7.24.2013

Recipe Box: How to Make Chive Blossom Vinegar

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I captured spring in a jar! It's an easy enough task. When chives start to bloom, pluck off their pretty lavender-hued heads, and drown them in vinegar. Seal your jar and tuck it away someplace safe and dark. A month later, strain the blossoms, and you should have a jar of the prettiest, pink, chive-infused vinegar your salads have ever seen.

Let's review: 

1. Clean and gently dry chive blossoms. 
2. Fill a sealable jar halfway with blossoms. 
3. Combine white distilled vinegar, two crushed garlic cloves (optional) and a peppercorn or two (also optional) in a saucepan. Use as much vinegar as you need to fill your jar. Bring barely to a simmer. 
4. Pour vinegar over blossoms and allow to cool. 
5. Seal jar and store in a dark place for a month-ish. The longer, the stronger. 
6. Strain vinegar to remove blossoms. 

POW! There you have it. Chive blossom vinegar to use all year long. I like to add a splash to peppery salad greens, lobster-studded potato salads, or grilled corn succotash. I used it in my pickle brines, marinades, dressings, and aolis. I know I'll be kicking myself when winter rolls around and I'm down to the last drop. Next time I'll whip up a couple more bottles to brighten up those shivery days.

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Turn any spent liquor bottle into a decanter with one of these handy cork oil spouts. Thanks, Espolon Reposado. You've served me quite well. ::hiccup::

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Watercress, chioggia beets, pistachio, goat cheese with chive blossom vinaigrette.

One more thing. If you can't find chive blossoms, you can still infuse vinegars with herbs, citrus fruits, chiles, berries, beer, cucumbers, rhubarb - it's totally your call. Follow the same steps, but use whatever seasonal ingredients that do it for you. Strawberry-basil, orange-fennel-anise, and pickled ginger are some of my favorites. Don't hesitate to experiment with apple cider, white wine, or Japanese vinegars.

What else? I wanna hear your ideas.

Here are a few sites that are dropping knowledge on the infused vinegar scene, listed from breeziest to more complex:

Design Sponge - Small Measures: Infused Vinegars
Martha Stewart - Fresh Peach Infused Vinegar
Eating Well - Infused Vinegar Recipes
Love Beer, Love Food - Beer Vinegar
Pickle Me Too - Natural Fermentation
Nordic Food Lab - Naturally Fermented Vinegars + an interesting ceviche application

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