When I was a kid, the two kinds of vinegar most people used were cider made from apples and clear made from grains. Boy things have changed. Today we have all kinds of vinegar, from apple cider, clear, to trendy Sherry vinegars and Balsamic vinegars. This is a wonderful vinegar recipe you can use in dressings or, in a pretty jar, this vinegar makes a lovely gift.
Vinegar has a very long history. It’s an ancient condiment. Vinegar was usually made from wine in those days – not like the apple cider or grain vinegar that we have today, but simply grape wine that was allowed to go “sour” – this wine vinegar was used a lot by the poorer people. Today it’s a bright and flavorful ingredient in many popular recipes.
Homemade Vinegar Recipe
This vinegar recipe makes a great gift from the garden.
Vinegar Recipe – Basil
Wash and dry a glass container – it can be a canning jar, a decorative bottle, etc. If the lid is metal, you will have to put a piece of plastic wrap under the lid to keep the vinegar, with its acidity, from destroying the lid.
- Fill the jar 1/3 to 1/2 way up with herbs. Your favorite herbs, up to 3-4 different kinds, or simply 1 kind, work well.
- Bruise the herbs with a spoon as you put them in the jar. Add aromatics such as a piece of shalott, a clove of garlic, a hot pepper, etc. if you want. It’s your choice!
- Pour wine vinegar or champagne vinegar over the herbs to cover. I make my own wine vinegar by pouring 1/4 cup white wine into a quart of clear vinegar.
- Let steep for a week or so either on the counter or in a cool, dark place. The brighter and warmer the area, the quicker the herbs will infuse. You’ll know its ready when you open the jar and can smell her aroma of the herbs wafting out. When herbs have infused, strain them out and add a new sprig of herb to your vinegar.
1/3 cup herb vinegar recipe1 teaspoon prepared Dijon mustard1 small clove garlic, minced2/3 cup Olive oilSalt and pepper to taste
Vinegar Recipe – Herb Infused Vinegar
Combine ingredients in a plastic container with a tight fitting lid. Shake to combine and serve immediately.
Balsamic vinegar is a very popular vinegar now. It’s made from the skins of fresh grapes, so when you buy Balsamic vinegar, read the label and it should indicate that there’s “must” (grape skins) in there. Sometimes if you buy a very inexpensive Balsamic vinegar you’ll find that it’s mostly caramel coloring and regular vinegar.
Are all good Balsamic vinegars expensive? They can range anywhere from $10 to hundreds of dollars. It’s the process that makes them expensive: the vinegar is aged in different kinds and sizes of wooden barrels for many years, just like wine, and the vinegar takes on all the nuances and flavors of the wood.
Modena, Italy still produces what I consider to be the best Balsamic vinegar – that’s the birthplace of Balsamic vinegar.
Cider vinegar has been in the news a lot as a wonder vinegar. It’s not only used in foods, but for cleaning produce. One of my favorite uses is an old fashioned produce wash for salad greens.
Vinegar Recipe for Produce Wash
3 tablespoons cider vinegar (organic if you have it) 6 cups of water
Combine and let your produce soak a few minutes, rinse in clear water, drain, dry. This removes toxins and bacteria and is less harsh than some commercial produce cleaners.
Try this for hard skinned produce, like citrus, cucumbers, apples, etc.: Equal parts clear vinegar and water. Either soak produce or put mixture in spray bottle and spray produce. Let sit a bit, rinse, drain & dry. Removes bacteria and toxins safely.
Clear vinegar, too is in the news. Pour some in your rinse water for clothes and it softens and removes any residual soap.