Making flavored (infused) vinegars 2011

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Information about Making flavored (infused) vinegars 2011

Published on January 27, 2014

Author: cvadheim



This slide show discusses making flavored (infused) vinegars with California native plants.

The California Native Gourmet © Project SOUND

Flavored Vinegars Using CA Native Plants © Project SOUND

What we’ll be doing today 1. Lecture: Introduction to Flavored Vinegars 2. Garden walk: show you some common CA native plants useful for flavored vinegars 3. You’ll start a batch of flavored vinegar, with a vinegar/flavoring(s) of your choice © Project SOUND

What is vinegar?  Vinegars are made by adding a bacteria called Acetobacter aceti to diluted wine, ale, or fermented fruits or grains.  This creates acetic acid, which gives the liquid the sour flavor treasured by foodies throughout the world.  The base product (wine; cider; etc.) gives each type of vinegar its unique characteristics  Among the oldest foods and medicines known to man - first written references ~ 5,000 b.c. © Project SOUND

Flavored (infused) vinegars are infused with the flavors of herbs, spices and/or fruits © Project SOUND

Many cultures have traditional flavored vinegars  Strawberry and other fruitflavored vinegars are popular in Asia  Vinegars flavored with thyme & rosemary are popular in Mediterranean countries  Spiced vinegar, from the Philippines is flavored with chili peppers, onions, and garlic © Project SOUND

How to use flavored vinegars?  As a salad dressing  Alone  In your favorite vinaigrette or other salad dressing recipe  Make homemade salad dressings that trump any bottled dressing. © Project SOUND

As a flavorful marinade or sauce  Marinade poultry in herbflavor vinegars for a Mediterranean taste  Marinade other meats in fruitflavored vinegars for an exotic touch  To deglaze your pan and create a reduction sauce after frying meat.  Drizzle flavored vinegar over vegetables to wake up their flavors © Project SOUND

And many more uses – be creative  A Tbsp or two in sparkling water makes a refreshing beverage  Use in place of mayo in sandwiches  Use to flavor soups, stews & other dishes  In sweet & sour & other sauces Use flavored vinegar in any recipe that calls for plain vinegar.  Use fruit vinegars to make sweet vinegar glazes for fruits, pies © Project SOUND

Some hints for cooking with flavored vinegars  When substituting in a recipe, just replace apple cider, red wine, balsamic or rice wine vinegar with flavored vinegar  Flavored vinegars can impart intense, full-bodied flavor. Make sure the vinegar flavor is compatible with the other flavors in the dish  When substituting herbal-flavored vinegar for plain vinegar, reduce the amount of any additional herbs called for in the original recipe to avoid competing flavors. © Project SOUND

The most common flavoring agents are either herbs or fruits © Project SOUND

Herb/spice infused vinegars  Are a convenient way to preserve fresh herbs and to incorporate their flavor into salad dressings, marinades, and sauces.  Popular herb vinegars are flavored with thyme, oregano, basil and rosemary.  Easy to make at home.  Wine, rice, or cider vinegars are good bases for most herb vinegars.  Substitutes: vinegar plus fresh herbs © Project SOUND

Fruit infused vinegars  Are assertive without being pungent, so they make terrific salad dressings.  Also good in marinades/sauces for roasted meats, especially poultry, ham, pork, and veal.  Popular commercial vinegars include raspberry, blueberry & strawberry vinegars.  They're relatively easy to make at home, but require a little more care & effort.  Follow a trustworthy recipe. If too much fruit is added to the vinegar, it may not be sufficiently acidic to ward off harmful microbes. © Project SOUND

Making flavored vinegars is very popular right now © Project SOUND

Why make your own flavored vinegars?  The flavors are wonderful, subtle, complex – ‘summer captured in a bottle’  Allows for almost infinite creativity & experimentation  Good way to increase use of vinegar in diet  Relatively easy to make & inexpensive  Can be done easily in the home kitchen  Make a wonderful, personal gift  Are a great way to use the ‘excess bounty’ of your garden © Project SOUND

Creating distinctive flavored vinegars is a creative endeavor The end product is a blend of the type of vinegar and the flavorings used © Project SOUND

Attributes of a nice flavored vinegar  Intense flavor  Good blend of seasoning flavors & vinegar  Clarity  Nice color © Project SOUND

Choosing your flavoring agents  The flavors of many different types of things can be used: fruit, nuts, herbs and spices.  Consider flavors that are pungent, spicy and distinctive  Feel free to combine flavors – for example several herbs or fruits + herbs  Be creative – what ever appeals to you & works with your recipes © Project SOUND

Most people think of Mediterranean herbs Rosemary - Rosmarinus officinalis © Project SOUND

…but S. CA has a mediterranean climate, too © Project SOUND

Native pungent herbs  Most bush Salvia (Sage) species Rosemary - Rosmarinus officinalis  Several species & even more cultivars  Each has a distinctive flavor  Artemisia species  A. californica – sagey  A. dracunculus – tarragon  A. douglasiana - unique  Cleome isomeris – peppery  Local native onions CA Black Sage – Salvia mellifera © Project SOUND

California Black Sage – Salvia mellifera J.S. Peterson @ USDA-NRCS PLANTS Database © Project SOUND

Salvia mellifera  Mounding, woody shrub with a fibrous shallow (2 ft) root system  Grows 3-8 ft. tall, 3-15 ft. wide (with no pruning in ideal conditions)  Fast growing – short-lived, but re-seeds  Mostly evergreen – some die-back in winter  Large “winter/spring” leaves  Smaller “summer leaves”  Leaves are aromatic, dark green, wrinkled – with white hairs on underside  Square stems turn brown-gray with age © Project SOUND

Black Sage in the garden  Fragrance garden – one of the best  Hillsides, banks – erosion control  Specimen plant - interesting  For parking strips, along driveways and parkways  Along walls  For dry gardens  For coastal conditions (salt air, wind)  Good habitat plant – pollinators, birds (seed & cover) and small mammals (seed & cover) J.S. Peterson @ USDA-NRCS PLANTS Database © Project SOUND

Native minty herbs are often groundcovers Hummingbird Sage – Salvia spathacea © Project SOUND

Many attractive features  Fragrant, sweet-smelling foliage  Leaves make a tasty tea – that may help as a decongestant  Brilliant magenta-pink flowers  Flowers make a good cut flower  Bright green foliage – a nice groundcover  Shade tolerant – can be used under trees  Very drought tolerant

Make use of available water Grow on shady sides of buildings or walls

Some native minties  Hummingbird Sage – Salvia spathacea  San Miguel Savory – Clinopodium douglasii  Fragrant Pitchersage – Lepechinia fragrans  Monardella species © Project SOUND

Mountain Monardella: lovely © 2010 Steven Thorsted  Under trees, as a groundcover  Along partly shady walkways  Shady edges of the vegetable garden  As an accent in large containers  In a rock or butterfly garden a_ssp._pallida&redirect=no © Project Ssp. pallida SOUND

We also have some great CA native fruits Blue (Mexican) Elderberry – Sambucus nigra ssp cerulea © Project SOUND

Blue Elderberry  Large, upright shrub or small tree  to 25 ft tall  to 20 ft wide  Rapid growth rate – at least for first few years  Moderate lifespan (to 50 years in wild) Corsi©1999 California Academy of Sciences  Can grow as either tree or bush form (requires more regular pruning) © Project SOUND

Elderberry doesn’t need a lot of pampering; in fact, it seems to thrive on neglect © Project SOUND

Edible uses for Elder berries and flowers  Drinks – wines and cordials  Juice  Syrup  Jelly  Pies  Baked goods  Also a great natural dye Note – leaves, stems & seeds can be toxic © Project SOUND

There are also some great berry bushes © Project SOUND

Native fruits/berries Catalina & Hollyleaf Cherries Prunus ilicifolia Beach Strawberry - Fragaria chiloensis  Cherries – Prunus species  Currants & Gooseberries – Ribes species  Strawberries – Fragaria  Manzanita fruits – Arctostaphylos species  Oregon grape – Berberis/Mahonia species  Rose hips  Pacific Blackberry – Rubus  Honeysuckle berries  Wild grapes - Vitis © Project SOUND

Seasoning marinades & vinegars        Artemisia californica Artemisia dracunculus Bladderpod Native onions (Allium) Peppergrasses Salvias Even some of the berries/ fruits Experiment to find the best combinations. In general, stronger flavors are best with stronger vinegars CA Wild Tarragon – Artemisia dracunculus © Project SOUND

Once you’ve chosen your flavors, then choose an appropriate vinegar © Project SOUND

Choose a vinegar that complements your flavoring agent  Use light vinegars like champagne, white wine and mild rice vinegar for subtler flavors like citrus & berries and the delicate herbs like basil, tarragon  Use cider vinegar for medium to pungent herbs and fruits  Use the robust red wine, sherry & balsamic vinegars for heartier flavors like peppercorns , oregano, rosemary, garlic, Black Sage, etc.  See the ‘Vinegars’ sheet for more © Project SOUND

A few tips & pointers  To make flavored vinegars costeffective, search out sources such as gourmet/health food stores, restaurant supply stores & specialty groceries that sell these vinegars by the gallon.  Whatever your source/personal preference, use the best vinegar you can afford - vinegars that you like even without flavoring.  No amount of flavoring will improve a vinegar you don't like. © Project SOUND

Champagne Vinegar  This vinegar is made from dry white wine made from grapes usually used to make champagne.  A soft, smooth, delicate vinegar.  Mix it with nut or truffle oil to make a sublime vinaigrette.  This is an excellent vinegar for flavoring with milder herbs and fruits.  If you can't find Champagne vinegar you can substitute white wine vinegar. © Project SOUND

White wine vinegar  Milder and less acidic than cider or white distilled vinegar – bolder than champagne  Off-white in color.  Great for showing off herbs and spices used in flavoring vinegar.  Goes best with more delicate dishes, like salads  Favored in French cuisine © Project SOUND

Rice Vinegars  Made from fermented rice or rice wine  Popular in Japanese, Chinese, Korean & Vietnamese cooking traditions  Chinese vinegars are stronger than Japanese  All rice vinegars are sweeter than cider & white (distilled) vinegars  Three types:  White rice vinegar: colourless to pale yellow liquid, higher in vinegar content and more similar to Western vinegars  Black rice vinegar (Chinese): dark in colour, and has a deep, almost smoky flavour  Red rice vinegar (Chinese): distinctive red colour from Red yeast rice, which is cultivated with the mold Monascus purpureus. This vinegar has a distinctive flavour of its own due to the red mold. © Project SOUND

Cider vinegar/apple cider vinegar  Made from fermented apples – fruity apple flavor  Inexpensive, tangy & available  Works well in chutneys, hearty stews, and marinades; or for pickling vegetables  Best used with medium or strong flavored herbs and spices & fruits  Good to use with intensely flavored herbs such as horseradish, hot pepper, dill, garlic, shallots, nasturtium flowers and leaves, and garlic chives as well as spices. © Project SOUND

Sherry vinegar/sherry wine vinegar         Spain's answer to balsamic vinegar Assertive yet smooth, mellow; may be expensive Has a slight nutty flavor with a sweet aftertaste. great for deglazing pans and perking up sauces, especially those that will accompany hearty meats like duck, beef, or game or grilled veggies It can be flavored with the medium to stronger herbs and seasonings. The most expensive sherry vinegars are aged for a long time in wood casks Examples: vinagre de Jeréz = Jerez vinegar Alternative: balsamic vinegars © Project SOUND

Malt vinegar (alegar) einz_gourmet_malt_vinegar/  Always served with British fish and chips are served; common in British/Canadian kitchens  Made from malted barley  Pungent, lemony flavor.  Good choice for pickling & making chutneys.  Since it's so assertive, it's not a good choice for vinaigrettes or delicate sauces – or flavoring agents.  Varieties include brown malt vinegar and distilled malt vinegar (clear). © Project SOUND

Red wine vinegar  More tangy, robust than white wine vinegar  Attractive to the eye  Mild, wine-like taste.  Some inexpensive choices are quite good  This is the preferred vinegar to use when making raspberry flavored vinegar. Excellent for other berry fruits. © Project SOUND

Balsamic vinegar  Brown (light or dark) in color  Sweet-sour taste with an intense fruity aroma.  Many different flavors, so you’ll have to find one you like  Complex; best used with simple flavoring agents  This is the most celebrated of all vinegars; a staple of Italian cuisine © Project SOUND

White (distilled) vinegar  Which is distilled from ethyl alcohol.  Cheap but somewhat harsh-tasting  Try it with strongly flavored fruits such as Elderberry, Strawberry, Blackberry  Also good for hot peppers © Project SOUND

Enough background – Let’s do it! © Project SOUND

You already have most/all the equipment you need  Large pot to sterilize jars  Tongs or jar-grabbers  Non-reactive bowls - glass, plastic, porcelain, pottery, or enamel-coated steel  Non-reactive saucepan (anything but aluminum)  Plastic or wooden spoons  Measuring cups  Kitchen shears/pruners  Funnel (canning and/or narrow mouth)  Small sieve or colander  Jars/bottles with tight-fitting lids  Cheesecloth, muslin, or coffee filters to line a plastic strainer, colander, or coffee filter holder. © Project SOUND

A word about safety: bacteria  Homemade infused vinegars are generally considered safe, because they are acidic.  Vinegar naturally prevents the growth of bacteria like botulinum toxins.  Five percent or higher vinegar solutions are adequate to ensure food safety (look on the label). They are what is commonly sold in grocery stores as wine, rice and cider vinegars - higher solutions are available through specialty and restaurant suppliers.  Follow the recipe - don't add too many herbs/fruits/sugars to the bottle, or you may reduce the acidity of the vinegar so much that it loses its ability to preserve. © Project SOUND

In all canning (including making flavored vinegars) cleanliness is next to godliness  Cleanliness is essential when making flavored vinegars: hands, work surfaces, everything.  Wash all utensils, bottles, and containers with hot, soapy water, then rinse in hot water. A bottle brush often comes in handy.  Sterilize all steeping and storage bottles/jars either by running them through a hot dishwasher cycle or boiling for 10 minutes © Project SOUND

Types of bottles  Vinegar can be made in any type of bottle. Wine bottles, liquor bottles, vinegar bottles are all easy to come by. Glass or plastic – both are fine  For gift giving, keep an eye out for attractive bottles a garage sales and craft stores.  If possible, use a bottle with a cork or a ceramic or plastic top when you are making flavored vinegar.  Metal tops (like canning jars) react with the vinegar. Metal tops can be used if a piece of plastic wrap is placed over the opening before attaching the metal lid. © Project SOUND

Fresh seasoning herbs  Pick on day of preparation  Pick early in morning, when flavor is strongest  If possible, pick just before the flowering season – flavors intense  Pick only healthy, robust leaves/stems/ flowers  Wash thoroughly in cold water (or 1 tsp bleach/6 c water); pat dry  Remove large, woody stems © Project SOUND

Preparing fruits &berries  Use freshly harvested or washed and frozen fruits  Fruit should be fully ripe, unblemished  Wash fruit thoroughly in cold water; pat dry  Remove pits from cherries, stone fruits  Small fruits/berries are left whole or crushed; large ones (strawberries) may need to be sliced. © Project SOUND

Prepare the containers  Use only glass jars or bottles that are free of cracks or nicks.  Wash containers thoroughly, then sterilize by immersing the jars in a pan of hot water and simmering for 10 minutes.  Once the jars are sterilized, remove from the simmering water and invert on a paper towel to dry.  Fill while the jars are still warm. © Project SOUND

Then follow one of the basic recipes © Project SOUND

Cold vinegar recipes are simplicity itself  Fill with measured amount of vinegar  Measure out the selected flavoring ingredients; do any additional preparation (cutting/bruising)  Place flavoring ingredients in the steeping jar; check that flavoring agents are covered  Screw on the lid tightly  Place in a dark place to steep © Project SOUND

Hot vinegar recipes involve heating the vinegar to just below boiling  Usually just heat the vinegar; but recipe 1 for fruits heats vinegar+fruit  Follow the recipe – usually allow the hot vinegar to cool slightly before bottling  If using the Sweet Fruit vinegar recipe, but sure to follow instructions for sweetners © Project SOUND

Allow time for the flavors to infuse  May take as short as overnight or as long as 2-3 weeks for the flavor to develop fully.  Only you know when the flavor is strong enough for your taste/ recipes  The flavoring process can be shortened by a week or so by bruising or coarsely chopping the herbs and fruits before placing in the bottles and adding the hot vinegar.  To test for flavor development, place a few drops of the flavored vinegar on some white bread and taste. © Project SOUND

Remove the spent flavoring agents & filter  When the flavor is appropriate, remove the flavoring agents – I like to just pour the vinegar through a strainer  Filter the vinegar one or more times through a damp cheesecloth or coffee filter. Vinegar should be clear – not cloudy  Pour the strained vinegar into a clean sterilized jar.  Add a sprig or two of fresh sanitized herbs (if desired).  Seal tightly. Label with flavor, vinegar & date © Project SOUND

Storing flavored vinegars  Safety:  Unopened, most vinegars will last for 6-8 month in a cool, dark pantry.  Once opened, vinegar should be used within three to six months.  Just to be extra safe, store fruit-infused vinegars – and those made with rice, sherry or balsamic vinegars – in the fridge. I store all mine in the fridge.  After 6 months, even if there is no sign of spoilage, taste the vinegar before using to make sure the flavor is still good. If a flavored vinegar ever has mold on or in it, or signs of fermentation such as bubbling, cloudiness, or sliminess, throw it away. © Project SOUND

Storing flavored vinegars, cont.  Flavor:  Depends on both the vinegar and the flavoring.  Mild herbal flavors are most ephemeral; fruit flavors the most longlasting © Project SOUND

Enjoy your delicious, flavorful vinegar! © Project SOUND

We hope you’ll consider including some native food plants in your yard Bladderpod – Cleome isomeris (Isomeris arborea) © Project SOUND

Cleveland Sage – Salvia clevelandii © Project SOUND

‘Roger’s Red’ Grape – Vitis californica ‘Roger’s Red’ © Project SOUND

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