Making herb vinegars is easy and rewarding. The colors are lovely, the taste is
delicious, and the process is satisfying. The bottles look very chic, gourmet, and decorative in your
Some general guidelines:
Herbs are best when cut in the morning after the dew has dried but before it gets hot. The
essential oils will release from the herbs at about 85 degrees F.
Wine bottles you wash thoroughly make suitable containers. Tall and thin bottles can also
be purchased inexpensively from dollar stores and world bazaar stores. If you purchase
flea markets or yard sales, be very, very careful about cleaning them meticulously.
Check the vinegar you are going to use for acidity. Any vinegar with 5% acidity can be
used to make herb vinegar.
1. Sterilize your jars.
2. Pick herbs. Wash them and shake dry.
3. Put plenty of herbs in sterilized jars. If the flavor gets too strong you can always
vinegar to dilute it but you can't add flavor if it is too weak.
4. Add vinegar.
5. Cork the bottles or otherwise put non-metallic lids on jars.
6. Store for 3-6 weeks. You can start checking after 3 weeks for flavor and aroma.
7. When vinegar has reached the desired flavor, strain it to remove the old herbs.
8. Place one or two fresh herb stems into a sterile bottle, for decorative purposes.
9. Pour in strained herb vinegar and seal.
10. Label bottles.
These herb vinegars are good as salad dressings and marinades.
Red and white wine vinegars are good choices to use. Rice wine vinegar is also a good
choice and has a smooth, subtle flavor that blends nicely with herbs. Apple cider vinegar can be used
but it already has a flavor of its own that your herbs will be competing with. Distilled white
vinegar makes a nice herb vinegar but has a sharper flavor than the wine vinegars.
Use a white vinegar (distilled, rice) if the herb will color the vinegar.
Select a red vinegar if the herb has a strong flavor.
Some suggested combinations:
Chive blossoms with white wine vinegar. The chive blossoms give a lovely pink color and
light onion taste.
Lavender blossoms and cider vinegar. So special ... almost effervescent.
Basil, oregano, and thyme in a red wine vinegar. Has a rich, full flavor that is superb in
dressings and marinades.
Rosemary in a white vinegar. A good choice to serve with fish.
Experiment. It is so easy to be successful making flavored vinegars. Decorate your bottles
by tying a dried flower around the neck with a piece of raffia or tie a bow cut from a ribbon of
scrap fabric. I am thrilled with how lovely they look and flavorful they taste.
My first-prize this year went to my red wine vinegar seasoned with basil. Check back here
for more experimentation next year.
Bonus! I have found a way of preserving
garden herbs that retains more flavor than dried
herbs. Mince finely and place in a small sterilized glass jar. Pour oil (such as olive
oil) over to
cover. Store in refrigerator to use in cooking.
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Published 20 June 1996
This page added 1 December 2001
- Last updated
12/28/16 04:35 PM