Festive Cranberry Vinegar
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.
RECIPE FOR FESTIVE CRANBERRY VINEGAR (yield 7 x 375mL):
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Rinse cranberries and pat dry with paper towels.
- 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.
- 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.
- Once cooled stain the mixture through a sieve, reserving the vinegar.
- 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.
- 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.
- Place the finish skewer with the orange ribbon and the sprigs of mint in the bottle.
- 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