Herb Up Vinegar and Oil

I know this was like a little craze a few years back, to make or go out and buy herbal vinegars and oils. Then there was a case of poisoning because of rancid garlic in oil and this craze just fizzled out. But the products that came out of the momentary fad were really fantastic and there is no reason to avoid these great items. You can make it yourself and do it carefully so that no one will get sick. And some the recipes make such good vinegars and oils that once you eat them you won’t want the grocery store stuff again.

So just for the fun of it I thought I’d share some of my favorite recipes and see how you like them. They are really easy to make, they only need a few common ingredients and they are worth the wait as they age. My personal favorite is Raspberry Vinegar. It is so good that I’ve drank it down by itself, like it were a sauce or a fruity wine. Seriously. So get out the pots and pans.. and bottles! It’s time to make some very cool and very delicious homemade vinegars and oils.

This first recipe is for a basic herb vinegar that you can use with just about anything. Mix it with oil, use it in recipes, add it to pastas, greens and vegetables.

Basic Herb Vinegar

Ingredients:

A Mixture of any fresh herb or herbs of your choosing
Clean, sterilized Glass Bottle With Stopper
Enough White Wine Vinegar to fill the bottle
Non Aluminum Cooking Pan
2 Small sprigs of Parsley
Fine Strainer or Sieve

Method:

Sterilize the glass bottle by filling it with boiling water and then soaking it overnight in hot water and bleach. Rinse completely until no more bleach smell remains.

Pour the Vinegar into the non-aluminum cooking pan. Slowly heat up on medium high heat. While waiting, wash the fresh Herbs thoroughly with water until dirt and debris is removed.

Pack the glass bottle with the herb or herbs you have chosen. These herbs should be fresh.

Watch the vinegar closely. DO NOT BRING TO A BOIL. When the vinegar just begins to steam up and a few bubbles begin to rise from the bottom, turn off the heat.

Pour the hot vinegar immediately into the glass bottle packed with Herbs.

Stop the bottle tightly and place it in a cool, dark place like a closet.

Allow to sit for two weeks.

After two weeks, remove from the closet and strain out the vinegar from the bottle and set aside. Remove as much of the Herbs as possible from the bottle. Rinse out until water runs clear. Leave whatever Herb residue remains with the Vinegar. DO NOT STRAIN.

Slip the two sprigs of Parsley into the bottle. Fill with the Vinegar and stopper.

This does not need refrigeration.

This next recipe has won awards and has been called “my favorite vinegar” by a large number of people. Vinegar loves will find this intoxicating and herbies will appreciate the delicious flavor of Purple Basil added to the palate. This is fantastic on Italian dishes and salads. I like it just as it is on lettuce.

Purple Basil Vinegar

Ingredients:

One large bunch of fresh Purple Basil Leaves
Clean, sterilized Glass Bottle With Stopper
Enough Apple Cider Vinegar to fill the bottle
Strainer
Non Aluminum Sauce Pan

Method:

This is one of the best tasting Vinegars you will ever make!!! YUMMY.

Wash the Purple Basil Leaves thoroughly with water until clean and then lay out to dry on paper towels or a rag.

Sterilize the Glass Bottle by filling with boiling water and then soaking overnight in hot water and bleach. Rinse thoroughly until no bleach smell remains.

Push the fresh, mostly dry Purple Basil leaves into the bottle. Use all of the leaves if you can. You have my permission to really pack the bottle.

Heat the Vinegar in the non-aluminum saucepan over medium high heat. DO NOT BOIL. Heat until the Vinegar just begins to steam and the first bubbles begin to rise from the bottom of the pan. Remove from heat immediately.

Pour the hot Vinegar into the bottle, over the Basil Leaves. Shake and shake again until the leaves are loosened and moving in the liquid. Add as much Vinegar as you can until the bottle is full. Stopper and store in a cool, dark place like your closet for three weeks.

After three weeks, remove the bottle and strain the Vinegar through a strainer. If some of the Basil gets left behind, that is fine. Return the purple-colored Vinegar to the bottle and stopper.

Keep in the refrigerator and serve cold. You won’t have this long.

If you’ve ever had Nasturtiums in your salad then you know how good they are. This next vinegar is a mix of spice and these tasty flowers with just enough zing to make your mouth water. This is excellent on any salad but the very best on a salad mixed with different greens. Toss in some fresh Nasturtiums and Dandelion Leaves and enjoy!

Nasturtium Spiced Vinegar

Ingredients:

Two large handfuls of fresh Nasturtium Flowers without the Stems
Clean, sterilized Glass Bottle With Stopper
Enough Apple Cider Vinegar to fill the bottle
A small pinch of fresh Peppercorns
A small pinch of fresh Dill Seed
A small pinch of dried Allspice Berries
1 small Shallot, thinly sliced
Non Aluminum Cooking Pan

Method:

Wash the flowers carefully under running water until free of dirt and debris. Lay out on a towel or napkin to dry.

Sterilize the Glass Bottle by filling with boiling water and then soaking overnight in hot water and bleach. Rinse thoroughly until no bleach smell remains.

Add each of the Flowers to the bottle one at a time until they are all included.

Heat the Vinegar in the non aluminum Saucepan over medium high heat. DO NOT BOIL. Heat just until the Vinegar begins to steam and the first bubbles arise from the bottom of the pan. Remove from the heat.

Add the hot Vinegar to the Glass Bottle. Bruise the Seeds and Berries in a wooden bowl or mortar and then add them to the bottle. Shake. Now add in the sliced Shallots and shake again.

Stopper the warm bottle and place in a cool, dark place like your closet and leave it there for two weeks.

After two weeks, remove the bottle and place in the Refrigerator. Use as is. Always shake before using. Always keep refrigerated.

This next vinegar is not for the feint of heart. It is so hot that when you smell it, your nose heats up! So don’t use it if you can’t handle the really hot stuff. But then again if you have a smart butt boyfriend or husband who says he can eat Thai peppers out of his hand, then put some of this in his beer! Wheeee!

Hot Chili Pepper Vinegar

Ingredients:

Three cups of fresh Chili Peppers
One Clove of Garlic
Clean, sterilized Glass Bottle With Stopper
Enough White Vinegar to fill the bottle
Non Aluminum Sauce Pan
Small Saucepan
Rubber or Vinyl gloves

Method:

Sterilize the glass bottle by filling with boiling water and then leaving to soak overnight in hot water and bleach. Rinse thoroughly until no more bleach smell remains.

Add one cup of water to the small saucepan and place over medium high heat. Heat water until simmering and add the one Clove of Garlic. Blanch the Garlic for a full minute, to kill any bacteria that could spoil the Vinegar. When done, drop the Garlic Clove into the glass bottle.

Wearing Rubber Gloves, wash each of the Peppers carefully and then cut them in half lengthwise, up to the green top. Stuff these Peppers into the glass bottle until the bottle is full or all of the Peppers have been added.

In the non aluminum Cooking Pan, heat up the vinegar on medium high heat. DO NOT BOIL. Heat until the Vinegar just begins to steam and the first bubbles begin to rise from the bottom of the pan. Turn off the heat.

Immediately add the hot Vinegar to the glass bottle, covering the Peppers. Do not shake. Be careful adding the Peppers so that not so many seeds are dropped. Cork the bottle and store in a cool, dark place like a closet for 6 weeks.

After the 6 weeks, remove the bottle and place it in the refrigerator. Do not shake before serving. USE WITH CARE. THIS IS VERY HOT. Do not strain out the Peppers.

And this last Vinegar recipe is my favorite. It is the classic recipe for Raspberry Vinegar. Pour it all over everything if you like but it’s really fantastic on greens.

Raspberry Vinegar

Ingredients:

One Pint pkg of fresh Raspberries
One clean, sterilized Glass Bottle With Stopper
Enough White Wine Vinegar to fill the bottle
Non Aluminum Cooking Pan
Strainer with Coffee Filter

Method:

Sterilize the glass bottle by filling with boiling water and then soaking overnight in hot water and bleach. Rinse completely until no more bleach smell remains.

Push each Raspberry into the bottle one at a time until the bottle is full or all of the Raspberries have been added. Be careful when adding them or you will have an enormous amount of seeds to remove later.

Heat the vinegar up in the non-aluminum cooking pan over medium high heat. DO NOT BOIL. Heat until the vinegar just begins to steam and the first bubbles begin to rise from the bottom of the pan. Turn off the heat.

Pour the hot vinegar immediately into the glass bottle, covering the Raspberries.
Stopper the bottle and place it in a cool, dark place like a closet. Allow to remain there for 6 weeks.

After 6 weeks, remove the bottle full of vinegar and berries. Strain out the Vinegar carefully, removing every last Raspberry seed and as much of the flesh as possible. The Vinegar should run as clear as is possible. It will be darkly colored Rose. It will look like wine.

Once the Vinegar is rosy and clear, stopper the bottle and place in a cold place like the refrigerator. Shake before serving. This is best very cold and tasty all by itself.

Now it’s time for the Oil recipes. These are delicious, rich recipes that will have you frying your french fries in some of them. Other ones will challenge your taste buds and wake up the adventurer in you.

The first recipe is for a basic herbal oil. This oil can be used for almost anything you use oil for. You just don’t have to add extra seasonings to your food. Try this with potatoes or hush puppies.

Basic Herbal Oil

Ingredients:

Two large handfuls of your favorite dried Herbs
Clean, sterilized Glass Bottle With Stopper
Enough Vegetable or Cottonseed Oil to fill bottle
Pinch of dried Allspice Berries
Pinch of fresh Peppercorns

Method:

The Herbs you select should be dried and either powdered or crumbled.

Sterilize the Glass Bottle by filling it with boiling water and then soaking overnight in hot water and bleach. Rinse thoroughly so that no bleach smell remains.

When the bottle is completely dry, begin filling the it with the Herbs. Lightly bruise the Berries and Peppercorns with a wooden spoon and add them too.

Pour enough Oil into the bottle to fill it. Stopper it and place it in a sunny window or on an outside ledge. You want it to have as much sun exposure as possible but you do not want the oil to cook or turn rancid. Check it often to be sure the bottle is warm and not too hot. Shake frequently.

After several days of warmth, the Herbs will be floating in the oil. You may leave them there. Taste the Oil in a small amount and see if the flavor has imparted. If not, then set it back in the sunlight for a few more days. You may keep the Oil in the refrigerator but this is not necessary.

This next oil recipe is a classic. It utilizes the Italian spice, Basil, and the oil can be used in Pesto along with other spices. Try it when frying eggplant or making spaghetti sauces.

Sweet Basil Oil

Ingredients:

Two large handfuls of freshly picked Sweet Basil
Clean, sterilized Glass Bottle With Stopper
Enough Sunflower Oil to fill the bottle
Saucepan

Method:

Wash the Basil thoroughly and then allow it to dry thoroughly by hanging it outdoors or laying it out on a screen. At the same time, sterilize your Glass Bottle by filling it with boiling water and then leaving it to soak in hot water and bleach overnight. Rinse the bottle thoroughly until no bleach smell remains.

When the inside of the bottle has dried and the herbs are dry but not “dried”, put the limp herbs into the bottle.

Heat the Sunflower Oil in the saucepan over medium heat. DO NOT BOIL OR ALLOW TO SMOKE. As soon as the oil is very warm to the touch but not hot, pour it into the bottle, covering the Basil. Check the oil frequently as it warms to be sure it is very warm before using. Stopper the bottle and leave it out to cool for awhile or until the bottle is no longer warm.

Place in the refrigerator and use as needed.

This next recipe is a delicious way to spruce up salads and cold cut subs. It makes grand use of the delicious herb, Savory. If you can, get it fresh.

Sweet Savory Oil

Ingredients:

Two handfuls of fresh picked Savory
Clean, sterilized Glass Bottle With Stopper
Enough Very Light Virgin Olive Oil to fill the bottle
Saucepan

Method:

Wash the Savory thoroughly and lay it out to dry. Sterilize the Glass Bottle by filling it with boiling water and leaving it to soak overnight in hot water and bleach. Rinse thoroughly until no bleach smell remains.

When both the inside of the bottle and the herbs have dried and there is no water left there, put the fresh herbs in the bottle. There should be no condensation from water left on the leaves or the inside of the bottle.

Heat the Olive Oil in the saucepan very slowly. Warm it over medium heat, checking it frequently to be sure it does not get hot. DO NOT BOIL OR ALLOW TO SMOKE.

When the oil is very warm, pour it into the bottle and stopper it. Shake the bottle every so often while allowing it to cool.

When the bottle is cool to the touch, store in the refrigerator and use as needed.

This oil is absolutely delightful in ethnic dishes. It’s really good in Italian dishes but I bet it would work in Indian and Greek food as well. You use the common but tasty herbs, Oregano and Thyme. You can use variations of Thyme as you like. It’s good with lemon thyme and garlic on the side.

Thyme-Oregano Oil

Ingredients:

One heaping Tablespoon of dried Thyme
One heaping Tablespoon of dried Oregano
Clean, sterilized Glass Bottle With Stopper
Enough Sunflower Oil to fill the bottle
Saucepan

Method:

Sterilize the Glass Bottle by filling it with boiling water and then leaving it to soak overnight in hot water and bleach. Rinse thoroughly so that no bleach smell remains and then allow to dry completely.

When the bottle is dry, pour the dried Herbs into it. Heat the Sunflower Oil in the saucepan until the Oil is very warm. It should be almost hot but not so hot you cannot put your finger in it. When it is very warm, pour it into the bottle and stopper.

Allow the Oil to cool for awhile, shaking it every so often. When it has completely cooled, place it in the refrigerator. You may serve this cold or at room temperature.

This next recipe uses one of my most favorite herbs, Rosemary. Use this in Greek cooking and watch it come alive! When I used to eat meat I loved it on Chicken. I still make Chicken for the family and they love it basted with this oil.

Lemon Rosemary Oil

Ingredients:

One large sprig of freshly picked Rosemary
1/4 cup of freshly squeezed Lemon Juice
Clean, sterilized Glass Bottle With Stopper
Enough Safflower Oil to fill the bottle
Strainer

Method:

Wash the Rosemary thoroughly and then lay out to dry. Sterilize the Glass Bottle by filling it with boiling water and then leaving it to soak overnight in hot water and bleach. Rinse the bottle thoroughly until no more bleach smell remains and then leave out to dry.

When both the Herbs and the bottle are completely dry, add the fresh sprig of Rosemary to the bottle. Pour the Safflower Oil into the bottle, filling it and then stopper.

Place the bottle in a sunny window or outside on a ledge. Leave it there for a week and check it frequently to be sure it is not getting too hot. Very warm is fine but if it is too hot to touch, then move it to a shadier spot.

After the week, strain out the Oil and remove the Rosemary. Pour the Lemon Juice into the bottle and then add back the Oil. Shake thoroughly and stopper. Keep refrigerated.

Here is the ultimate Italian oil. You can use the purple basil you use in the vinegar and even use the two together on salads. Don’t get shy because you see it has garlic in it. Just follow the instructions carefully and I promise you no one will get sick.

Garlicky Basil Oil

Ingredients:

5 Cloves of Fresh Garlic , peeled
One large handful of Fresh Basil
A small cupful of White Wine Vinegar
Clean, sterilized Glass Bottle With Stopper
Strainer

Method:

Place the Garlic Cloves in the Vinegar and leave to soak overnight. Sterilize the Glass Bottle at the same time by filling with boiling water and leaving to soak overnight in hot water and bleach. Rinse thoroughly until no bleach smell remains. Remove the Garlic and lay it out to dry. Wash the fresh Basil and also lay it out to dry.

When the bottle is thoroughly dry and the Garlic and Basil are also dry, add everything to the bottle. Fill it with the Oil and stopper.

Place the Garlic and Basil Oil on a sunny windowsill and leave for a week. Shake it frequently, checking the temperature to make sure it does not get too hot to touch. If it does, move it to a cooler spot still in the sunlight.

After a week, strain out the Basil and Garlic through the strainer and stopper. This Oil may served as needed either at room temperature or after chilling.

This next oil is a very unique recipe. It is a classy oil that will startle you with it’s mixture of spicy and sweet textures. It is great for adding to baked goods like pastries and cakes.

Clove Pink & Rose Petal Oil

Ingredients:

One large handful of fresh Rose Petals
One large handful of freshly picked Clove Pinks
One small pinch of fresh Peppercorns
Clean, sterilized Glass Bottle With Stopper
Enough Light Virgin Olive Oil to fill the bottle
Strainer

Method:

Rinse the Flower Petals thoroughly and leave them out to dry. Sterilize the Glass Bottle by filling with boiling water and then soaking overnight in hot water and bleach. Rinse the bottle thoroughly to be sure no bleach smell remains and then allow to dry.

When both the bottle and the flowers are dry, add the Clove Pinks to the bottle. Bruise the Peppercorns lightly in a mortar and pestle and add them as well.

Pour over enough Oil to fill the bottle and stopper. Leave the bottle in a sunny spot for 10 days, shaking frequently and checking often to be sure it is warm enough but not too hot. Too hot to the touch is dangerous because this will cause the oil to cook.

After 10 days, strain out the Pinks and Peppercorns through the strainer. Add in the freshly washed and dried Rose Petals. Stopper tightly and leave in a sunny, warm place. If the Rose Petals are added to your salad when you use this Oil, all the better. They taste great.

This last oil recipe is for an oil that you may not use for cooking. It is great added to potpourris, burned in oil candles, heated or ironed into pillow stuffing and many other great crafts. You will have your own ideas.

Lavender Scented Oil

Ingredients:

One-half cup of dried Lavender Flowers -or-
Twelve large Sprigs of fresh Lavender
Clean, sterilized Glass Bottle With Stopper
Enough Safflower Oil to fill the bottle
Strainer

Method:

Sterilize the Glass Bottle by filling with boiling water and then leaving to soak overnight in hot water and bleach. Rinse thoroughly so that no bleach smell remains and leave out to dry.

When the bottle has completely dried, add in all of the fresh or dried Lavender. Fill with Safflower Oil, stopper and set out in a sunny window for two weeks. Shake often and check to make sure the bottle is not to cool or not too hot. Very warm to the touch is ideal.

After two weeks, strain out the Oil to remove the Lavender. Stopper and store for use as needed.

Technorati Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,


Digg!

submit to reddit

Advertisements