The use of vinegar dates back several thousand years when the date palm was first used to create wine and furthermore, vinegar. Documentation regarding the use of apple cider vinegar comes around 400 BC when Hippocrates the Father of Medicine, served up honey-sweetened vinegar infusions. Today, apple cider vinegar has become a pantry staple and an ingredient used to capture both flavor and medicine from a wide range of plants found on the Maine landscape.
With a low ph and not too overpowering flavor, acv is a wonderful culinary condiment. Each fall, my family presses apples we harvest on our property and ferment it into vinegar. The process takes many months as it goes from sweet cider to hard cider, and ultimately vinegar. If I am not making my own, I look to Sewell Orchard, to provide me with enough vinegar to get through the year.
As the growing season begins, I begin to harvest spring greens to infuse into my stash of vinegar. In the spring, spruce tips, stinging nettle, horsetail, and dandelion make their way into bottles for a rejuvenating infusion. In the summer, berries, culinary herbs like thyme, rosemary, and oregano infuse to make a delicious base for salad dressings. As the season progresses, I infuse my garlic harvest and chili peppers to turn into hot sauce later on in the year. This revolving cycle of infusions not only build flavor in my culinary creations but also capture the essence of each season that comes and goes. So come winter, I can enjoy my vinegar infusions and think back to the time when these concoctions were made.
How to Make a Vinegar Infusion
What you will need:
- 1 quart or larger glass jars
- Unpasteurized Apple Cider Vinegar (with the "Mother")
- Fresh fruit, herbs, roots, barks, etc.
- Fine mesh Strainer
- Stainless steel funnel
- Small glass bottles
- Fill jars halfway with whatever ingredient you wish to infuse. If using roots or denser ingredients, be sure to grind or chop into smaller pieces. The more surface area, the better the infusion.
- Add double the amount of apple cider vinegar.
- Apply the lid, label and date the jar.
- Allow the mixture to infuse for a minimum of two weeks, longer if you wish. Be mindful to agitate the jar every few days.
- Once complete with the infusion, strain the vinegar into jars, label again and enjoy!