Wednesday, February 11, 2009


Today a little blog about :
Vinegar Mother

We all use vinegar. In salad dressings, as a seasoning, in cooking, etc.
Most of us use white vinegar and apple cider vinegar.
Some of us get a little fancy and use wine vinegar or rice vinegar.(I personally adore rice vinegar!)Balsamic vinegar, too, is becoming de riguer in the home gourmets battery of necessary condiments to have on hand.

How many make their own vinegars? Show of hands, please? Anyone? Anyone....?

Well, we are going to learn how to make flavored vinegars and our own vinegar today!
Tasty, healthy and with many more uses than most imagine!
First, the flavored vinegars...
Flavored vinegars are easily made using store bought white, apple cider, rice or wine vinegars.
It is good to have a supply of quart canning jars on hand to make these. If you want to *gift* someone with your creation later, get a fancy bottle.

1 small bunch of parsley
1 teaspoon of peppercorns
1/8 teaspoon of salt
1 clove of garlic, peeled
1 quart of your choice of vinegar: cider, white distilled, rice
wine, white wine, or red wine

Place the parsley, garlic, salt and pepper in a 2 quart ceramic or glass bowl.

Bring the vinegar to a boil. Pour the vinegar over the herbal mixture in the bowl.

Cover and let the mixture stand for two days. Strain the mixture and decant into a sterilized bottle. Add one to three sprigs of the herbs of your choice. Seal the bottle with a cork or lid. Let stand for two more weeks before using.

Tarragon and lemon in white wine vinegar
Chives, basil, and parsley in white wine vinegar
Oregano, rosemary and thyme in red wine vinegar
Lemon and dill in cider vinegar
Garlic, chives blossoms and chervil in red wine vinegar
Cilantro, jalapeño pepper and lime in white distilled vinegar
(this one is hot)
Lavender blossoms in cider vinegar
Ginger root and cilantro in rice wine vinegar.

Use herb vinegar in salad dressings, marinades, or to deglaze pans.

Basil, Lemon, Chive Vinegar
1 cup white wine vinegar
3 large strips of lemon zest
3-4 whole leaves fresh basil
10 stalks fresh chives

Basil Peppercorn Vinegar
1 cup white wine vinegar
4-5 leaves fresh basil
1/2 to 1 tsp. whole black peppercorns
3-4 whole peeled garlic cloves
Dill Peppercorn Vinegar
1 cup red wine vinegar
4 sprigs fresh dill
1/2 to 1 tsp. whole black peppercorns
Garlic Green Onion Vinegar
1 cup red or white wine vinegar
4-5 peeled whole garlic cloves
2-3 stalks green onions
Rosemary Garlic Vinegar
1 cup red or white wine vinegar
4-5 peeled whole garlic cloves
4 sprigs fresh rosemary
Spicy Chile Pepper Vinegar
1 cup red or white wine vinegar
1 or 2 whole jalapeño peppers
Use the following ingredients in any combination you see fit.

green onions
fresh mint
fresh oregano
fresh cilantro
whole peppercorns
lemon zest
lime zest
orange zest
chile peppers
fresh tarragon
bay leaves

The process is simple. Cut your ingredients to a size that will be completely submerged in the liquid. Put ingredients into clean quart jars and pour red or white wine vinegar over them. Cap the jars and store in a cool, dark place for at least three weeks. If you don't have that much time, you can speed the process up somewhat by heating the vinegar till it's lukewarm and pouring it over ingredients that have been chopped or crushed. Store this in a cool dry place for at least ten days, then strain and discard the chopped or crushed ingredients from the vinegar. Return the vinegar to a cleaned jar and add new "whole" ingredients.

1 1/2 cups white wine vinegar
1/2 cup canned blueberries plus
1/4 cup blueberry syrup from can
1 and 1/2 cups white wine vinegar
1 cup FRESH blueberries, slightly crushed.
1/4 cup honey

Pour into a quart jar with an airtight seal. Seal and store in a cool dark place at room temperature at least 1 week. I would go for two weeks on this (but that's just me)Strain at the end of 2 weeks into a clean quart jar.

A serving suggestion is to add some extra virgin olive oil and dress a salad of pears, Gorgonzola, walnuts and mixed greens.

Makes 20 ounces.

Fill jar with dill blossoms. Cover with cider vinegar. Let stand 3 weeks in sun; strain.

Fill jar with sprigs of mint. Cover with cider vinegar. Let stand 3 weeks in sun; strain.

Fill jar with fresh celery leaves and tips. Cover with cider vinegar. Let stand 3 weeks in sun; strain.

Fruit Vinegar
1 cup red raspberries or other fruit (Any berry is good, also Peaches are yummy for this!)
1 quart red wine vinegar

Place clean fruit in a sterilized jar. Warm the vinegar in a non-reactive pan, then pour it over the fruit. Seal the jar. Let it stand for 1 month, then strain out the fruit and bottle the resulting vinegar in sterilized jars. For a refreshing summer drink, put a couple of teaspoons of Raspberry vinegar in a glass of club soda!
Makes 1 quart.

4 to 6 minced garlic cloves
1 quart cider vinegar
Put minced garlic cloves in cider vinegar. Let stand 20 days.
Strain and bottle.

9 chilies de árbol
7 cascabel chilies
1/2 bunch fresh cilantro leaves
2 fresh scallions
3 garlic cloves, halves
3 3/4 cups cider vinegar

In a dry cast iron skillet, toast chiles briefly over medium heat, just until fragrance begins to be released. Place the chiles in a quart bottle or jar. Add cilantro, scallions and garlic, using a wooden spoon handle to help position the ingredients.

In a saucepan, bring the vinegar to a boil, and pour as much of it over the chilies, vegetables and herbs as will fit in the bottle or jar. Cool to room temperature, cover, and store in a dark place for at least 5 days before using.

1 tablespoon lemon zest
1 tablespoon orange zest
1 small orange or tangerine, peeled and segments pulled apart.
1 and 1/2 cups rice vinegar (or white wine vinegar)
1 tablespoon honey

Put segments, honey and zest in quart jar. Heat vinegar in non-reactive pan until very warm but not hot. Pour vinegar over fruit/zest/honey and tightly cap jar. Store in dark place for 1 week. Strain and store in clean jar.
This is wonderful on summer fruit salads!

Around 2 to cups loose fresh rose petals.
1/2 cup crushed raw almonds (Just get some raw almonds and crunch them up good by beating them with a rolling pin or a pan while you have the almonds in a ziplock bag or something)
1 quart white wine or rice vinegar

Fill a quart jar with loose rose petals.Add crushed almonds.
Add vinegar, tightly seal and store in dark place for 2 to 3 weeks.
Strain into clean quart jar.
This stuff is heavenly! Mixed in ginger ale, it makes a lovely summer drink.
Deglaze a chicken pan with it and add it to the sauce...drooooool. Mixed with a oil to make a salad dressing, it is wonderful on chicken salads, fruit salads, etc.

Now that you have seen all the variations of vinegar...okay, SOME of the variations, use your imaginations, there are many more...lets make our own vinegar.

The yeast spores that make vinegar are all around us. They float through the air, just looking for a friendly place to land and begin reproducing.
Your job is to *corral* those spores and give them a happy place to reproduce and start up their own little living community.
They like sugars, they like wine. (Little boozers!)They even like honey!
And honey vinegar is a *soft* vinegar. Tart, but not to the point of *ewwwwww...puckerface!*
So, here is how to make your own Honey Vinegar. This is a recipe altered from one in a 1905 cookbook. I have altered it so you can make your vinegar faster. (Otherwise it is a good 3 month process!)


You will need a ONE GALLON container. A glass canning jar or a crock is best.NO METAL AT ALL! Also, if you use a crock, make sure it does not have a glaze that will interact with the vinegar.
You will also need some cheesecloth to cover the top of the jar/crock. You can tie it on with string or fasten it with a rubber band.

Now, for the ingredients:
1 cup RAW Honey. No pasteurized or blended honey.
7 cups distilled water or bottle spring water. You do NOT want to use chlorinated, fluoridated treated water from a municipal system.
1/2 cup natural apple cider vinegar. They carry this at most Whole Foods or other organic grocers. Some main-stream grocers carry it as well.

Pour the honey into your gallon jar. Heat the water to very warm and pour it in the jar slowly, mixing it with the honey (use a wooden spoon!). Let cool 20 minutes or so, them mix in the vinegar.
Now comes the fun part!
Cover the top of the jar with the cheesecloth tightly enough to keep out bugs, but not, repeat, NOT *airtight*. Air HAS to be able to reach the mixture!
Now, set it outside. Picnic table, back porch, in a window-box, where-ever. Just make sure it will get plenty of fresh air and some sunshine!
Don't do anything except perhaps add a bit of water (if it seems to be evaporating) for two weeks.
By the end of two weeks, the mixture should have a slimy, soupy mixture in the bottom and the contents should smell *vinegar-y*.
The slimy soupy thing is your *mother*. You can use portions of that to make more vinegar whenever you wish!
Now, get a clean gallon jar or 3 or 4 clean quart jars with tightly sealing lids.
Remove the *mother* and put it in one jar. Cover it with wine, a honey/water mixture or apple cider. Put the lid on this one LOOSELY and store in dark place.
Strain the vinegar in your gallon container through fine cheesecloth into the quart jars. These you can cap tightly and store in the fridge, OR you can pour in a pan, bring to a quick boil for a minute or two and then pour into jars that you tightly seal and put in the back of your pantry.

Your *mother*, as long as it is fed, will continue to grow and produce vinegar.

Here's a couple videos I found on youtube about making vinegar....

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