Herbal vinegar isn’t just a low-calorie, low-fat dressing for tossed salads. Herbal vinegar makes a great tasting marinade for a variety of vegetables and meats, and it’s also delicious when added to a variety of soups, stew, and other tasty dishes. Each tablespoon of herbal vinegar only has three calories, so it’s a great way to add flavor to foods without adding a lot of calories.
Consider making your own herbal vinegar. You can make herbal vinegar that’s as good as or better than varieties served in the finest restaurants, and you can make it for a fraction of the cost of store-bought herbal vinegar. Best of all you can make herbal vinegar to satisfy your individual taste and preferences by adding herbs of your choice.
Choosing a Container
Herbal vinegar can be as decorative as it is delicious, and it’s important to find just the right container before making vinegar infused with herbs. There’s no need to buy an expensive decorative jar. There are a number of glass bottles and jars that are perfect to hold vinegar infused with herbs. Empty wine bottles, olive jars, jelly jars, and pickle jars all make great containers for vinegar infused with herbs. Chances are you have the perfect jar in your cabinet or refrigerator.
Vinegar causes metal to deteriorate, so when storing it in a jar with a metal lid, be sure to cover the mouth of the jar with plastic or waxed paper before screwing on the lid. You might be able to find a plastic lid of the right size to replace a metal lid. A tight fitting cork dipped in paraffin wax can also be used to seal the jar.
Cooked Herbal Vinegar
Heating vinegar and herbs helps bring out the flavor, and if you want herbal vinegar with intense flavor, consider heating it before adding herbs. Simply heat one cup of vinegar of your choice in a glass or stainless steel saucepan, and take care not to let it boil. Add herbs of your choice such as 1/4 cup of fresh snipped chives or dill weed along with a clove of garlic cut into quarters, or you can make lemony mint vinegar by adding about 1/3 cup of fresh snipped mint and lemon verbena. Experiment with various herbs to develop your favorite flavor. Any consumable herbs can be used alone or in combination.
After heating the mixture, allow it to cool, and pour it into a tightly covered glass container of your choice. Let it steep for at least two weeks, and strain it through cheesecloth or a fine metal strainer right before serving.
Uncooked Herbal Vinegar
It’s not necessary to heat the vinegar and herb mixture. All you have to do is add the above-mentioned herbs or other herbs of your choice to the appropriate amount of vinegar. Pour it into a jar with a tight lid, and shake it well. Place the mixture in the refrigerator for at least four days before serving, and strain the herbs through cheesecloth or a fine metal strainer before serving.
This type of herbal vinegar isn’t as strong or as flavor intense as the heated type, but it’s still delicious on salads, vegetables, and as a delicious and healthy low-calorie marinade.
Storing Herbal Vinegar
Herbal vinegar lasts for months when stored properly. It should be stored in a cool dark location, and it can be stored in the refrigerator. Shake the jar daily to bring out the flavor, and to keep the herbs sufficiently covered and preserved.