Thursday, April 10, 2014

Herbal Magic Starts Early!

 I have a wonderful marjoram plant growing in my greenhouse. Today I thought would be a perfect day to harvest off the fresh tips & make a batch of herbal apple cider vinegar.

I've been without my cider vinegar blends for a few months now & was really craving that flavour again in my salads.

It's relatively easy to do.

I tend to make things like this in large batches so I don't run out & there is always someone I can give a bottle or jar to as gifts.

Find a large glass jar - a pickle jar works well. Make sure it is sterile & no longer smells of what used to be inside - that might affect the flavour of your final product. Gather your fresh herbs - wash & spin dry if need be. Mine in the greenhouse was very clean - no dirt splashed up from watering, no bugs or strange clinger-on'ers, so I skipped this step. But you do want to spin it very well to remove the water.

Next, rough chop the herb - stems & all. Toss it into the jar & fill it up with apple cider vinegar. I just use the inexpensive Allen's brand and I probably go through about 4 or 5 of these a year (I should keep track!). Wrap the top of the jar with plastic wrap & then screw on the lid. Since I use my jars with many different vinegars & sometimes oils, I try to make sure that the metal lid does not react with the vinegar or else there might be an issue with contamination & rust.

Leave the jar in a cool, dark place for a few days for lightly flavoured vinegar or up to a few weeks for more intense flavour. They are your taste buds, so experiment! Strain out the herbs & compost them. Bottle up the vinegar into smaller bottles - I use the Grolsh beer bottles with the snap cap - they are green (a clear bottle would be pretty to see the colour, but would affect the shelf life of the product) & fit a vinegar spout easily.

Use in cooking, on salads, with eggs or whatever you can think of. Vinegar is such a healthy food for you & adding the benefits of fresh herbs is a great way to take care of yourself.

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