Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Copy Cat Blog: Compound Vinegar with Lovage, Thyme and Garlic

Vinegar with Thyme, Lovage & Garlic
Ok, this is probably the third blog where you’ll see this vinegar, but it was so beautiful when I saw it on Marisa’s blog “Food in Jars” and then again on “Lottie and Doof”, and well, I have a big old chive plant in the middle of the veg garden. So if I'm going to be a copy cat, the least I can do is borrow a topic from the big bloggers.

Chive Blossom Vinegar
But there’s more. I really want to talk about compound vinegars. That’s the old-fashioned name for flavored vinegars. This is the Chive Blossom vinegar from my garden’s chive blossoms. And we’ll make a different kind here today too.

There is nothing like dressing a salad in the dead of Winter that’s scented with fresh basil from last July’s Farm Market. Or that beautiful pink chive vinegar in a cruet on the table. Making flavored or compound vinegars allows you to be completely creative and make something totally unique. Try unusual combinations of herbs or spices that appeal to you; you may hit a winner. At this time of year, late Spring, the fresh herbs and aromatics available  are fabulous.

The simplest way to make seasoned vinegar is just wash and dry whatever it is you’d like your vinegar to taste of, pop it in a jar, cover it with vinegar, put the lid on it and store it in a dark coolish place for a few weeks and then enjoy the flavored vinegar. The acid in the vinegar preserves the vegetation (herbs, chilies, garlic and the like) you’ve put in there and the vegetation flavors the vinegar. If you’d like to speed up the process, just heat the vinegar to just below a boil and pour the hot vinegar over your herbs in a clean glass jar or bottle. You can certainly vary this even further with the addition of spices like black peppercorns, mustard seed, coriander, cloves or whatever makes your taste buds happy.

A chopstick helps push the herbs into the bottle.

It’s wise to pick fairly unassertive vinegar to start out with, if you want the flavor of your additions to really come through. I like white wine vinegar, and plain unseasoned rice wine vinegar. You can use cider, red wine or sherry vinegar, but they need bold additions to co-exist with their bold tastes.
Just needs the vinegar added,
 and then we wait...

The Non-Recipe for Thyme, Lovage and Garlic Vinegar

I’ve kept this batch simple. I’ve simply added homegrown fresh thyme, a few bruised, peeled garlic cloves and a perennial herb called lovage from my garden ( it tastes a lot like celery) to white wine vinegar in a nice Italian glass bottle I got here. Use a chopstick to push the herbs into your bottle or just use a clean glass canning jar. Pour the vinegar over to cover. Store for a few weeks in a cool dark place. You can strain out the solids before you use the vinegar if you wish. Yum in salads, recipes, and if you are brave with seltzer as a cooling beverage.

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