Flavor Infused Vinegar with FREE Printable Hang Tags15. October 2019
We’re thrilled to have a new guest blogger, Amy Prentice. Amy is a marketing manager whose first love is gardening and nature photography. She gardens in a small suburban backyard in Northeastern Oklahoma (AKA Green Country). Her favorite things to grow and preserve are herbs and peppers. Her dog, Scarecrow, loves to help out in the garden by stalking bunnies and eating as many tomatoes as she can get away with. Follow Amy on Instagram.
As the weather finally starts to feel like fall and the nights and mornings get colder, I feel a sense of urgency to harvest the last of the warm weather herbs and peppers. I don’t want any of them to go to waste, so it’s a rush to preserve as much as possible. One of my favorite ways to do that is infusing them into vinegar.
Vinegar is one of the most healthy and versatile culinary items to have on hand in the kitchen. Several ways you can use vinegar are:
- Creating your own salad dressings
- Mixing up homemade marinades
- Enhancing the flavor of fish
- Tenderizing and flavoring meats
- Making homemade BBQ sauce
- Preserving foods
While vinegar is great, flavored vinegar is amazing! Especially when the flavors have been added by using fresh herbs or produce from the garden.
Infusing vinegar is an easy way to use up extra herbs from your garden while preserving those fresh flavors long after the gardening season has ended and the last tender herbs have succumbed to frost. In the process, you will be creating something truly unique with delicious flavor combinations to enhance your cooking or to give away as handmade gifts.
Download our FREE printable herb hang tags to decorate your vinegar bottles.
Here is what you will need to get started:
- fresh, clean herbs or peppers, garlic, onions, berries, etc.
- a few bottles of vinegar - white wine vinegar, red wine vinegar, rice vinegar, or champagne vinegar work best
- a wide-mouthed glass jar with a plastic lid
- something to strain the finished product with, such as cheesecloth
- a small bottle to pour the infusion into when it’s done
- our FREE printable herb hang tags, jute twine or herb labels
From left to right, vinegar infused with peppers, mint, purple & Italian basil
- Sterilize your jars and bottles and wash your herbs and produce very well. Make sure everything is completely dry so you don’t end up with a lot of water in your infusion.
- Fill up your wide-mouthed jar loosely with the fresh ingredients. No need to pack them down.
- Pour the vinegar over the ingredients leaving enough head space to stir. Be sure to use mild vinegars that won’t overpower the flavor of the herbs. I like white wine vinegar, red wine vinegar, and champagne vinegar best for infusing.
- You can heat the vinegar until just boiling before adding it to the jar to bring out more of the flavor, but I rarely do. I have used hot vinegar and unheated vinegar and found that both work well in bringing out the flavor of the herbs.
- Cover the jar with a plastic lid, and shake it each day to keep it mixed up. In about a week, taste your infusion to see if it’s strong enough for your liking. I usually let my mixture infuse for about 2-3 weeks.
- When you have the flavor that you want, strain the mixture through a strainer. I usually strain it one or two more times through cheesecloth to make sure I get the smallest bits of plant material out of the vinegar.
- Pour into a decorative bottle with a cap or cork. You can also repurpose the bottle that the vinegar came in originally. Add a cute FREE Printable herb hang tag or herb label to identify your infusion.
Download our FREE printable herb hang tags to decorate your vinegar bottles.
Infused vinegar can vary in color depending on your contents. Pepper or garlic chives typically yield a yellowish vinegar. If you add a few leaves of purple basil to Italian basil, the vinegar becomes a lovely pink shade.
- Basil: Different types of basil yield a variety of flavors. I like to use an Italian basil or lemon basil or even a mixture of the two. Add in a few leaves of a purple basil variety to create a pretty pink color. Experiment with the varieties you grow in your garden. White wine vinegars are perfect for basil infusions.
- Peppermint: Mint infused into a champagne vinegar creates a refreshing, mild flavor that works really well in salad dressings. I grow candy peppermint in my garden which imparts a lovely, sweet minty flavor.
- Garlic Chive Blossoms or Purple Chive Blossoms: If you grow either of these plants, you know that they make a ton of flowers. I have used both to infuse white wine vinegar, but anything with a strong garlic flavor is also great in red wine vinegar infusions. Garlic Chives start blooming big time for me in later summer into early fall. They have huge white flowers, and if I don’t use them up, they go to seed and become quite invasive. Garlic chive flowers are very strong. You may not want to let them infuse for longer than a week. Purple chive blossoms, which bloom in the spring, are more mild.
- Hot Peppers: Add a kick to your infusion. Chop your favorite hot pepper into large chunks and use them to add heat and pepper flavor to your vinegar. This makes a delicious, spicy infusion.
- Lemon verbena
- Lemon Balm
- Garlic cloves
Experiment with the herbs you have and see what you like. You can also make combination flavors. Try combining rosemary, sage, and garlic in red wine for a savory flavor enhancer. You can also infuse vinegar with fruits like peaches and berries mixed with complementary herbs like mint or lemon balm.
Label your vinegar infusions with our herb canning labels.
These make great holiday or hostess gifts on their own dressed up with a FREE Printable herb hang tag in a whimsical vinegar bottle, but here are some other ideas for gifting these tasty concoctions.
Include a bottle of vinegar with a wooden salad bowl set or some small decorative salad plates for the salad lover in your family. Add a FREE Printable Recipe Card for a salad dressing that uses the vinegar.
Create a BBQ themed gift with a pepper vinegar, some homemade spice rub and a BBQ sauce recipe that incorporates the vinegar you made.
Make a sampler gift. Create 3 of your favorite flavored vinegars and add to smaller decorative bottles for a sampler set. Include an idea card about how to use each flavor.
Shop for herb & spice jar labels in our shop.
Read our other blog post about how to Grow and Create Your Own Italian Seasoning Blend.
Read our other blog post on How to Flavor Infused Vinegar (includes FREE Printable Hang Tags)
Looking for more info on growing, drying, & cooking with herbs? Follow our NEW Herb Gardening Tips & Recipes Pinterest Board.
Sign up for our newsletter to get free printables, gardening tips, herb gardening tips, recipes, product updates, & a 10% off coupon on your first order of canning labels in our shop.
In quarantine, I only have white vinegar. Is that too strong?
White vinegar is perfectly fine to use.
Your recipe instructs to infuse for 2-3 weeks. How long will the vinegar last afterwards. Would I be able to make this now (September) and store for Christmas gifts? Thank you!
Yes, you can make the vinegar now & store it for Christmas gifts. Vinegar will last indefinitely. Over time, there may be some slight color changes or even sediment on the bottom of the bottle. But the vinegar itself will not go bad.
Have been infusing vinegars for some time and always enjoy your tips and herb blends thank you
Do you have to refrigerate any herbs with vinegar after they are made?
Robin, no refrigeration is needed. You just let the herbs sit in the vinegar up to a few weeks, then strain them out. Keep the strained vinegar stored in a corked bottle or jar.
I have seen all these beautiful decorative bottles with peppers and herbs. Is it possible to leave my herbs in bottles that I’m giving away? They are so pretty with herbs in them.
I would remove the herbs after a few weeks of infusing. I think if you leave them in longterm, they would probably end up falling apart. I don’t know if they would end up making the vinegar cloudy or not though as I have never tried leaving herbs in the vinegar longterm.
I leave my herbs in the jar… for over a year (didn’t know I should have taken them out). No issues yet.
I did a vinegar (regular white), added homemade red wine (pinot noir) and three different basils ( leaf lettuce, sweet and purple). This turned out so good, it is a go to in this house.