Tuesday, May 29, 2012

A Nice Thing to Do

Speaking of plants in vinegar. This is one of my favourite ways to preserve many herbs and flowers, especially at this time of year. On my shelves currently you'll find mugwort in vinegar, nettle in vinegar, dandelion flowers in vinegar, violet flowers in vinegar.... I use mostly organic ACV, but white wine or white balsamic for flowers that will impart their colour and scent to the maceration and create beautiful, sparkly jewels of yumminess.

Right now my chives are blooming like crazy. If they are where you are too, here's what you do:  Pop the flower heads off into a basket or paper bag. Watch for ants. They love chive blossoms. Take your blossoms home, hopefully minus the ants. Find an appropriately sized, wide mouth glass jar. Loosely pack the jar with your blossoms. Take a decent quality white vinegar, pour and cover blossoms in jar with the vinegar.  Use a knife or chopstick to release the air bubbles.  Top off with more vinegar if you need to.  Cover your jar, with a little plastic wrap in between, if your lid is metal.  Label your jar with the what and when, i.e. chive blossoms in white balsamic vinegar, May 28/12.  Set in a coolish, darkish place but not so out of the way that you'll forget about it.  In fact, you might enjoy checking it every so often and admire the alchemical magic happening right before your eyes.
The jar on the right is a few days old and already the vinegar is extracting the chiveness from the flowers.
The jar on the left was just started last night.
So, in about a month, strain and squeeze out the chive flowers and compost them reverently.  Find a few pretty jars with nice shape and form, from the recycle bin or thrift stores, and pour your infused vinegar in. (Of course your jars in this whole process are squeaky clean, even sterilized if you like.)  Smell and taste a little.  It will smell and taste strongly of chives.  Imagine all the ways you'll want to use this vinegar and how nice it will taste in salad dressings, over fish and chips or as a splash into sauteed greens. 

Store it in the fridge where it will keep for many months.  Save some of your prettiest jars and give them away as gifts to your foodie friends.  It's a nice thing to do.

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