Making flavored vinegar takes little effort or funds, yet yield impressive results. Start looking now for unique glass bottles, save your wine bottles, and check local thrift shops for pretty glass containers or all sizes.
Flavored vinegars need to age at least 4 weeks and since they make such nice hostess gifts or Christmas presents, it is good to start thinking preparing now.
Most recipes call for a red wine or white wine vinegar. You do not need to use the most expensive vinegar on the shelf. In fact, buy in bulk and keep the cost down even more.
Flavored vinegars make the most of the fall harvest, you can find inexpensive berries and herbs at the farmers market now, in a month the prices will jump again.
Follow this basic pattern for any fresh herb vinegar. Place the sprigs into a bottle and pour in the vinegar. Seal. If using wine bottles, purchase new corks. Store for 3-4 weeks before serving or presenting.
4 large sprigs of fresh basil and 2 cups of white wine vinegar is a basic vinegar. Try tarragon or mix rosemary, thyme, bay leaves and parsley for a Bouquet Garni vinegar to use over beef or roasted vegetables.
A delicious Mixed herb vinegar is a natural instant salad dressing, tossed with a little olive oil.
3/4 cup chopped fresh basil
3/4 cups chopped fresh marjoram
1/2 cup chopped fresh rosemary
1/2 cup chopped fresh savory
1/2 cup chopped fresh thyme
1 quart white wine vinegar
Use a wooden spoon and pack the herbs into a mason jar. Cover with vinegar, seal with plastic wrap and the lid for 4 weeks.
As a general rule, stronger flavors go with stronger vinegars. Here are some other great combinations;
Red Wine Vinegar
* Rosemary, savory, sage, basil, bay and garlic
* Sage, parsley, and shallots
* Raspberries and thyme
* Red bell peppers, hot red peppers, garlic, tarragon and rosemary
White Wine Vinegar
* Dill, basil, tarragon, and lemon balm
* Savory, tarragon, chervil, basil and chives
* Blackberries, and lavender flowers
* Green onion, green peppercorns, thyme, marjoram, and a bay leaf
Apple Cider Vinegar
* Horseradish, shallot and hot red pepper
* Dill, mustard seeds, lemon balm and garlic
* Parsley, thyme, rosemary and bay leaf
* Pears and hyssop
* Rose flowers and lemon balm
Use what you have the most of, to create delicious flavored vinegars for all the cooks in your life.