Monday, June 22, 2009

Provençal Vinegar

Since I posted my recipe for Raspberry Vinegar, I thought I make and post my favorite homemade vinegar, Provençal Vinegar. This is a great salad vinegar, and also used in place of a splash of lemon juice in many meat and vegetable recipes.

The recipe says it keeps 6-9 months; that's probably a good age for culinary use as the taste and smells meld and intensify with age. I have had a bottle on the kitchen windowsill for 2-3 years and although I don't cook with it, I often just take a whiff to get my salivary glands going!

Place in each of 2 small glass bottles:

From the herb garden:
1 sprig fresh thyme

1 sprig fresh rosemary

1 small bay leaf

From the pantry:
1 large clove garlic, peeled

1 piece of lemon zest, cut long and narrow to curl

Champagne vinegar to fill each bottle

Thoroughly wash herbs and let them air dry.

Place the herbs, garlic and lemon zest in a sterilized bottle.

Pour in the vinegar to completely cover the lemon herbs and zest.

Seal, label and store in a cool, dark place for about 1 month before using.

This vinegar will keep for about 6-9 months stored in a cool, dark place... and only gets better with age!

NOTE: The garlic clove may turn blue/green. DO NOT BE ALARMED! It is perfectly safe. (Garlic is saturated with a chemical that turns garlic green or greenish blue when released by the acetic acid in the vinegar. The pigment in garlic itself turns out to be a close chemical relative of chlorophyll, which gives all green leaves their color.)

I have been known to first warm the herbs and citrus peel (but not the garlic) in the vinegar to almost a simmer, discard the herbs and peel and pour the vinegar over fresh herbs and peel (plus garlic) in the bottles. It kinda jump-starts the blending of flavors!

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