Making flavored vinegars from herbs harvested from your own garden is very easy, and so very tasty!
The best vinegars to use are -
Red wine vinegar - Attractive color; mildly gusty.
White wine vinegar - Nearly clear; very delicate flavor.
Rice vinegar - Very subtle flavor.
Champagne vinegar - I haven't found this one locally here, but it's touted to be similar to white wine vinegar.
Apple cider vinegar - Pretty, light brown coloring; strong flavor of apples.
Malt vinegar - I haven't made an herbal vinegar with this one yet, but I like it on fish and chips! Very powerful scent and strong flavor.
White distilled vinegar should be reserved for very strong or hot compositions as its flavor can be a bit overpowering to your final product.
If you are planning on giving some of your flavored vinegars away as gifts or you place high emphasis on a visually pleasing end product you'll want to boil your chosen vinegar for just about three minutes to sterilize it. If you skip this step, your vinegar may appear cloudy after a few months in storage.
------ Please practice safety first! ------Never harvest and consume any plant unless you know it's safe to eat! ------
You can use fresh or dried herbs, but by far the better choice is fresh from your garden. Choose a day after a rain or rinse the chosen herbs the day before you plan to harvest them. Rinsing them after they're picked will lessen their flavor content. Pick them in the late morning when they are dry, but preferably before they get hot from the sun.
Pull pieces of leaves off of them stems and add them to whatever jar you've decided to use. You can recycle old mayonnaise and mustard jars, use jelly jars or do what I like to do and use the bottles the vinegars are packaged in.
Pour vinegar over the herbs and cover. You may begin checking the flavor after a few days. However, I just let mine sit for at least three weeks before using to allow the flavors enough time to slowly steep from the herbs. I like mine strong, but if you like a more delicate flavor simply remove the herbs from the bottle once the desired taste is reached. Pouring this mix over a bit of cheesecloth is helpful if you'd like to strain out all of your steeping herbs.
If giving as a gift - after straining, add a whole sprig of the herb to the jar for increased visual appeal.
Mix and match your own concoctions of herbs and spices - whatever sounds good to you.
One of my favorites is Rosemary, Tarragon & Chives - with a Nasturtium flower for added color.
-Two sprigs of Rosemary
-Two sprigs of Tarragon
-As much chopped Chives as will fill about half of your container - they have a subtle flavor in vinegar.
-One Nasturtium bloom, pick a color that goes well with your chosen vinegar's color.
Remember that any added ingredient is entirely optional - if you're short on Nasturtium blooms or Chives, simply leave them out. Add Peppercorns or Garlic cloves, whatever you'd like!
Have fun with these easy, and yummy treats! Your flavored vinegars will keep indefinitely - I prefer to store mine out of direct sunlight so the colors don't fade.
September 7, 2010.
**This recipe isn't necessarily from the garden - but it's a fun one, and very, very good!!
Blueberry-Banana Bread Jumble
This is how a disaster turned into de-lish!
In my first attempt at making a banana cream pie without an electric mixer (I don't own one) I ended up with a flat, somewhat too firm glump of stuff in a pie shell. So, instead of throwing it in the compost I decided to add more stuff to it. In the end I had something similar to this. I guess you could say this is my own recipe though I'm sure there are others out there for nearly the same dish. This dessert rocks if you like B & B!
You can of course leave nuts or other additions out if you so desire. You can also make your own favorite cake/bread recipe, I take a short-cut and use a boxed mix.
One box of wild blueberry bread mix.
A half stick, (4 TBS) very soft butter
1/2 TBS vanilla extract
1/2 box of powdered sugar
3 bananas, mashed
2 bananas sliced
Whipped cream for the top: about 1/2 of a small container.
Your choice of chopped extras - 1/2 cup - 1 cup depending on your tastes and supply:
Nuts, leftover cookie pieces, graham crackers
Follow package directions to make the bread. (Reserve the strained blueberry juice if your package came with a can of wild blueberries.)
Pour the bread mix into a shallow pan to bake.
While you're waiting for the bread to cook, mix together the butter, vanilla, powdered sugar and mashed bananas.
After the bread cools, top with the above mix, and a layer (about half) of your extras, (I usually use graham crackers and pecans) then some drizzles of blueberry juice.
Now add your sliced bananas on top to mostly cover the crunchy goodies.
Spoon on a layer of whipped topping, top with the rest of your goodies, (nuts or whatever) and drizzle with a bit of blueberry juice.
Refrigerate overnight if you can wait that long. Enjoy!
September 22, 2010.