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Sep 15, 2014

Vinegars (Herbal)

Author: Karyn Siegel-Maier
Published on: September 1, 1998

This Post I found at herbalmusings 
Last week we looked at the various methods of collecting and drying herbs to be used during the winter months. This week, I'd like to share with you some excellent recipes for preserving fresh herbs (and vegetables for that matter) in the form of canning. People preserve goods in sealed jars in a variety of ways, but there are basically 3 key things to remember for success: 1) Always sterilize jars and rings in boiling water and use tongs after doing so when handling them; 2) Never boil the lids - pour boiling water over them instead; and 3) Always make sure the lids seal properly. If the lids don't seal within 12-24 hours, you'll have to reprocess that batch. Also, don't screw the rings down over the lids for 8-12 hours after filling.
Vinegars have many uses, from the culinary to the cosmetic. Wine bottles (with new corks) are perfect for making herbal vinegars, but almost any clean jar will do. Whole herb stems are placed in the jar and then the jar is filled with vinegar. Whenever possible, include the herbal flowers as well. Also, whenever garlic is called for, use whole cloves. With onions, slice into quarters, or smaller, to fit through the mouth of the jar. Vinegars take from 2-3 weeks, preferably on a sunny shelf, to "infuse" the flavors. Feel free to experiment with different combinations of herbs!
Italian Vinegar: Oregano, Red Wine Vinegar, Garlic cloves, chives, basil, red pepper strips, marjoram. This combination is great for salads, soups, bean dishes and marinating vegetables.
Meat Tenderizer: Sage, bay, whole black
peppercorns, garlic, rosemary, tarragon, white vinegar. This recipe is also good when combined with vegetable broth and cooked with rice as a substitution for water.
Chicken Marinade: Mashed fresh fruit (such as apricot, apple, blueberries, raspberries), 2-3 sage leaves, cider vinegar. Never heard of fruit vinegars? Try 'em, they're different! And if you use berry-based vinegar for your marinade, your friends will wonder how you ever made "pink" grilled chicken.
Got Veggies to Spare?
After the great salsa-making celebration is over at our house, we always preserve the last of our tomatoes with eggplant and zucchini (or other squash). This mixture can be a great sauce starter, or an excellent addition to soups and casseroles. You might have to make this in batches, depending on how many vegetables you have.
Sauté the zucchini in garlic and olive oil until just tender. Add eggplant and cook 3-4 minutes more while stirring. Add tomatoes and simmer 1 minute. Sprinkle with fresh (or dried) oregano and basil. Seal in sterilized canning jars.
Jams & Jellies
Jalapeno Jelly ~ This jelly is wonderful with cream cheese and crackers! Only the flavor is hot. The more mellow-flavored peppers and sugar help to balance the overall affect. You might be asking where the herbs are. Well…there aren't any. But this recipe is too good to leave out! (As a matter of fact, I make it for so many other people, I rarely get more than a jar for myself!)
5 cups mashed peppers (use at least 4 jalapenos and the remaining a combination of green, yellow, orange and red peppers)
½ cup cider vinegar
4 ½ cups sugar
1 package powdered Sure-Jell

Mash the peppers in a food processor or blender just until you have a firm pulp. Place pepper mixture, vinegar and Sure-Jell in a large Dutch oven or saucepan. Heat on high, stirring constantly, until mixture reaches a boil. Add sugar, stir and boil another 2-3 minutes. Pour jelly immediately into clean jars and seal.
Red Onion-Rosemary Jam ~ Spread this on your next bagel or biscuit. This also makes a good marinade for chicken or beef.
7 cups red onions, sliced thin
¾ cup red wine vinegar
1 tbls. olive oil
3 ½ cups sugar
1 package Sure-Jell Light
¼ tsp. dried thyme
¼ tsp. ground white pepper
½ tsp. dried rosemary, crumbled

Sauté onions in olive oil and vinegar for 10-15 minutes, or until tender. Place onions in food processor or blender. Add rosemary, thyme and white pepper. Blend 1 minute.
Place onion mixture in saucepan or Dutch oven. Add Sure-Jell and bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Add sugar and boil 1 minute more. Remove from heat, stir well and pour into sterile jars (about 6 pints) and seal.
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