Welcome to Friday, my pretties. It's the end of the week, a hot week at that, so for today's instalment of Luka's Daily Posts of How She Is Keeping Summer Going For Colder Times, I wanted to do something delicious, SO STINKIN EASY and very quick. And very rewarding. Shall we get on with it?
Herb infused vinegars. Why? I mean I hung some herbs to dry already, and I plan to make a sort of bouillon at some point, and have dehydrated some lovage. I have also tucked some things fresh in little freezer bags and made a mean pesto (and still have plans to make two more: one based on sorrel and another a kind of za'atar mix of oregano/thyme/sesameseeds (thanks to inspiration from Euphoria's Beirut Toast)). Isn't that enough preservation? My aim this year is to really beef up my preservation skills, and utilize more of what is coming out of my garden. Make it work for me. And while I'm sure the fall/winter/spring salads at our house could make do with the four kinds of vinegar I currently have (ok more like 8), adding a unique and personally-flavoured vinegar to my acidic arsenal HAS TO HAPPEN IF I HAVE THE GOODS. And all of 10 minutes to assemble. Which I did. I didn't go out to buy anything special, my aim was to use what I had. So I did. And it's also what my grandmother would have done. So doubly so.
I started this actually back in June, when I planted these herbs for sure, but also when I pulled out the chive blossoms that were proliferating at the time. I just plunked them in a jar and covered them with plain white vinegar, and let it sit in my pantry until today. I'd shake it up every now and then, and may I report the end result is INCREDIBLE. This quick vinegar infusion thing is my new favourite easy thing to pack in flavour and summer good times, not to mention the best way to preserve those minerals and nutrients found in the herbs used.
I pulled the lemon thyme and sage out of the garden, making sure they were clean. In one 2-cup jar, I chopped a peeled shallot, and shoved the lemon thyme (about 1 cup), and tossed in enough white wine vinegar to completely submerge the herbs. I put a plastic lid on the jars as the acidity from the vinegar will corrode any metal lid; if you don't have plastic lids, you can put parchment paper or use some sort of paper to keep it from coming into contact with metal.
In my second jar, I added a teaspoon of peppercorns and a teaspoon of crushed chilis, topped them with about a cup of sage from the garden, and covered the herbs with enough red wine vinegar so they were submerged. Again, plastic lid, out on the deck to get a good photo in the last sunlight before the storm, and tucked into the pantry. IT'S THAT EASY.
My chive blossom vinegar infused for seven weeks, and my other two will infuse for at least 4 weeks if not more, until the taste is delicious. When they're infused to my liking, I plan to do what I did to the chive blossom vinegar, I will strain out the herby bits and tuck the vinegar (labelled, of course) in my pantry for flavour enhancers later on down the road.
Ok, now your turn. What kind of vinegar are you planning to make? Good inspirations can be found here. Here's another one: DANDELION VINEGAR! Now we're talking! That is how you up the nutritional ante today, my friends. Go make some vinegar.