Vinegar is one of the most underrated pantry staples. You probably have an entire shelf dedicated to different bottles, like red wine vinegar, balsamic vinegar, and apple cider vinegar. But did you know vinegar is good in more than just a salad dressing? They are great in shrubs, add life to sauces, and more. Learn how to make infused vinegar and take your flavors to a new level.
Infused Vinegar 101
In case you're unfamiliar with infused vinegar, it's a type of vinegar steeped in herbs and spices. The vinegar is then strained to remove the solids and be bottled for use. You can use any type or color of vinegar, but white wine and apple cider vinegar are especially popular. Infused vinegar is great for adding flavor to your cooking and salads.
Why make infused vinegar?
Infused vinegar is simple to make. It's a great way to enjoy seasonal flavors long after the summer harvest. Once you start, you'll come up with your infused vinegar recipes and blends!
- clean sterilized glass jars or bottles
- large nonreactive bowl
Apple cider vinegar is the most popular choice for infusing, as it lends itself well to various flavors and preparations. It's also the most versatile: you can use it in salad dressings, marinades and sauces and
White wine vinegar is another good choice if you want a bit more bite than cider vinegar provides—it has a bolder flavor profile that makes it perfect for pickling or brines.
In addition, white distilled vinegar (sometimes called "distilled white") is ideal for pickling vegetables such as cucumbers or onions because its neutral flavor won't interfere with other ingredients' flavors.
Any type of vinegar will work as a base, although apple cider vinegar, rice vinegar, or white wine vinegar are popular.
Add herbs, garlic, or spices to the jar, then pour in the vinegar.
Cover with a lid or plastic wrap and let it sit at room temperature for 2 weeks, then strain out the plant matter from the liquid.
Stored your herbal vinegar in a cool dark place. Infused vinegar will keep for up to 6 months. Infused vinegar can keep for a long time, but the flavors may fade over time.
What Kind Of Herbs Can I Use
There are lots of fresh-grown herbs and spices that will work well in your vinegar. The best way to create a complex flavor is by using a variety of herbs, like rosemary, oregano, thyme, and tarragon. Fresh herbs are the way to go; dried herbs just don't have the same punch!
For maximum flavor infusion, use fresh herbs when they're in season (and if you have access to them). Dried ones will do just fine, too—just keep in mind that they will lose their potency over time, so be sure to rotate through them before losing all their flavor potential!
- Blackberry Vinegar
- Herbed Vinegar
Lemon Zest Vinegar
Lemon zest vinegar is a great way to add a little zing to your food. It's a lot like lemon juice, but it has all the flavor (and none of the acidity) you would expect from lemon juice. You can use it in salad dressings, marinades, and sauces—or just mix it into the water as a refreshing drink!
It's also relatively simple: just slice lemons very finely with a sharp knife and put them into an airtight container with some white wine vinegar or apple cider vinegar. The longer you let them sit together at room temperature, the stronger they'll become; after about two weeks, you should have something worth using!
For example, suppose you don't want the whole bottle at once. In that case, it will keep in the refrigerator for months if stored in an airtight container (I hold most things glass jar or bottle with an airlock system that allows carbon dioxide out while keeping oxygen away from your precious infusion!