One day I found a book in a used book store on small-batch preserving, and it was only $10 so I thought, hell yes, fun with jam and pickling. Turns out there’s a bunch of recipes in the back for making specialty vinegars. When you shove salad in your mouth every day like I do, you have to keep thinking of different ways to eat the good green stuff, so my new mission for the summer is experimenting with flavored vinegars – especially since it costs hardly anything compared to what you pay for bottles of stuff like that in stores, and it’s super easy if you don’t mind waiting a while!
This was my first attempt, adapted from a recipe in the book but, you know, I can’t follow instructions so I did it a bit differently.
Anyway, if you want to get into preserving, the book was The Complete Book of Year-Round Small Batch Preserving by Ellie Topp and Margaret Howard. It’s got a lot of good stuff.
BASIL, CHILE AND GARLIC VINEGAR
2 cups white vinegar
4 large sprigs of fresh basil (I just picked a few from my plant)
2 cloves garlic
1 green chile pepper
Red pepper flakes
Crush the garlic and basil with a mortar and pestle or the side of a large knife. Cut the chile in half and remove seeds if they are still hanging out in there. Place all three ingredients in a medium to large jar.
Bring the vinegar to a boil on the stove, then pour it into the jar.
Put the lid on the jar and place on the windowsill or somewhere sunny for at least two weeks. Then strain it through a coffee filter into another jar or vinegar bottle. Add some red pepper flakes to taste, and that’s it!
This is a great way to use up some basil if your plant is overflowing,or if you have some leftover in the fridge and you aren’t sure how to use it, especially since a lot of people will have all the ingredients on hand! You can use it on salads or wherever you want to sub it in for other vinegars. You know, for a little fun:
- I used it in my Black Bean and Corn Salad-Dip
- Try in a stir-fry in place of rice vinegar
- Drizzle a bit over homemade pizza!