With the passage of Memorial Day we are entering into one of my favorite seasons. No, not summer, canning season. When you live in the northeast where all things green and edible have to come into season in a short time you appreciate the bounty of summer and the fall harvest. And then you try to figure out how to keep some of it for the never-ending winter.
As I mentioned before, I am new to canning and home preserving. This will be my second season of putting things by, but boy have I gotten the bug. Last year I mostly made several types of raspberry jam, some carrot cake jam, froze about a gallon of blueberries, 3 quarts of tomatoes, bread and butter zucchini pickles and tried my hand at some flavored vinegar. As much as I have appreciated the sweet jewel-toned jams in the morning with my coffee and oatmeal I have secretly loved the vinegar even more.
I don’t know about you, but I make my own salad dressing because I hate all of the sugar and preservatives that they put into bottled dressings. (But I admit I am a sucker for french dressing… what is that anyways?) It is so easy to make, tastes fresh and you can put anything you want in it. For us its been some tasty flavored vinegars. Last year I made 3 types: blueberry lemon basil, opal basil, and black raspberry. Mmmmm.
This year I am starting of my vinegars with a chive blossom variety. Give it a month and I’ll show you what it looks like, but I can tell already it is going to be tasty! Here’s the recipe:
Chive Blossom Vinegar:
1 bottle of nice white vinegar (if you start with Heinz, it will still taste like Heinz at the end. Use something you would want to eat by itself first, not use to clean your coffee maker. I used champagne vinegar for this one.)
Chive Blossoms from your garden (I used as many as I had, the more blossoms the deeper the flavor of your vinegar.)
The zest of 1 lemon cut into strips with a vegetable peeler not with your microplane
Pick your chive blossoms and wash them really well in cold water and let them dry on a kitchen towel. Pour the bottle of vinegar into a non-reactive (i.e. not metal!) container with a lid. Add your lemon zest and the dried chive blossoms. Let them sit in a cool dark place for 4 weeks or so. Stir the vinegar once a week and strain it when the vinegar reaches the desired depth of flavor. For this vinegar, you might need a jelly bag for straining since I was noticing that there were tons of little anthers floating around in my vinegar that cheesecloth might miss. You can either process the vinegar for canning at this point, or you can store it in the fridge. Some other recipes that you find for this vinegar don’t call for the lemon zest, which is a great addition in my opinion. They also call for heating the vinegar before adding it to the blossoms. I don’t heat it up at all because I think that it ruins the delicate flavor of the chive blossoms, and any other infused vinegar for that matter. It might take more time to get your flavor to develop this way, but it will be much more delicate which is what I am going for when I am making vinegar for salad dressings and marinades.