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My secret flavoring agents... tweaked vinegars

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Melissa Mead View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Melissa Mead Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 30 May 2012 at 15:37
Sounds delicious!

I wonder what mint vinegar would be good with. Peas?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote ChrisFlanders Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 31 May 2012 at 05:14
I forgot to mention you need some lemonjuice in the mint syrup I posted earlier, Melissa.
The syrup keeps amost 2 weeks in the refrigerator. I always make small batches and very little to freeze for use in wintertime.
 
Where can you use mint vinegar? After a lot of experiments, I ristricted my own collection of vinegar to the ones I use frequently. Mint vinegar is one of those examples where you could ask yourself if it's worth making it. There's a very limites number of dishes in which you could use it.
You can make a lot of flavoured vinegars that are going to be used a lot more; like vinegars infused with whole small young branches of rosemary (delicious in any tomato sauce!), branches of tarragon, wild rose petals, branches of dille, elderflower blossom (my favorite), etc. When using branches, simply wash them, pour some vinegar out of the bottle and push the branches in the remaining vinegar, using the handle of a wooden spoon. Put as many in as you can. Store away like that until needed. I have vinegars over 10 years old with tarragon leaves still in the bottle! Those old vinegars lose much acidic harshness but the aroma of the tarragon is quite strong and delicious.
If I were you, I would certainly make something similar using dille branches. I can't grow it, but it should be perfect in all fish dishes and many others.
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Melissa Mead View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Melissa Mead Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 31 May 2012 at 15:55
I can think of multiple uses for dill vinegar.I may even have some dill growing. :crosses fingers:
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HistoricFoodie View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote HistoricFoodie Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 31 May 2012 at 19:28
One addition to Chris' comments, Melissa. It is important that the herbs stay submerged in the vinegar.
 
Some of them do have a tendency to float. What you can do, in those cases, is to make a plug out of parsley, and jam it into the neck of the bottle. Keep the level of the vinegar above the parsley, though.
 
Although the parsley probably is adding it's own flavor to the mix, it is so mild that the primary herb overpowers it. If you're using tarragon sprigs, for instance, you will get tarragon vinegar.
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Melissa Mead View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Melissa Mead Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01 June 2012 at 16:46
Thanks! I think I've got it full to the top.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote africanmeat Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02 June 2012 at 03:03
Wow what a great idea thanks for sharing it with us.
Ahron
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Addtotaste Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02 June 2012 at 03:16
Berry vinegars are very popular here. Strawberry balsamic is one of my favourites. A tablespoon in a strawberry smoothie takes it to the next level
Check out some more recipes and reviews - www.addtotaste.co.za
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Melissa Mead View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Melissa Mead Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10 June 2012 at 05:18
No picture yet, but the chive vinegar is beautiful. What color! Now, what to do with it...
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HistoricFoodie View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote HistoricFoodie Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10 June 2012 at 16:12
Sure, the color is the first thing that hits you. But the second thing is the aroma; that beautiful, slightly oniony smell should provide clues as to what to do with it.
 
First off, use it in salad dressings. Even a plain oil & vinegar dressing explodes in a new flavor profile.
 
Then, think about anything you might add vinegar to, and ask yourself how it would be effected by the subtle onion flavor of this one. And go to it. Elsewhere, for instance, I posted about wilted lettuce salad. We use it there instead of plain vinegar. It provides an additional wow to cooked greens of all kinds as well.
 
Try it when you make pickles. We make pickled radishes, for example, using a recipe we adapted from the 18th century. Using chive vinegar brings it to a whole new level.
 
And, of course, we use it for gifts. Fancy bottles such as Chris uses, or small cruets with tight-sealing plugs, are best for this. You can recycle such bottles from things you buy, purchase new ones, or haunt the flea markets and antiques malls. For mere pennies you amass a collection of really nice containers.
 
 
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Melissa Mead View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Melissa Mead Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10 June 2012 at 17:26
I was thinking of pickling a Vidalia onion with it. I wish my chives hadn't dried up already, so I could make more.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote HistoricFoodie Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10 June 2012 at 18:52
Onion flavor on onion flavor might be a bit much. But the color certainly would be spectacular.
 
I was in the same situation last year. By the time I found out about making this vinegar the chives were all but done flowering. This year we made a point of harvesting every blossom we could. Wound up with two gallons of the stuff. Hug
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote ChrisFlanders Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11 June 2012 at 04:14

Dishes where the sweet/sour balance isn't right will benefit from a few drops of your vinegar, Melissa; tomato sauces, all kind of stews and braised dishes, poaching liquid for fish, in the cooking water of vegetables like cauliflower and carrots etc. It's a matter of being aware of the sweet/sour balance in food. I always taste before serving dishes like that and check for salt, pepper... and acidity. Thing is, just a few drops will lift many dishes to a higher level; flavours will remain much longer in your mouth! Also, in case of adding some vinegar to the cooking water of delicate vegetables like cauliflower, it will keep the cauliflower nicely white.

Raw tomatoes and cooked beet root benefit from just a little vinegar and no oil. Beet root can have quite a bit of vinegar to balance, tomatoes just a little.

And of course, like Brook already mentioned, there's also the vinaigrettes, basically 2-3 parts oil, 1 part vinegar plus your own additions like herbs and seasoning. In one of the first cookbooks written by Gordon Ramsay, I read that he keeps a basic vinaigrette always ready to add a little to sauteed vegetables. For instance; boil green beans, refresh, sweat a chopped shallot in butter, add beans, seasoning and just a few drops of vinaigrette. It's nice to learn that cheffy way of dashing vinegar in a preparation; keep your thumb on the opening of the bottle and let just a few drops at a time pass through. Remember you can always add but never get it out of a preparation.

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Melissa Mead View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Melissa Mead Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11 June 2012 at 18:56
I love making vinaigrettes That was my default idea. 
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Melissa Mead View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Melissa Mead Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14 June 2012 at 18:27
It's very good with cauliflower.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Melissa Mead Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17 June 2012 at 15:36
My chive vinegar: 
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Melissa Mead View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Melissa Mead Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04 July 2012 at 07:41
I sealed some peeled, sliced raw kohlrabi and a slosh of the chive vinegar in a plastic bag and left it in the fridge overnight. The result is crisp and refreshing, and makes me think of mild pickled radish.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote HistoricFoodie Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04 July 2012 at 14:03
Sounds great, Melissa. We'll definately give that a try!
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Melissa Mead View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Melissa Mead Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 June 2013 at 11:56
Here's this year's chive-flower vinegar. I let it steep twice as long, and it got really intense. (Scroll up to compare with last year's!)
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote HistoricFoodie Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 June 2013 at 15:30
Great shot, Melissa. You really captured the color of the vinegar.

At the recent 18th century trade fair at Fort Boonesborough, chive was the most popular of our herbal vinegars. In fact, we sold out of it.

I believe it's because it's so unusual, and not something you'll find in the local market, that led to its appeal.
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Melissa Mead View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Melissa Mead Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 June 2013 at 19:38
Thanks! I'd never heard of it until this thread, but it's fun to make.
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