I’ve got three different bottles of fruit and herbs steeping in vinegar in the dark recesses of my basement spice shelves. Birthed out of a craving for something savory out of all the pounds and pounds of fruit Cherub and I have been picking with friends lately. I’ve made cobblers, pies, and grunts. I’ve made syrups, jams and jellies (albeit almost accidentally, but that’s another post). What to do with the dregs from the blueberry syrup? The excess from 20 pounds of cherries? Toss them in vinegar along with some herbs. Let it steep for a few weeks in a dark spot, shaking the jars every once in a while when you walk by. It’s as easy as that, and the flavors are only limited by your imagination. And honestly, can you think of a nicer hostess gift? Just strain into a vintage bottle, and cork. Present with a handwritten tag noting the contents or perhaps a recipe for a simple vinaigrette. You’re most certain to be invited back.
A few guidelines: for deepest flavor use almost equal parts fruit and herbs to vinegar. You could even briefly heat the vinegar along with the fruit and herbs before emptying into a sterile jar. Strain after two to four weeks and discard the solids.
Re-bottle in something pretty and sculptural if you’re giving as a gift. Although ball jars are charming in and of themselves.
Store in a dark place to preserve the flavors as long as possible. In the refrigerator, the flavors should last six to eight months, if you store your vinegar on a dark shelf, only three to four.
And of course, use common sense, selecting only the best fruits and herbs (organic or homegrown) which have been scrupulously cleaned, along with all of your jars and lids.
Playlist included the most adorable French song I’ve heard in a while: Ca Depend Des Moments by Claire Keim.