Infusions ~ Make your own Flavored Vinegar

So yesterday I spoke about making dressing and mentioned having tarragon infused vinegar. I live in a small town and there are a number of vinegar flavors on the shelf in my little local store. I also ask them to order. When a holiday is coming they are more willing as shoppers tend to be more adventurous in the food purchases.

If not, you can infuse your own vinegar. It is really quite simple. Start with white vinegar. While vinegar is a natural anti-bacterial, it is really important that the equipment you are working with is sanitary. Choose a bottle that you can seal tightly. Mason jars are good, or use a tight sealing bottle. Sanitize and cool the jar and lid. If not, the temperature difference could crack the glass and you will have a stinky mess!

Choose the ingredient you wish to infuse with. In this case, I am suggesting tarragon. You can infuse the vinegar with any flavor you like. Make sure you chop, rip, or crush the ingredient to release the flavors. Put the flavor in the bottom of your bottle and pour the vinegar over top. Leave at least 1/2 inch in the top of the bottle. Seal it and set it aside. No refrigeration, just on the counter. Some would advocate dark and cool, I don’t see a difference.

Bold flavors need less time. Light flavors need more. The flavor gets more robust the longer you let it sit. Leave it a week (or two) at least . . . When you are ready to use the vinegar, you need to strain out the infusion flavors. Cheese cloth works well. Then the clear and freshly infused vinegar can be used for up to six months.

So if you feel adventurous, play around with some infusions. Or if not, ask your grocer to order one flavor. Then, use it to make your own dressings! As always . . . . ENJOY!