Thought I would share my quick and easy recipe for Infused vinegars with you. They are cheap, take very little effort to make and look fantastic on the shelf! Pick the fresh produce, shove it in the jar, cover it with vinegar, wait a couple of weeks and decant it. As easy as that!
When I was a child, my parents grew most of our produce, and if we didn’t grow it, our friends or neighbours did. The excess bounty was shared, and preserves, jams and pickles were made. I am so lucky that I still have this kind of sharing in my world. As urban in-fill changes our suburbs and shrinks backyards, many people just don’t grow produce anymore, which is a crying shame. You can’t eat money. Also, it’s a satisfying feeling to be able to make something from your own garden.
I use both Lavender and Lemon vinegar for cleaning, diluted by half with water in a squirter bottle. For this lot, the lavender and mandarins came from Max’s and the lemons from my tree, but you can use shop-bought produce, of course.
Lavender, Lemon & Mandarin Infused Vinegar
- 1 Large glass jar with lid per flavour
- Vinegar – white, apple cider
- Pack your produce into a large jar, but not too tightly. Pour over your chosen vinegar, leaving a 3cm gap at the top of the jar. You can use any kind of vinegar and just about any herbs, berries and even nasturtiums! I like to use apple cider vinegar for cooking and the cheapest white vinegar for cleaning. Some recipes call for heating the vinegar, but I prefer not to. It may take a little longer to infuse the flavour, but that doesnt bother me.
- Weight fruit down so it sits under the vinegar. You can use proper ceramic or glass cooking weights tied in muslin cloth, but I just fill a small amount of water in a freezer bag and place in jar on top of fruits. Some of the vinegar will sploosh out in this process, so best to do this at the kitchen sink. Release the excess water and air from the freezer bag over the jar edge (without spilling water inside the jar) and tie knot. Gently manipulate the bag to work air bubbles to side of the jar. For herbs, or in this case, lavender, a small circle of greaseproof paper will suffice to hold the produce under the vinegar.
- Seal the jar and label with date. If its a metal lid, cover jar top with clingwrap before you seal as the vinegar reacts with metal. Allow to sit for 3 weeks in a cool dark place, giving a little shake every few days.
- To decant vinegar, pour into clean bottles or jars through a funnel double-lined with muslin or cheesecloth. You may need to strain twice to catch sediment. Label and date. Compost the remaining pulp.
- For Lavender vinegar:This one is my favourite. Great all-rounder. Brilliant for all cleaning, and add a sploosh in the washing. A couple of lavender sprigs for decoration in the decanted bottle looks so pretty on the shelf, too.Gather a large bunch of lavender flowers and pack the flower heads into your jar. Use the cheapest white vinegar. You can use dried lavender flowers, but fresh lavender blooms will give you the best quality and colour.
- For Mandarin vinegar:Halve fruit across the centre and pack into jar. Use apple cider or a good white vinegar. Looks gorgeous in the jar.Lovely summery flavour, great to use for salad dressings and marinades.
- For Lemon vinegar: Method 1. For cooking. Peel the lemon as you would an apple, avoiding most of the white pith. Pack peels into jar. Need at least a dozen lemons or more. Use Apple Cider or a good white vinegar base.Method 2. For cleaning.Use the whole lemon, quartered, and pack into jar. Use the cheapest white vinegar. The juice of the lemon intensifies the strength of the cleaner. Folk say the lemon vinegar is not good for marble and stone benches, so I guess do a small patch test where no one sees. Great for the bathroom.Squeeze the remaining lemons. Juice keeps for ages frozen in icecube trays. Once frozen, store in snap lock bags.
- Decant the vinegar into small pretty bottles for a sweet homemade gift.