Spring is here in my neck of the woods and that means yummy fresh fruits and vegetables are now coming into season. We are eating more salads and I'm cutting up more raw fruits and veges just to have out on the table for munching.
In our neighborhood families are getting their grills cleaned up and out for use. We have a couple of block parties planned in the spring. When we get together with other families I think it is nice to have just a small gift to give to the other moms. In early fall I think a small jar of homemade jam is appropriate, but now in early spring I LOVE flavored vinegars as a gift. They are inexpensive and so EASY!
Save your old, empty wine bottles and clean them well. Empty glass salad dressing bottles also look nice. Keep bottles in the back of your mind as you stop at garage sales because often times I'll see boxes at these garage sales labeled FREE and many times they have jars and bottles in them that would be perfect for flavored vinegars. Just pour boiling soapy water in the bottle to clean it and make sure it is rinsed well.
There are a multitude of variations in making flavored vinegar. In each bottle put 2 or 3 whole large garlic cloves. Then put in enough herbs to loosely fill the bottle. Finish by heating your vinegar to just simmering and then pour over the herbs or fruit. Use white, red wine or apple cider vinegar. Let set for 4 weeks to let the flavor of the ingredients infuse into the vinegar. Do not eat the fruit or herbs. Refrigerate for best flavor retention.
Some herbs that work well are:
Fruits that work well are:
- cranberries and strawberries
- blueberries and orange peel
- cherries and lemon peel
- vanilla been pieces and citrus peel
As you build your salad, put a sprinkling of oil on the leaves then add your flavored vinegar.
To give as a gift, tie a piece of raffia around the neck of the bottle and add a sweet tag stating its contents.
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