INTOXICATING INFUSED VINEGARS
OK, so now you have all your herbs planted, they are growing well and all of a sudden, they need pinching back. What to do with the sprigs you pinch back?
Make infused vinegars. They make wonderful gifts plus add zip to salads and sauces, to name just a couple of ways to use them. The aroma of these vinegars really is intoxicating. Try subbing infused vinegars for wine vinegar, cider or clear when a recipe calls for them.
INFUSED VINEGAR BASICS
Use a clean glass jar or bottle and keep in hot water until you’re ready to fill.
Heat vinegar in pan to 150 degrees. Turn heat off.
Pack herbs in jar and pour hot vinegar over, leaving 1/4” headspace. If you are using a metal lid, place a circle of parchment or wax paper over the top before putting lid on. This avoids corrosion.
Store at room temperature several weeks until well flavored. You’ll know by giving it the sniff test and watching the herbs go from bright colors to dull. Strain and add a sprig of fresh herb if you like.
Store away from heat and light.
Handful of fresh mint and 1/2 cup raspberries in white wine vinegar. Add a splash of this to your fresh fruit syrup to give it some zing.
Several sprigs of tarragon and the peel of an orange in white wine or seasoned ice wine vinegar. Works wonders as a deglazing liquid for chicken. Make classic tarragon vinegar by using several sprigs tarragon in white whine vinegar.
Cilantro, Oregano and Jalapeno:
Handful cilantro, stems and leaves both, and half of a jalapeno pepper in rice wine vinegar. Works well with Southwestern foods.
Lemon verbena, handful of purple or green basil and several sprigs parsley in white wine vinegar. An amazing base for vinaigrettes.
Couple stalks lovage and several sprigs onion chives or chive flowers in clear vinegar. Try this flavorful combo in potato salads.