Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Making home-made balsamic vinegar

This recipe for home made Balsamic vinegar has been adapted from one found in a herbal book many years ago. It is not the pure balsamic that is associated with Italy but a variation on a theme - a flavoured and marinated condiment that can be used in a variety of ways. Salad dressings, soups, sautéed vegetables and any other dish that needs a spicy, flavoursome vinegar.

We use a good quality cider or apple vinegar but any other basic vinegar can be used as a base. The mix of herbs and spices is really down to personal taste and therefore you might wish to change some of the ingredients we use to others that you prefer. The key to producing a balanced vinegar is to ensure the overall taste is not over powered by one ingredient.

Decant a third of the 750ml bottle of vinegar to make space. Add, a generous sprig of sage, thyme and rosemary. Place 15 black peppercorns, 20 coriander seeds, 12 cloves and 15 cardamom seeds in the bottle along with 30 raisins. Top up the bottle with the remaining vinegar, seal and store in a cool dark place for 2 months. The colour will change slightly as the herbs and spices infuse with the vinegar. Decant and discard the herbs and spices and use as required. We make about 3-4 litres a year for personal use and occasionally a few extra bottles for gifts to friends and family.

An additional use for this vinegar is for cleaning surfaces - use diluted, not only does it disinfect, it will help deodorise as well.

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