To make herbal vinegar is very simple. Take a clean jar…..I like to use either a quart or pint canning jar because the mouth is wide enough to easily add the herbs. Fill the jar with the herbs of your choice. For a pint jar, about 2 cups of fresh herbs is enough. For a quart jar, 3 – 4 cups will work.
Then fill the jar with the vinegar of your choice. Wine or champagne vinegar is great, although costly when making a lot of vinegars. Next best is rice vinegar. You can usually find it in large containers (such as 1 gallon) at an Asian grocery. The cost is quite a bit lower than purchasing the vinegar in small quantities. As a last resort, you may use regular white vinegar…….the kind used for canning. It’ll give your vinegar a sharper flavor. But, it’s better than no herbal vinegar at all!!!
Harvest your herbs in the late morning after the early dew has dried, but before the heat of the day really sets in. The volatile oils are at their peak at this time. If you live where it’s dusty and the herbs need to be washed, swish them in a container of water briefly, then let them dry before making the herb vinegar. If it’s practical, wash the plants off the day before you plan to harvest them. Then, you don’t have to wash them the day you are making the vinegar.
Let the infusion steep for about 2 weeks. Then, pour off the vinegar, straining particles out if necessary. Now you can fill decorative bottles or any bottle of your choice with the flavored vinegar, adding a sprig or two of fresh herbs for looks.
Flavored vinegar should be stored in a dark place or at least out of direct sunlight. Experiment with some of the combinations below, or make up your own. Think of flavors that sound like they’d taste good together. Most of all, do it and have fun.
Herbal Vinegar Ideas
Suggested Combinations of Herbs
Lemon basil by itself
Mexican Mint Marigold (Texas Tarragon) and Peppercorns
Hot Peppers by themselves or with Pearl Onions or Garlic
Fennel, Oregano, Basil, Sage or Garlic
Cinnamon sticks, Whole Cloves, Nutmeg and Allspice
Cinnamon Basil and Whole Cloves
Dill Flowers and Peppercorns
Mint (any kind) by itself (Mix with honey and use on fruit)
Cilantro, Garlic, Whole Cloves and Hot Peppers
Fresh Peaches, Pineapple Sage, Bay, Cinnamon Sticks and Whole Cloves
Salad Burnet by itself for a delicate cucumber flavor (Sprinkle on broiled fish)
Sage, Cinnamon Sticks, Whole Cloves, Whole Allspice, Peppercorns (Marinate pork)
Basil, Garlic and Peppercorns
Rosemary, Garlic, Thyme