Gourmet Vinegar Recipes

Create gourmet vinegars using recipes combining apple cider vinegar with fruits, vegetables and herbs to produce orange-rosemary vinegar, spice vinegar, mint vinegar, and onion vinegar.

| November/December 1971

There's an old recipe for rabbit stew that begins, "First kill the rabbit." Well, like succulent rabbit stew, those delightful gourmet vinegars that command such fancy prices at the store have a very simple base and one could begin a recipe for them with the line, "First pick the apples."

You can start with apples — that is — and easily make your own base vinegar, but it isn't necessary. Not when you can take any ordinary, pure apple cider vinegar . . . add your own accents . . . and produce exotic gourmet vinegars with a back-to-nature touch.

The process is really quite uncomplicated, although the concoctions with mixed flavors do require more ingredients than the simpler one-herb vinegars. I can assure you, though, that the whole business is great fun and your creative products will be much less expensive than the gourmet varieties in the stores.

So let your imagination soar and see what you can create. Here, to get you started, are four proven recipes of my own:

Orange-Rosemary Vinegar Recipe

1 quart pure apple cider vinegar
4 tablespoons (heaping) fresh rosemary leaves (or 2 tablespoons dried rosemary)
1 large, juicy, naturally well-colored orange 

Peel only the thinnest outside rind from the orange, avoiding any of the white underneath. Chop fine. Strip four tablespoons of needles (leaves) from the fresh rosemary and bruise the leaves in a mortar and pestle, if you have one. I use a heavy white crockery mortar and pestle that doesn't retain other tastes and aromas. You can also lay the leaves on doubled wax paper and crush them with a small, old-time crockery bowl or coffee cup.

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