Add herbs to wine or cider vinegar to make herb-flavored vinegar.
Basil, chervil, chives, dill, garlic, marjoram, mint, rosemary, sage, and tarragon are ten common herbs well-suited for making flavored vinegars.
Use herb-flavored vinegars in salad dressings, marinades, for flavoring soups, or in any almost any dish where you would use unflavored vinegar. Just taste to be sure the marriage of flavors is right.
White-wine vinegar infused with tarragon or shallots is the perfect ingredient in dressings for bold greens such as arugula, chicory, or romaine. Use tarragon vinegar in potato salad. Blend herb-flavored white-wine vinegar with oil, cream, and seasonings to toss in a chicken or seafood salad.
Herbs to use with white-wine vinegar are the leaves of basil, salad burnet, sweet marjoram, rosemary, French tarragon, and thyme.
Use herb-flavored red-wine vinegar to add a depth of flavor to marinades, stews, or meat dishes. Also use red-wine vinegar with leaf lettuce, and use garlic-infused red-wine vinegar in a red cabbage salad.
Herbs to use with red-wine vinegar are dill seeds, fennel seeds, garlic cloves, and sage leaves.
Mint vinegar is a good match for a fruit salad. Use the leaves of English mint with cider vinegar.
Homemade vinegar will store in the refrigerator for up to 3 months.
How to make Herb vinegar from leaves:
1. For each 4 cups of vinegar you will need 2 cups of leaves. Pick herb leaves in the morning after the dew has lifted to ensure the essential oils are still concentrated in the leaves.
2. Place the leaves loosely packed in a wide-mouthed jar—stems and flowers can go in with the leaves. (Or blend the leaves gently for a few seconds at low speed in the blender, or you can macerate them with a pestle and mortar before you put them in the jar.)
3. Pour the vinegar at room temperature over the leaves. You can also bring the vinegar to a boil before pouring it over the herbs.
4. Place the jar in a warm place and stir daily for 10 days. (Or you can cover the jar and leave it in a dark place for one to two months.)
5. Strain out the leaves through a fine cheesecloth or fine sieve.
6. Strain the infusion one more time through a filter paper.
7. Pour the infusion through a funnel into sterile bottles, add a fresh sprig of the herb so that the herbed vinegar is easily identifiable, and cork securely. Use clear glass to show off the color of the vinegar.
How to make Herb vinegar from seeds:
1. For each 4 cups of vinegar you will need 2 to 3 tablespoons of seeds.
2. Bruise the seeds with a pestle and mortar or in a blender.
3. Put the seeds in a wide-mouthed jar.
4. Warm the vinegar and pour onto the seeds.
5. Place the jar in a warm place and stir daily for 10 to 14 days. (Or you can cover the jar and leave it in a dark place for one to two months.)
6. Strain off the seeds, using a fine cheesecloth or fine sieve.
7. Run the infusion one more time through a filter paper.
8. Pour the infusion through a funnel into sterile bottles and cork securely. Label the bottles.
How to make Garlic vinegar:
1. Squash garlic cloves with the flat of a kitchen knife.
2. Pour room-temperature vinegar over the cloves and let sit for 1 day, but not longer or the vinegar may be too pungent.
3. Strain through a filter paper.
4. Pour into sterile bottle and cork securely. Label.