HERBAL VINEGARS
 
The basic technique used to make herbal vinegars is to fill a glass jar with herbs and other seasonings, cover with warmed vinegar and allow the flavors to mingle for 1-2 months.  The herbs are then strained out and several fresh herb leaves added as decoration. Be sure that all herbs are completely dry before combining with the vinegar.  If not, you will be more likely to get unsightly precipitates in the vinegar.  All vegetable matter MUST be covered with vinegar.  Hot peppers sometimes float and need to be threaded on a wooden skewer to keep them submerged.  The easiest way to warm vinegar is to place it in the sun for 15 minutes.  It may also be simmered on the stove but do not let it boil.  Vinegars should not be stored in direct sunlight (no matter how pretty the bottle may look).
All types of vinegars may be flavored with herbs, but for best results try to match the strength of the flavor to the type of vinegar.  Delicate tastes like lemon basil and salad burnet are best placed in white wine or champagne vinegar.  White wine vinegar is a safe bet with any herb, but cider, rice and red wine vinegars are also good with the more robust herbs such as garlic, basil and sage.  White distilled vinegar is fairly harsh and may not give the best results.  Experiment!
Herbal vinegars may be used in place of vinegar in any recipe.  They are especially good in salad dressings.  They can also be used to flavor meats or fish, either marinate the meat in them or sprinkle the meat with the vinegar while cooking.  Chicken or turkey marinated in lemon basil vinegar before grilling/broiling is tasty.  Throw a splash or two of an herbal vinegar into any soup or tomato sauce you are making.  Here are some tasty combinations to use when making vinegars, or jump ahead to recipes using herbal vinegar.
   
 Recipes
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Recipes using Herbal Vinegars
from Ann Marie
Herbal Honey Salad Dressing

1/2 Cup cooking oil
1/3 Cup sugar
3   Tablespoons honey
3   Tablespoons herbal vinegar
2   Teaspoons lemon juice
1/2 Teaspoon grated onion
1/2 Teaspoon dry mustard
1/2 Teaspoon paprika
1/4 Teaspoon salt

Combine all ingredients and whirl in blender or shake vigorously in a jar.

Vinaigrette Salad Dressing

2 Tablespoons herbal vinegar
2 Tablespoons lemon juice
2 Tablespoons cooking oil
1/8 Teaspoon salt
1/4 Teaspoon dry mustard
Pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients and whirl in blender or shake
vigorously in a jar.

Basil Vinegar Chicken

1/4 Cup margarine or butter
1  Large onion, finely chopped.
Chicken pieces
1/2 Cup basil vinegar
3/4 Cup sour cream

Melt butter in frying pan and add onion.  Cook onion until soft.  Add chicken pieces and cook over low heat until chicken is done.  Remove chicken from pan and add vinegar to pan, stirring to loosen all bits from the pan.  Simmer for 5 minutes, stirring frequently.  Add sour cream to vinegar mixture and mix thoroughly but do not allow to boil.  Pour the heated sauce over the chicken.  This is good served with rice.  Experiment with other vinegar flavors.

Potato Salad

6 medium potatoes
1/4 cup Texas Tarragon vinegar (also called Mexican Mint Marigold vinegar)
2 Tablespoons sugar
1/4 cup chopped onion
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 cup mayonnaise or salad dressing (like Miracle Whip)
1/2 chopped celery
2 hard boiled eggs, chopped up

Cook potatoes in boiling water until tender (about 30 minutes).  Drain the potatoes, cool until you are able to handle them, then peel the potatoes and cut into cubes.  Pour the Texas Tarragon vinegar over potatoes then sprinkle with sugar, onion  and black pepper.  Let sit 30 minutes then add remaining ingredients and refrigerate.

Cucumber Salad

2 Medium cucumbers
1 Tablespoon salt
1/2 Cup Cilantro herbal vinegar
2 Tablespoons sugar
1/4 Cup sliced sweet red pepper
1 small onion, sliced

Wash cucumbers and slice thinly.  Place cucumber slices in a bowl and sprinkle with salt.  Let stand 2 hours, then drain off any liquid that has formed.  Add red pepper and onion to cucumber slices.  Combine Cilantro vinegar and sugar and pour over the vegetables.  Refrigerate at least 4 hours before serving.
 
 

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