Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Infused Holiday Vinegar Tutorial

One of the things I like to do for the holidays is give away homemade infused vinegars and oils along with some noodles for a quick holiday meal gift set. It's a simple and cost effective way to say "Smoooches". My Chef Tess homemade condiments are among some of the few kitchen gifts that can be prepared up to a month in advance. Home canning recipes are good year round for preparing for the Season. Some condiment recipes don't require home canning, just being kept in the fridge. Vinegar infusions don't even need to be kept in the fridge as long as you follow some simple rules. With all the amazing herbs in my garden this year and the access I have to fresh fruit and garlic...we're having a very inexpensive blow-out condiment making fest. Be it as it may. I shall always love giving homemade gifts. They're not just for penny pinching, they're for heart warming. They are personal. Anyone can go down to the mega-mall and get an infused oil. Few will take the time to make something from the heart. So...that's my take on that subject. I love gifts of any kind (feel free to send anything my way you feel you need to...chocolate is always in season...).

Keep in mind, if one makes a gift, it fills two voids in a person's heart; the void to create and the void to give freely to one's fellow man. Enough said. Let's go vinegar vooom-voom.

For Garlic Herb infused vinegar you will need:

1 gallon of distilled vinegar or apple cider vinegar, unflavored
8 cups of whole clean fresh herbs (your choice...today I used home grown tarragon, but rosemary, basil, thyme and dill are also particularly amazing).
32 peeled garlic cloves

8 1 pint jars, sterile

Divide the herbs between the pint jars, about 1 cup per jar. Put 4 cloves of garlic in each jar. Fill the jar with vinegar and tighten lid. Put in a cool dry place for 3-4 weeks. Give as holiday gifts or use for your own family.

Homemade Raspberry Vinegar is particularly delightful. It's amazing drizzled on holiday apple salads or in a ham glaze. I like to make it using Freeze Dried Raspberries, as they are always in season.

You can however use frozen raspberries as well. Those are made with the ratio of 6 cups berries to 8 cups vinegar.
You will need:
2 cups freeze dried raspberries
8 cups of unseasoned rice or wine vinegar
1 gallon glass jug

Put half of the berries in the jug. Put the remaining in a large gallon size non-reactive sauce pan and gently warm vinegar over low heat for 3-5 minutes. Pour warm vinegar over berries in jar. Add cap tightly. Let stand two weeks, shaking daily.

After two weeks, pour mixture through a cheesecloth lined sieve set over a bowl, pressing down on berries to extract as much juice as possible. Discard berry seeds and pulp. Divide between 4-5 sterile pint jars. Seal tightly.

Both raspberry vinegar and tarragon vinegar can be kept at room temperature up to a year.
There you go.
What are you doing this season to simplify your gift giving? Next week...we start candy making week! It should be rather eye opening...and as close to "evil" as I dare allow on my blog. Smoooches everyone!


Shirley hansen said...

I noticed that you can make the infused vinegar 3 or 4 weeks before giving....how long is the shelf life? If you can it and seal it but not put it in the refrigerator?

Chef Tess said...

Up to 6 months.