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Infused Vinegars ~ Rosemary and Orange Zest

January 5, 2011

Okay, so today’s the day to finish all those infused vinegars that have been sitting around in the office just doing their thing.  We started four different kinds about a month ago which has given the herbs plenty of time to release their magical flavours and infuse the vinegar. 

From Left to Right ~ Dill and Mint, Lavender, Dill, and Rosemary

 

Making infused vinegars is pretty easy.  It’s a great way to experiment with flavours and use some of those garden herbs.  Surprisingly, I ended up liking the Lavender Vinegar the best.  It has an almost sweet taste and such a beautiful fragrance without tasting like you are eating the plant.  Hard to explain but if you grow lavender I would recommend making it this summer. 

I also really liked the dill infused vinegar and a lot more than the dill and mint.  I could really see myself using the dill infused vinegar on homemade french fries in place of malt vinegar. 

As for the Rosemary and Orange Zest…the jury is still out.  Let’s just say, it’s not one of my favorites.  It kind of tastes like stuffing!?!  Yeah, Thanksgiving Turkey Stuffing.  Maybe the orange zest can work its’ magic and alter the flavour enough to make it good.  Not really sure how to use this one and don’t think we’ll make it again.  Of course…it’s the one we have the most of!?!

Here is the basic run down for making infused vinegars (this information was obtained from Mary Anne Dragan’s book Well Preserved):

  • Rinse the herbs thoroughly but do not soak.
  • Using a paper towel remove the moisture, leaving them to air dry for about an hour.
  • Remove coarse stems, any damaged bits, and trim so that they fit in your jar.
  • Place herbs in a clean, dry, sterilized jar that has a leak proof lid.  A jar with shoulders is best because you want the herbs to be completely submerged in vinegar but we used mason jars and filled them right to the top.  Remember jars with metal lids will corrode so you may want to avoid them or cover the jar with a piece of plastic wrap before sealing.
  • A good rule of thumb is to use approximately 1 cup of loosely packed herbs to every 2 cups of vinegar…but this is just a guideline.
  • Let the vinegar steep for 2 to 4 weeks.  You can open them up after a week to see how the flavour is developing…it will intensify with time.  But, after about 4 weeks the herbs will have given you all they’ve got.
  • Strain the vinegar through a jelly bag or seive…make sure you dampen the jelly bag so that it doesn’t absorb your vinegar.
  • Gently heat to a simmer in a nonreactive saucepan. 
  • Remove from heat, restrain, and let cool. 
  • Using a funnel pour liquid into a clean, dry, sterilized bottle.  This is when to add your citrus zest, or fresh herb sprigs.  Be sure to make sure the herbs are clean and dry.  This makes the vinegars really attractive and will help with identification.
  • Seal the bottles with plastic screw tops or corks.  We reused the bottles the white wine vinegar came in…they were the perfect size and had great plastic caps.  We bought the vinegar in bottles rather than plastic just so we could reuse them.  We also sourced out some inexpensive 375 mL wine bottles from our local brew your own store.  They sell the cork stops too.
  • Label the bottles and store in a cool dark place.  Herb vinegars will keep almost indefinitely but are at their best if used within 6 months to a year.
  • Upon opening remove and discard the herbs as they will become moldy once exposed to air.

Put up Total:

Rosemary and Orange Zest in Red Wine Vinegar

  • 2 x 375mL bottle
  • 1 x 500mL reused bottle

Lavender in White Wine Vinegar

  • 1 x 500mL reused bottle
  • 1 x 125mL regular mouth mason jar

Dill, Lemon Zest and Fennel Seeds in White Wine Vinegar

  • 1 x 500mL reused bottle
  • 1 x 250mL regular mouth mason jar
  • 1 x 125mL regular mouth mason jar

Dill, Mint and Lime Zest in White Wine Vinegar

  • 1 x 500mL reused bottle
  • 1 x 250mL regular mouth mason jar
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8 Comments leave one →
  1. January 5, 2011 4:16 pm

    These make gorgeous gifts! Pretty.

  2. January 5, 2011 4:25 pm

    I’m going to have to try the lavender. My favorite this year is a honey/herb that I’ve made twice so far (recipe at my blog) and a basil. The basil is great drizzled on some tomatoes and mozarella cheese – tastes like summer!

  3. January 6, 2011 7:16 am

    Very nice! Assuming I don’t suck at growing herbs this year I’ll be revisiting this.

  4. Brooke permalink
    January 6, 2011 10:06 am

    I found your blog through the posting on Food in Jars featuring a gorgeous photo of your spiced crabapples. Where can I find the recipe?

    • January 6, 2011 4:47 pm

      Can’t believe that we didn’t blog about the Spiced Crab Apples…according to our records, we did tomatoes, elderberry peach preserves, drunk’n cherries, and these crab apples all on the same day. We’ve gone back to August 25th (the day we made them) and posted it…you will be able to find it by date, in the recipe index, or by clicking here…Spiced Crab Apples Hope this helps!

  5. January 6, 2011 9:46 pm

    I love this idea, great for gifts. Last year I infused rosemary in olive oil for the first time and I was thrilled with the results. I’m going to try your vinegars this coming season.

  6. Linda permalink
    January 24, 2011 12:10 pm

    I just read an old magazine article about using herbed vinegar to clean your oven. Pour a little extra vinegar over the burned-on areas & leave to soak for awhile before rinsing with warm water. This may be a good use for the Rosemary/Orange Zest aka “stuffing” flavour.

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