Confession: They're not all that fancy. And they're not all that complicated. Basically, you put herbs in vinegar. It's not hard.
I make a lot of different flavors of vinegar every year. You can, too. There are only three things you have to think about:
1. Bottles. You can put vinegar in anything glass with a lid. Save old wine bottles, Perrier bottles, those cute blue TyNant bottles, pint or jelly jars, anything.... Replacement corks can be picked up at any good hardware store. Just take your bottle in there and find the cork you like best. Or you can use plastic wrap and a rubber band. I've done it.
2. Vinegar. If you're just starting out, get plain white vinegar from your favorite grocery store. It'll be great! If you're in the mood for fancy, then go for a fancier vinegar: red wine, white wine, rice, cider. They all work. Remember: If you're not a vinegar connoisseur already, then just get plain white vinegar. That's what I did for 20 years before making my own vinegar.
3. Herbs. Fresh is prettier in the jar, but if you only have dried, then you can use those instead. In this bottle I used dried peppers and star anise, and fresh ginger. It's what I had. This is food - it shouldn't be stressful, it should be delicious.
I'll be posting more vinegars as I do them this year, but here's a good one to start with. I used this to make the Szechuan pickled beans I did this year - recipe tomorrow. I also use it in any oriental recipe that calls for vinegar. Delicious!
|Oriental Spice Vinegar|
- 4-6 long skinny hot peppers
- sliced fresh ginger
- 1-2 star anise broken up
- white vinegar.
See! I told you it was easy. Wait for a month or so for the fullest flavor. These will keep for at least a year. If the herbs get ugly, take them out. Mostly, I just ignore them.
Note: If you want to keep your bottle to use again, make sure that your herbs can come out as easily as you put them in. It's no fun trying to get a big twig of whatever out of the bottle when the vinegar is gone.