In my last post, I promised to share an easy way to use an over-abundance of fresh herbs from your garden and here it is: homemade herbal vinegar.
I just love these and they make beautiful house-warming gifts! I save up my store-bought vinegar bottles all year – hubby and I only use fresh oil and vinegar mixes on our salads – so I always have a number of bottles to use for this project.
This is all there is to it:
- Fresh herbs, rinsed well and dried well – handle them gently here – you don’t want to crush their oils out of them before you make the vinegar
- Vinegar – I prefer white wine vinegar or rice vinegar, which you can get seasoned (with salt and sugar) or not seasoned. Both of these are light-tasting vinegar that will show off the color of whatever herbs you add to them
- Bottles or jars with lids, a pan, a chopstick or wood skewer, and a funnel
Using a chopstick or skewer, pack your fresh herbs into a clean bottle. In a pan, bring your vinegar to a boil & turn off heat. Using a funnel, fill the bottle with the hot vinegar. (Be careful!). Cap and let sit at least for 3-5 days before using, though it’s usually a few weeks before the flavor truly develops. Herbs that I’ve tried that work great with this: Tarragon, Purple Basil, Green Basil, Thyme & Rosemary. But feel free to experiment with different herbs and combinations. I’ve seen where people also add dried chile’s to their mix, but I never have.
Purple basil is one of my favorites for this – the flavor is great and the color that’s created with the fresh basil and vinegar is gorgeous.
Another way I make use of fresh herbs is to make “fresh herb ice cubes”. I like to do this with basil and cilantro, as they don’t freeze well otherwise but I like adding them to soups in the winter. Just pack some chopped fresh herbs into ice cube trays, fill with filtered water and freeze. Once they’re frozen solid, pop them out, and place them in a Ziploc bag or vacuum pack them. When you need them just pop them in a soup or sauce. (no, they will never pass in an uncooked dish this way!)
How do you use your plethora of summer herbs?