Although herbal vinegar can be pricey at fancy upscale stores, it’s pretty simple to make on your own. You can also easily customize your own recipe to suit the taste of your family because, of course, white wine vinegar flavored with dill, rosemary, and peppercorns clearly isn’t for everyone. Here’s how to make your own homemade herbal vinegar, including everything you need, and the step-by-step how to.
Homemade Herbal Vinegar Supplies
*Good Quality White or White Wine Vinegar with a reasonably high acidity. You can also use red wine vinegar or apple cider vinegar if you want; but keep in mind that they do have a stronger flavor than the others.
*A Glass Sauce Pan, preferably one that has a pour spout to help prevent spills. I speak from personal experience when I say that using most metal pots will leave a bitter taste in your mouth in more ways than one.
*Fresh Herbs that are free of disease, bugs, dirt, and debris. Rinsing off your herbs is fine but be sure they’re fully dried before they’re added to the vinegar to avoid diluting the flavor. Keep in mind that the more herbs that go into the mix the stronger the final product is likely to be, so a few handfuls of your chosen flavoring is probably enough. Of course, cooks should feel free to use two or more herbs when creating their recipe.
*Clear Glass Jars with plastic lids. If you can’t find plastic lids you can just tightly cover the tops with plastic wrap.
*A Mesh Strainer or Some Cheesecloth. You can use a regular strainer if you don’t mind making a total mess of the kitchen counter and losing about half of the vinegar. The mesh strainer works much better but using cheesecloth is the best option. In a pinch, the side of the box grater that has all the raised holes will also work but be careful not to cut yourself. After all, blood is not typically thought to be a good flavoring for vinegar unless you happen to be feeding vampires.
*Sharp Knives to dice up the herbs in question.
*Clear Glass Container, sealable, for storing finished vinegar.
*Pen and Paper to write a reminder if you don’t have a phone that you can program handy to alert you when the vinegar needs to be strained and rebottled.
How to Make Homemade Herbal Vinegar – Step by Step
I adapted this method for concocting Homemade Herbal Vinegar from the one published in Your Backyard Herb Garden by Miranda Smith.
- Wash out the jar you will be using with hot, soapy water and rinse well. Glass containers can be further disinfected by cooking them on low heat for 30 minutes to an hour. I do both of these things because it cuts down on the possibility of contamination.
- Dice up the herbs in question. Meanwhile, let the vinegar heat up but don’t let it boil. Put herbs into a sterilized jar and then pour in the warm vinegar on top. Seal up the vinegar mixture. Then put the jar in a cool, dark space where it won’t be disturbed.
- Find out the date that is two weeks away and put up a reminder where you’ll see it to check the vinegar then. Or set up your phone to remind you. Otherwise, if you’re like me, the vinegar could be left in the closet as long as to become a weird science project rather than anything you’d risk eating.
- Wait the aforementioned two weeks. Clean your house, do your laundry, walk the dog, have a party, watch grass grow, read all the past articles on HomeFixated.com – do whatever it is you normally do for the duration. When the note says so, remove the vinegar from its’ hiding place.
- Sample. If it is too strong, you can dilute it with more vinegar. If it is too weak, send the mix back to its’ lair for a few more weeks. Again, just be sure to leave yourself a note. Once the vinegar taste fine, you can proceed to the next step.
- Wash the container and sterilize it if you would like. While the container is being lightly baked, go pick some fresh herbs of the same kind that was previously used. Wash the addition if you think it’s necessary. Wait for the container to cool before handling it further. Otherwise, you’ll also need aloe.
- Carefully strain and rebottle the mix. Add desired additional herbs. Top with lid. Congratulate yourself on a job well done. If you’re feeling inspired, go make a sandwich or salt and vinegar potato rounds to sample the results of your culinary genius!
Other Notes on DIY Herbal Vinegar
I got two glass vinegar dispensers like the one shown in the photo below from World Market for under $5 some time ago. These come with a nozzle that isn’t shown in the photo because I couldn’t find the piece when I was taking pictures earlier. These contraptions are easy to stow on the counter or on the spice rack for adding a splash of flavored vinegar to things like salads and sandwiches. I’m pretty paranoid about things like germs and bacteria so I usually keep homemade herbal vinegar mixes in the fridge. However, vinegars generally have a high acidity content and leaving them out on the counter will probably be okay as well as long as they’re properly sealed up. Of course, if any allegedly edible substance starts growing mold, smelling sketchy, or otherwise seeming off-kilter, you definitely should toss it rather than consume it.