Gifts from the Kitchen – Infused Vinegar

Decorative bottles of infused vinegar make excellent gifts from the kitchen and are a great way to use fresh garden herbs.

infused vinegar in bottles
So many different options to try.

Chive infused white wine vinegar has become one of my new favourites. Perfect way to use all those gorgeous chive blossoms in late spring.

chive vinegar in bottle next to chives
In the spring time, use chive flowers for a gorgeous purple coloured vinegar with amazing flavour.

Choose Your Favourite Combinations

You can infuse vinegar with just about any combination of herbs, fruits, veggies and spices that you can think of.  Consider combinations like basil & oregano, garlic and rosemary, lemon and dill, apple and cinnamon (sticks not powder), lemon and blueberry, raspberry and mint, and so on.  Just follow the basic process, ratios and hints provided in this post.  Below are five specific recipes for Chive Blossom, Cranberry Orange, Hot Pepper, Lemon & Tarragon and Garlic & Herb Infused Vinegar.

infused vinegar

General Process for Infused Vinegar

1. Wash and clean jars well with hot soapy water and rinse. For extra precaution sterilize jars.
2. Wash and dry herbs and fruits. Remove as much water as possible.
3. Place herbs, spices or fruits in jar.
4. Heat vinegar to just below boiling, the heated vinegar will draw out the flavour in herbs and spices.
5. Pour vinegar on top of herbs.
6. Seal jar and store in cool, dark place for 1-4 weeks, shaking occasionally. *
7. Taste vinegar throughout the process. Try once a week starting on the 7th day.  Pour a bit of vinegar on a piece of bread – how does it taste? **
8. When you’ve reached the desired flavour, strain out herbs using strainer, coffee filter or cheese cloth.
9. Pour vinegar into clean bottles.
10. If you wish, add fresh pieces of washed and dried herbs or fruit for decorative purposes.  Seal well.
11. Label and decorate providing suggestions for use.

NOTES
* Length of time varies with the intensity of the ingredients – garlic, chives and other intensely flavored ingredients will take less time than fruit or mild herbs.

** If the flavor is too potent, dilute with a little more of the base vinegar and strain.

** If the flavor is not strong enough, infuse a little longer.

infused vinegar

General Ratios for Infused Vinegar

Mixing your infusions is an art, not an exact science.  Experiment, be creative and have fun.  Here are some general ratios to get you started:

  • 1 cup or 3 to 4 sprigs of fresh herbs to 2 cups vinegar
  • 1/2 cup of dried herbs to 2 cups vinegar
  • peel strips of one lemon, lime or orange to 2 cups vinegar
  • 1 cup of fruit to 2 cups of vinegar
  • 2-4 tablespoons of spices/seeds to 2 cups vinegar
  • use garlic, shallots, hot peppers etc. according to personal preference
cranberry orange vinegar ready to bottle
Cranberry orange vinegar ready to bottle.

Tips for Homemade Infused Vinegar

  • Choose your base vinegar according to your taste preference. I use grocery store quality white wine, rice wine and red wine vinegar with great results.
  • Match the intensity of the herbs, spices or fruits you’re going to infuse with the intensity and colour of the vinegar.
    • White Distilled vinegar (basic kitchen vinegar) has a sharp, acidic taste  that goes best with strong flavoured herbs.
    • Apple Cider vinegar has a milder taste than white vinegar.  If its amber colour is not an issue, it works well with fruits and most herbs.
    • Rice vinegar is clear with a mild, almost sweet taste ideal for fruit or mild herbs and spices.
    • White wine or Champagne vinegar is mild and great for fruits and mild herbs.
    • Red wine vinegar has a robust flavour and dark red colour great for strong herbs and spices, but not great for displaying whatever is inside.
  • Cleanliness and food safety do matter.  The acidity in vinegar makes homemade infused vinegar a safe preserve to give as gifts – provided basic cleanliness and food handling steps are followed.  If there is any sign of bubbling, mold, slime, cloudiness or discoloring – the vinegar should not be used.  To be safe follow the guidelines from the National Centre of Food Preservation.
  • Use only glass containers that can be sealed well. Seal with a plastic or rubber coated lid – metal lids will corrode. Or, place a piece of parchment paper between the glass and the lid to prevent direct contact with metal.
  • Keep your infusions in a dark, cool space.
  • Storing in a refrigerator will hold color and flavor a little better, but it is not necessary. You can store your finished infused vinegar in a cupboard.
  • Use infused vinegar within 4-6 months.
  • Do not make homemade infused oil to go with your homemade infused vinegar. Oil infusions can support the growth of C. botulinum bacteria which can lead to potentially fatal, botulism.  At home, infused oils should only be made fresh for immediate use.  They can be refrigerated safely for up to three days.
  • Do not use aluminum pots or utensils to prepare vinegar as they might create off flavours.
  • Do not use ground or powdered herbs or spices as they will make vinegar cloudy, eg. use cinnamon sticks but not cinnamon powder.

How to Use Infused Vinegar

You may be wondering what exactly you’re suppose to do with infused vinegars once you have them.  Try them in:

  • homemade vinaigrette or salad dressings
  • marinades
  • sauces and condiments (sweet & sour sauce, bbq sauce, mustard, etc.)
  • oil and vinegar dips for bread
  • Shrubs or other trendy vinegar beverages
    salad with chive vinegar
    Fresh garden salad with chive vinaigrette.

Five Unique Infused Vinegar Recipes

making chive vinegar
Print Recipe
5 from 4 votes

Chive Blossom Infused Vinegar

One of my favourite infused vinegars for both the lovely colour and great flavor. A subtle onion flavor. I like using this vinegar to make an Italian style vinaigrette. A great way to use up all those chive blossoms in the spring.
Prep : 15 mins
Total Time: 15 mins
Servings: 1 cup

Ingredients

  • 1 cup chive blossom heads
  • 1 cup white wine vinegar

Instructions

  • Wash chive blossoms in several rinses of cold water to remove any debris or tiny insects. Strain and pat dry to remove as much water as possible.
    drying chives flowers
  • Stuff jar full of blossoms.
    chive flowers stuffed in jar
  • Heat vinegar in pot until just before boiling (boiling will ruin blossoms). Pour over chive blossoms. Stir blossoms to remove any trappped air and top with more vinegar.
    pour on heated vinegar
  • Once cool, cap tightly, shake and leave in a cool, dark place for 1 week.
  • Sample vinegar for flavour. For more intense flavour, allow it to infuse for another 3-5 days. If satisfied, prepare to strain.
  • Strain out the blossoms and compost spent flowers. Pour the finished, flavoured vinegar into a clean, decorative bottle or jar with a plastic lid. Metalic lids will corrode from the vinegar.
    straining out chive blossoms
  • Label and decorate as desired.
    making chive vinegar

Notes

Double or triple recipe if desired.
Italian Vinaigrette with Chive Vinegar
3 Tbsp canola oil
1 Tbsp chive vinegar
1 tsp Italian seasoning
1/2 tsp salt & dash pepper to taste
Combine in jar, shake well. Taste & adjust seasoning. Enjoy.
Tried this recipe?Mention @GetGettyS or tag #GetGettyS
Course: Side Dish
Keyword: herbs, infused vinegar
Print Recipe
5 from 3 votes

Cranberry Orange Infused Vinegar

Such a pretty and tasty vinegar. It's a great addition to any salad featuring fruit. I'm enjoying this vinegar so much, I'm trying other fruit combinations like lemon and saskatoon infused vinegar. Same technique just different fruit.
Prep : 15 mins
Total Time: 15 mins

Ingredients

  • 1 cup fresh or frozen cranberries slightly thawed
  • Zest of 1 orange
  • 2 cinnamon sticks (optional)
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 2 cups rice wine vinegar

Instructions

  • Wash jar well. For extra caution boil for 10 minutes or use sterilizer solution from a wine/brew store.
  • Lightly bruise or crush cranberries to release flavour.
  • Place in jar.
  • Thoroughly wash, scrub, rinse and dry orange. Use a citrus zester or vegetable peeler to peel the orange into long thin strips, avoiding as much pith (white part) as possible.
  • Add orange peel, cinnamon sticks and honey into jar.
  • Heat vinegar to just below boiling. Pour vinegar on top of fruit and spices and let cool.
  • Cap tightly, shake and leave in a cool, dark place for 2 weeks.
  • Sample vinegar for flavour. Allow to infuse longer or strain.
  • Strain out the cranberries, orange peel and cinnamon sticks and pour flavoured vinegar into fancy, sterilized bottle.
  • Optional - Add cranberries into the fancy bottle for decoration.
  • Label and decorate.

Notes

You could make this recipe directly in a fancy jar. Vinegar may get slightly opaque or cloudy over time if not strained.
Yield 2 cups or 500 ml
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orange and wheat salad
Try the orange cranberry dressing on this Orange Whole Grain Salad.
Print Recipe
5 from 3 votes

Hot Chili Pepper Vinegar

Wowsers, this vinegar is HOT! I just kept adding more peppers cause they look so awesome. My gang that loves heat is going to love this stuff. You can use it as an addition to condiments, in marinades or for a spicy oil and vinegar dip.
Prep : 15 mins
Total Time: 15 mins

Ingredients

  • 3-7 chili or cayenne peppers depending on how hot you like it!
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 2 cups white vinegar or rice vinegar

Instructions

  • Wash jar well. For extra caution boil for 10 minutes or use sterilizer solution from a wine/brew store.
  • Thoroughly wash peppers and pat dry. Peel garlic cloves, cut in half.
  • Wearing rubber gloves and using a sharp paring knife, slice one side of each pepper open, just to release flavours. Seeds can remain inside the peppers. Add to jar with garlic.
  • Gently heat vinegar to just below boiling. Add to jar and let cool.
  • Cap tightly and leave in a cool, dark place for 2 weeks.
  • Sample vinegar for flavour. Allow to infuse longer or strain.
  • Pour flavoured vinegar into a fancy, well cleaned or sterilized bottles.
  • Optional - Add one or two peppers into the fancy bottle for decoration (they will continue to add heat to the vinegar).
  • Label and decorate.

Notes

You can make this directly in a fancy bottle, just remember it will continue to get hotter the longer it sits and the more peppers you use.
Yield 2 cups
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Print Recipe
5 from 3 votes

Lemon & Tarragon Infused Vinegar

Light and lovely. This vinegar has the perfect flavour for any salad dressings or recipes calling for white wine vinegar.
Prep : 15 mins
Total Time: 15 mins

Ingredients

  • 3 sprigs fresh tarragon
  • 1 zest of 1 lemon
  • 2 cups white wine vinegar

Instructions

  • Wash jar well. For extra caution boil for 10 minutes or use sterilizer solution from a wine/brew store.
  • Thoroughly wash and dry tarragon sprigs.
  • Place in jar.
  • Thoroughly wash, scrub, rinse and dry lemon.Use a citrus zester or vegetable peeler to peel the lemon into long thin strips, avoiding as much pith (white part) as possible.
  • Add lemon peel into jar.
  • Heat vinegar to just below boiling. Pour vinegar into jar and let cool.
  • Cap tightly, shake and leave in a cool, dark place for 2 weeks.
  • Sample vinegar for flavour. Allow to infuse longer or strain.
  • Strain out the tarragon and lemon peel and pour flavoured vinegar into fancy, sterilized bottle.
  • Label and decorate.

Notes

I made this vinegar directly in the decorative bottle. The flavour will intensify over time, but because tarragon and lemon aren't harsh flavours, I know I'll still enjoy it. And it just looks so darn pretty!
Yield 2 cups or 500 ml
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Print Recipe
5 from 3 votes

Garlic & Herb Infused Vinegar

The herbs add great flavour to the beautiful jewel colour of the red wine vinegar. Makes a great salad dressing, marinade, oil and vinegar dip or top dressing.
Prep : 13 mins
Total Time: 13 mins

Ingredients

  • 4 sprigs fresh parsley
  • 2 sprigs fresh rosemary
  • 1 tsp thyme leaves
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 2 cups red wine vinegar

Instructions

  • Wash jar well. For extra caution boil for 10 minutes or use sterilizer solution from a wine/brew store.
  • Thoroughly wash and dry fresh herbs.
  • Place herbs and garlic in jar.
  • Heat vinegar until just below boiling. Pour vinegar into the jar. Stir and cool.
  • Cap tightly and leave in a cool, dark place for 2 weeks.
  • Sample vinegar for flavour. Allow to infuse longer or strain.
  • Strain out the herbs and garlic and pour flavoured vinegar into a fancy bottle.
  • Label and decorate.

Notes

Since it's fairly dark, there's no need to add any herbs once it's been poured into a decorative bottle.
Yield 2 cups or 500 ml
Tried this recipe?Mention @GetGettyS or tag #GetGettyS

infused vinegar

 

Interested in other  Gifts from the Kitchen?  Check these out:

Candied and Spiced Nuts

Nuts and Bolts Recipe

Popcorn Seasoning Recipes

Sign up to get articles by Getty delivered to your inbox. You’ll get recipes, practical tips and great food information like this. Getty is a Professional Home Economist,  speaker and writer putting good food on tables and agendas.  She is the author of Manitoba’s best-selling Prairie Fruit Cookbook, Founder of Fruit Share, a mom and veggie gardener.

Post updated June 2020 from initial post in 2013.

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4 Comments

  1. 4 stars
    Hi Getty! I have been trying to make your Chive Blossom Infused Vinegar and I think that your recipe says that it should yield 1 cup or 500ml. I tried one batch with 1 cup of white vinegar (accidentally) with 1 cup of blossoms. The next batch, I noticed that you meant white wine vinegar which I tried but then realized that you probably mean to have ingredients listed as 2 cups of white wine vinegar to make the yield suggested which is probably 2 cups or 500 ml. I believe that 1 cup = 250 ml. I know that it is not an exact science but I would be happy to know what size of jar to start with as well.

    The infused product is a delightful pretty pink colour!!

    1. Hi Rosemarie!
      Thank you for your comment. You’re right, 1 cup is 250 ml, thank you for pointing out my error, I have fixed it in the recipe now.

      For the most flavorful results, use the same ratio of chive flowers as white wine vinegar ie. 1 cup of flower, 1 cup of white wine vinegar.

      Of course the recipe can be doubled if you have an abundance of chive flowers. If you don’t have a lot of chive flowers, you can use less and let them steep longer to get more flavor. You’ll still get that pretty colour.

      All the best,
      Getty

      1. Thanks for clarifying Getty! I try a lot of your recipes with great results. I am patiently waiting to try the chive blossom vinegar!😋

        1. I bet you’ll love the chive blossom vinegar!
          Thanks again for the heads up, I appreciate it!

          All the best,
          Getty

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