Chive Blossom Vinegar
Chive blossom vinegar is very easy to make. And since chives are such an easy perennial herb to grow, anyone, even those of you with the blackest of thumbs, should be able to handle them. Chives need partial sun at least, though they do best in full sun, handle drought well (i.e. once established, I water mine maaaaybe once a month, and thatís only if it doesnít rain around here for two or three weeks), and will come back every year. You can even grow them in pots with a well draining soil mix! I divide mine every couple of years to keep the bunch happy and healthy, though Iíve run out of friends and family who want chive plants, so now I guess its time to start ding-dong-ditching them with the neighbors, huh? Or guerilla gardening. Hmmm, that has meritÖÖ
Anyway, chive blossom vinegar is easy and *delicious*. It has a moderate flavor of oniony chives, and a beautiful purple colour that looks really impressive if you choose to gift it. Iíve found that it is great for making salad dressing especially, but you donít have to stop there. Use it in homemade mustard, fresh ketchup, in coleslaw or potato salad, quick refrigerator pickles, or anywhere you are using vinegar with a light application of heat. I have found that the chive flavor doesnít hold up as well with long cooking times, so in dishes that do have long cooking times, try adding the vinegar toward the end of the process to preserve the flavor.
My favorite way to use it? Whisked with a little sugar, black pepper, and salt and used to dress a salad of cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, thin sliced radishes and red onions.
You know what else? If you grow the chives, itís *cheap*. They charge an arm and a leg for fancy, gourmet vinegars at the stores. You could use really expensive vinegar to make this, but really, you donít have to. Just donít use the cheapest stuff, that turpentine thatís really only good for cleaning with (you know what Iím talking about). The chive flavor is pretty punchy, so you donít need an expensive, delicately flavored vinegar for this. I used a fairly inexpensive bottle of white wine vinegar for mine. You could use what you like, so long as it doesnít taste like liquid gross. And a little goes a long way in recipes. Splash it in and marvel at the amazing flavor.
The recipe below is a scaled recipe, and really more of a process than a true recipe. You can use them method on just about any garden herb really. Basil, oregano, dill, whatever makes you happy. You can make as much or as little as you want, and it keeps well in the cabinet for over a year. Its a great, simple, way to put up the flavors of these herbs and they make excellent gifts.
-Vinegar (White wine, cider, rice wine, etc)
1. Harvest your chive blossoms right before you are going to use them. Wash them lightly but thoroughly and really look at them- sometimes ants like to hang out in the chive blossoms at my house, and while they wonít *really* adversely effect the vinegar, I prefer to avoid them. Dry them well using a salad spinner if you have one, or pat gently with a tea towel.
Big Flavors from a Tiny Kitchen
2. Get a glass container of whatever size you desire. Could be a pint, could be a quart. I made a half gallon myself. You will want the container to be small enough that the chive blossoms you have will fill it half way when gently packed in. Donít crush the heck out of them, but its okay if they are a little scrunched.
3. Pour your vinegar of choice over the blossoms. I like to use white wine vinegar for these, but really any kind you like best will do. Iíd avoid plain white vinegar because of its harsh flavor, and red wine vinegar which will mask the lovely purple, but that is completely up to you. Use a chopstick or spoon to stir, making sure that most of the air bubbles are out of your packed (now likely floating) chive blossoms. Cover tightly.
4. Put the jar in a dark place. Whenever you think about it, take it out and shake it a little. Your vinegar will be done when the liquid is purple and the chive blossoms are pale and sad looking- about 2 weeks.
5. When done steeping, strain out the chive blossoms. A second filtering, through a coffee filter or doubled cheesecloth may be done to get the smallest debris out of the vinegar. Filter the vinegar in to a clean glass bottle and cap it. Store it in the cabinet, no need to refrigerate.
Chive Blossom Vinegar Recipe