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Festive Cranberry Vinegar

December 7, 2010

Most herbs and even fruits can be used to flavour and infuse your vinegar.  In this next recipe (adapted from Mary Anne Dragan’s book Well Preserved) we use some of the beautiful, plump, tart cranberries (from our local marsh) as well as some of our garden herbs to flavor the vinegar.  Now, we are by no means experts in this area and lots of people will be more knowledgable then us…suggestions, comments, and ideas are welcome.   In fact, we are beginners at this but with a little bit of reading, confidence, and willingness to experiment we are sure this will be a great addition to our holiday baskets.

Finding the jars proved to be the most challenging part of this project as we live in a small community.  However, we were able to purchase clear 375mL wine bottles (perfect for the job) and great cork stoppers from our local winery ~ Armstrong’s Winery in Bracebridge. 


  • 4 cups cranberries (approximately 1 1/2 packages ~ but 1 package would do)
  • 7 tsp whole cloves
  • 6 ~ 3 inch cinnamon sticks
  • 2 cups cider vinegar
  • 18 dried apricots
  • 1 orange zest only, cut into ribbons or strips approximately the length of your skewers
  • 21 small sprigs of fresh mint (approximately 3 per bottle)
  • 7 bamboo skewers (or one for every bottle)  These can be purchased at your local Dollar Store.
  1. Start by washing and sterilizing your bottles.  To sterilize the bottles place them in the oven on a cookie sheet at 250F for 20 minutes.
  2. Measure bamboo skewers against your bottles ~ the skewers should be about 3/4 as long as the bottles.  Trim a little bit off each skewer if necessary.  For each jar soak 1 bamboo skewer in water.
  3. Rinse cranberries and pat dry with paper towels.
  4. In a nonreactive pot, combine the cranberries, cloves, cinnamon sticks and vinegar and heat gently until just barely simmering.  Do not boil.  Note: when the cranberries start to burst check the heat of the liquid…it is probably ready to remove from the heat.  Remove from the heat and let cool completely.
  5. Meanwhile peel the orange and cut the peel into thin long ribbons.  Cut the apricots in half making sure they will fit through the neck of your bottle. 
  6. Once cooled stain the mixture through a sieve, reserving the vinegar.
  7. Place an equal amount of whole cloves in each bottle.  Cut the swollen cinnamon sticks into 1/8″ strips and place 3-5 strips in each bottle.
  8. Using the heated cranberries and cut apricots carefully thread them onto the skewers ~ alternating between the apricots and cranberries.  Wind an orange zest ribbon around the apricot and cranberry skewer. 
  9. Place the finish skewer with the orange ribbon and the sprigs of mint in the bottle.
  10. Using a funnel, pour the vinegar into the bottle, ensuring that all the ingredients are covered.  Cap or seal with a cork.  Let steep 2 to 3 weeks before using.  This vinegar should be used within 3 to 4 months once the bottle has been opened.  Remove and discard the fruit and spices as they will mold if exposed to air.

Voila!  It is that simple and see how beautiful they look…

Put up Total:

  • 7 x 375mL bottles
7 Comments leave one →
  1. Dawn permalink
    December 7, 2010 8:22 pm

    This sounds amazing! And looks gorgeous in the bottles. How will you use the vinegar? I’ve noticed I have some flavoured vinegars in my pantry that have never been opened. Besides white and balsamic I’m clueless. I’m assuming dressings…

    Sorry if this is away from the purpose of your blog (which I recently discovered and enjoy very much) but I’m focusing on healthier living so if I can make instead of buy, I’m all in!

    • December 7, 2010 10:26 pm

      Your comments are very much appreciated and we are happy to answer any questions. We are interested in promoting healthy concious eating and doing it yourself at home (where possible).
      Here are some suggestions for using infused vinegars:
      1.) salads, greens, pastas, grains, poultry or fish
      2.) steamed veggies
      3.) use it to tenderize and marinade meat
      4.) make a flavoured herb mayonnaise
      5.) give flavour to reduced salt recipes
      6.) use as a reduction or glaze for poultry or pork
      7.) use to add a sweet-tart flavour to preserves, stewed fruit or fruit sauces and purees
      8.) mix with equal amounts of honey to make a tart sauce for fresh fruit

      I think the possiblities are endless. If you make it let us know how you’ve used it…we’d love to know!

      • Dawn permalink
        December 10, 2010 6:05 pm

        Thanks – I need to go on a bottle mission.

  2. December 8, 2010 12:37 am

    Hi guys! Just found your blog yesterday and LOVE it! I have always canned “recreationally” but in 2011 want to move to canning full time.

    Anyway, do you source your bottles (like for this vinegar) locally or do you order online? If it’s local, is it a big store? I know you’re in Canada but big stores are everywhere these days.

    Well done by the way!

    • December 8, 2010 8:44 am

      Thanks for your comments.
      We try to source as many things locally as we can. We live in a small community in Northern Ontario and supporting local businesses is really important to us.
      That being said…the bottles we used for the vinegar were purchased at our local winery ~ you can probably get this type of bottle from your local home wine or beer making shop. These bottles cost us $1.34 for the bottle and the cork cap. They are relatively inexpensive compared to online options like Sur la Table or Crate & Barrel but both of those stores have really beautiful bottles.
      Most of the canning jars we purchase from Canadian Tire but Walmart carries canning jars and equipment. We’ve also purchased Ball mason jars from ACE Hardware while making marmalades in Florida last year.
      Hope this is helpful. Any and all questions are welcome.

  3. meemsnyc permalink
    December 8, 2010 3:26 am

    Oh wow! These look just gorgeous! What beautiful yummy gifts these will make!

  4. Janet Barton permalink
    December 8, 2010 8:54 am

    Looks delicious!!! Next year I will plan to do something like this for my gals. Enjoy!!! Talk soon.

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