The special liquid that can make food mistakes into the stuff of food magic! I have been known to add it to dishes that are too spicy, burnt, dull, too sweet, too something. If you don’t know what’s wrong with the food you’re making or if you question the something that seems to be missing…add a sprinkling of vinegar. Seriously.
After years of thinking, talking and asking mother google for infused vinegar recipes, I decided to take the plunge and do some experimenting. I gathered up a few jars, and spices.
Infusions are reliant on time. Flavors take that time to develop. It’s all very slow.
Well, I imagine it to be. I’ve never done this process before, but I know very well how sometimes my leftovers taste much better a few days later. I just love the idea of slow processing, and giving space - to food, to people, and just generally, to the things we put out in the world.
Oftentimes, we crave a flavor, we crave a something, and we go to the store; buy it, go home, consume. I often feel that things lose flavor on the shelf, or lose flavor when the processing is already complete, anonymously done by a stranger or machine across state lines, across the borders of our country. Nutrients disappear, the taste dissipates, and the love seems to be missing. Although, that being said, I do, in fact, still love boxed mac and cheese. Lez-be-real. Childhood wins.
But, just like in our emotional/relational lives, if we do the processing ourselves, or in our community, then we gain more of the benefits. We can’t expect someone else to do that work for us. We develop patience (in waiting), a sense of humor (for false starts, unexpected findings, total flops), and compassion (for the privilege we have in making the choice/having the choice to move slowly/slower in the world).
We’ll have to wait a few weeks for the vinegars. I’m excited for the wait, but also wishing they were already done! But, it gives me time to consider recipes, possibilities, and to dream about who I am so so excited to share the findings with!
What You Need
· Jars (sterilize with a hot water bath – boil jars and lids in hot water, fully submerged or in the dishwasher on the sterilize setting)
· Wax paper (to keep the metal away from flavor? Is that why?)
· Spices (I used jalapenos, cilantro, and garlic cloves, but so many other things could be used! Basil? Thyme? Pears? Do you have ideas?)
· Vinegar (I used white wine vinegar and also apple cider vinegar)
Reality of my experiment: I have no idea what proportions are proper. But, I imagine, as with using vinegars in cooking, a little goes a long way.
Firstly, use clean jars. The photo I included of my sterilization process is actually incorrect, so don’t do it like that (yet, I liked the photograph)! You’ll want to fully submerge the jars in hot water…I didn’t. But, I figure it’s clean enough – and, vinegar is so acidic that nothing much will grow in there? Mother google seems to agree. I wonder if I even need this step.
I sliced ¾ of a jalapeno, around 8 garlic cloves and about a cup of cilantro.
I did 3 different batches on the stove.
Start by pouring the vinegar in the jar (I did it this way so as to measure the right amount of vinegar for the jar since I have a hodge podge/different sized jar situation) and then put the liquid in a saucepan with the spice, heating it up slightly and then pouring it into the jar.
Let it cool and then put wax paper between metal lids and jar.
Let it sit somewhere dark for two weeks to develop flavor.
Shake the jars every couple of days.
I’ll check back in with you all in a couple weeks on this. Hopefully with splendid news!
Also, check out Lelo in Nopo’s post on infusing vinegars. This is a new blog I found and I think they were so creative with the vinegar loving. I hope to be as creative after this first batch!! Let’s experiment together, folks!
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