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.
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.
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::
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