The pungent, slightly astringent flavor of rosemary adds zest to chicken, pork, potatoes and other dishes. Rosemary flourishes as a perennial shrub in warmer climates, and as an annual in areas where winter brings freezing temperatures. Infuse vinegar with rosemary and use the resulting product to flavor salad dressings and marinades. Herbal vinegars make attractive gifts for foodie friends and are another way to preserve the bounty of your herb garden.
Wash the bottles in which you intend to keep the vinegar with soap and hot water. Rinse well.
Fill a large pot with water and bring the water to a boil. Put the clean bottles in the pot of boiling water and simmer for ten minutes. Remove the bottles from the water with tongs and set aside to dry.
Pick herbs in the morning after the dew has dried. You'll need three to four sprigs of rosemary for each pint of infused vinegar. Select tender, fresh sprigs with no browning or woody stems.
Mix bleach and water in a bowl. Dip each sprig of rosemary in the bleach. Shake off excess solution and rinse the rosemary in cool water. Set aside to dry. This solution kills any bacteria or mold on the herbs that could contaminate your infused vinegar.
Insert the rosemary into the bottle. Heat vinegar in a pan on the stove until it just begins to steam but is not boiling.
Pour the hot vinegar over the rosemary in the bottle, using the funnel. Place the cap on the bottle.
Allow the bottle to sit on the counter or a shelf in a cabinet for three to four weeks. This allows the flavor of the rosemary to transfer to the vinegar. Don't worry if the vinegar becomes a little cloudy during this time.
Uncap the bottle and strain the vinegar through a coffee filter into a bowl. Discard the rosemary sprigs and rinse the bottle in boiling water to sterilize it.
Pour the strained vinegar into the sterilized bottle. Harvest two or three sprigs of fresh rosemary and dip in the bleach solution as before. Rinse the rosemary and place in the vinegar in the bottle.
Cap the bottle and label it with the contents.
- For the best flavor, store your rosemary-infused vinegar in the refrigerator.
Cynthia Myers is the author of numerous novels and her nonfiction work has appeared in publications ranging from "Historic Traveler" to "Texas Highways" to "Medical Practice Management." She has a degree in economics from Sam Houston State University.
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