Infusing vinegar with herbs is one of my favorite ways to combine my love of delicious food and herbs with my passion for simple projects that enliven my daily life.
Cooking with herbal vinegar can transform your weekly meals, spicing up your vinaigrettes, your roasted vegetables, your soups, and more. And the best part is, you can make the vinegar to suit your exact taste.
Vinegar is a household staple, which means that you likely already have the main ingredient needed for this project. I personally like to infuse raw apple cider vinegar, but you may also choose to infuse balsamic vinegar, red wine vinegar, champagne vinegar, sherry vinegar, or malt vinegar.
The general rule of thumb is to combine one cup of fresh herbs with two cups of vinegar. If you’re using dried herbs, use ½ cup herbs for two cups of vinegar. You don’t want to use too little herb, as to get the full effect of the flavor combination, you want to make sure the vinegar is infused with a lot of herbs.
If you’re using fresh herbs, you’ll want to wash them. However, you need to make sure the herbs are completely dry before adding them into the vinegar. Strip the leaves from the stems and add the clean, dry leaves in a clean, sterilized jar. Pour the vinegar over the herbs and cover the jar tightly. Let the herbal vinegar steep in a dark place (I usually choose a kitchen cabinet), shaking the jar every couple of days.
After a week, taste the vinegar and see what you think. Not flavorful enough? Keep it steeping! You can steep the herbs in the vinegar for up to a month.
Once the vinegar is ready, strain out the herbs using a strainer or cheesecloth, and store it in clean, sterilized bottles. I like to keep a bottle of herbal vinegar right on my kitchen counter so I remember to add it to my meals frequently.
Violet vinegar: Pluck fresh violets during springtime and infuse in apple cider vinegar. I like to infuse this one in the windowsill so I can watch as it turns more and more purple-pink each day.
Basil, oregano, garlic, and black pepper: Adding these herbs to red wine vinegar creates a bold and spicy addition to your recipes, such as to finish a soup or to sprinkle on top of roasted potatoes.
Basil, rosemary, tarragon: Adding these herbs to sherry vinegar creates a delicate and aromatic flavor that’s perfect on a roast chicken or a spring salad with arugula and radishes.
Horseradish, shallot, and hot red pepper: This zest-herbal combination pairs nicely with apple cider vinegar and is an amazing addition to salad dressings.
I encourage you to create infused vinegars based on what’s available seasonally and what grows in your own backyard. Especially during the wintertime, making an herbal vinegar with fresh herbs is a lovely way to add some brightness to your palette. The key is to follow your creativity and be open to experimenting with new flavor combinations. Plus, infused vinegars stored in pretty little bottles make great gifts!
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