar that becomes fermented or shows signs of mold. Do not use vinegars that were displayed for decorative purposes.