Monday, June 29, 2009

Basil Vinegar, Anyone?

We sure love pesto sauce! This year, I have 5 basil plants in my garden. What was I thinking? I'm already harvesting basil like crazy. I thought today would be a good day to experiment with making a basil vinegar.

I first went out to the garden about mid-morning. If you have herbs, you know it is best to pick them after the dew dries off and before the hot sun has a chance to evaporate the oils from the leaves. I filled a basket and I know that I was not keeping up with my basil. You should always top your plants before blossom growth so your plants fill out.

I rinsed the leaves carefully and let them fully dry so not to cloud the vinegar. I sterilized a quart jar, filled it loosely with basil (including stems) along with some chives from my garden, filled the jar to within 1/2 to 1 inch from the top, bruised the herbs with a wooden spoon to release the oils, and put plastic wrap over the jar opening before putting on the metal lid. Vinegar and metal will cause a reaction so remember to first place a barrier between the two. I used about 2 cups of red wine vinegar and filled the rest of the jar with what I had on hand. Just be sure your vinegar label reflects that it is 5% acidic for best results.

I put the jar in the basement as it is cool and dark there. I'll need to shake the jar a couple of times a week and my herbal vinegar should be ready in one month.

When it's ready, I'll put it through a colander and coffee filters to clean it and add fresh herbs to make it pretty. My newly flavored vinegar will be placed in a wine bottle to look more attractive.

Now who wants some pesto sauce?

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