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Food Factor: How to Make Flavored Vinegar

I’m always interested in ways to add flavor to food without adding fat. I like to experiment with herbs, and I recently discovered flavored vinegar. Did you know you can make your own?

Flavored vinegars are delicious when added to marinades and salad dressings, or they can be used to jazz up pasta or vegetables. You can use flavored vinegar in any recipe that calls for plain vinegar.

One major concern for making flavored vinegar at home is food safety. It’s very important to use sterilized jars, lids, and caps. Our friends at Colorado State University Extension have an awesome publication that takes you step-by-step through the process. It also includes some recipes.

If you’re interested in making flavored vinegar as a gift, you need to get started now because it takes 3–4 weeks for the vinegar to take on the flavors of the herbs, spices, fruits, or vegetables you use. Store in the refrigerator, and it should last six to eight months!

Special note: If you decide to display a pretty bottle of vinegar with herbs and spices in it, consider it a decoration and don’t use it in food preparation. I do NOT recommend making your own flavored oils because of the potential for bacterial growth. These types of oils can be made and used immediately but should be thrown away or frozen within 3 days.

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