Fruit, herb vinegars and spirit infusions
I do enjoy that end of summer feeling.
Amongst other things, I have just been gathering in some surplus herbs for a supply of dried herbs through the winter and wow what a surplus this year. I now have herbs hanging up in every dark corner of the house. Dried herbs
It is also a perfect time to put some of the harvest into making my own herb and fruit flavoured vinegars. The flavoured vinegars in Lets Preserve It are easily overlooked sitting as they do under V on the very last pages.
Making your own flavoured vinegars adds some fun to cooking and preparation of food not to mention giving the opportunity to play around in the kitchen to get them to your own liking.
LET’S PRESERVE IT – FLAVOURED VINEGARS
Now turn to the very end of the book (page 188) and find inspiration from the list of possibilities.
Spiced vinegars, Fruit vinegars, Herb Vinegars, Chili vinegars, Cucumber vinegars, Garlic vinegars, and Horseradish vinegars
I opted to make some raspberry vinegar this summer but decided to make only half the quantity. While I stuck to Beryl’s original recipe, I have also added some of my own notes.
450g (1lb) soft fruit (Blackcurrants, redcurrants, raspberries etc); 570ml (1 pint) white vinegar, sugar – (this I halved)
NB Use only good quality white wine vinegar.
Cover fruit with vinegar; stand 4-5 days, stirring occasionally; strain through either a scalded jelly bag or I chose to use a scalded muslin sheet over a measure jug which works well with this small quantity; resist the urge to squeeze it through the bag or muslin as this makes the vinegar cloudy ; leave to drain as long ( maybe overnight) as you can and for at least four hours; put liquid in pan with 400g sugar per litre ( ½ lb per pint; boil for 10 minutes; put in a sterilised bottle and seal. Use within a year.
The combination of a number of herbs from my herb harvest made a lovely soft vinegar for salads and some meat and fish dishes.
Selected herbs ( I included tarragon, thyme and sage but also consider marjoram, basil, mint and mint), white or malt vinegars required (I chose Aspall classic white wine vinegar)
Crush herbs with rolling pin, half fill a jar and cover with cold vinegar; store for six weeks, shaking as often as possible, but at least once a week; strain before use.
HOW AND WHEN TO USE AND ENJOY THE FLAVOURED VINEGARS
These flavoured vinegars can be used in countless ways so prepare to experiment.
The raspberry vinegar for example can be used over salads, fruits, ice cream. Other infusions may enhance dishes, such as fish or meats where you otherwise might have chosen a lemon dressing.
For a fuller discussion of the use of flavoured vinegars I have found Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall a good read.
AND HERB INFUSED SPIRITS
Soon I shall have to I shall branch out and try the tarragon infused vodka – as tipped off by Jackie Kaines Lang.
The problem is that I am not really a vodka imbiber.
I am quite surprised that my aunt did not include such a recipe in her book; I know she would have approved.