Homemade always results in a good feeling. Cakes and cookies and stuff, ya, that's nice and all. But some homemade things make you feel extra special, as if you were suddenly granted some superpower and thus automatically becoming the coolest cat on this planet. Know what I mean? I'm talking about homemade yoghurt, cheese (does labneh count?), jam, Nutella, or your favourite grocery store biscuits for instance. Or take a look at the courageous Matt over at Wrightfood, who has made all sorts of charcuterie (chorizo, hello!) Someday, I'll give prosciutto a try... but until then, I've got more homemade tricks up my sleeve. Vinegar for instance. Something that always comes in handy in the kitchen.
As a matter of fact, my grandfather used to always make his own vinegar. Even though it was readily available everywhere, he'd always make it from scratch. With grapes and all, the real deal you know. I never knew why he got into it, but I reckon it must had been one of those simple pleasures that made him happy. My mother then picked up the habit and would do the same from time to time. Now, flash forward to another generation down and that's me in the kitchen with my own vinegar experimentation 21st century style.
And so a few weeks ago, my favourite grocer was selling ripe blackberries at dirt cheap prices. I bought a couple of packages, ate some on the way, some of the others for breakfast the next day, and on the third day I examined what remained and started to connect the dots with some of the other ingredients hanging out in my kitchen. Rosemary. Blackberries. *Aaaaaaahhhhhhhh* A moment of epiphany hit me. I was going to make blackberry & rosemary vinegar. It's easy, you'll see how it's done. The most difficult part however will be the patience required before you can even think of drizzling it on that salad of yours.
First you need a perfectly clean and perfectly dry glass jar or bottle. Fill it up 3/4 with the blackberries.
Then add some branches of rosemary and top off with a mixture of apple cider vinegar sweetened with a pinch of sugar. Fill the jar with just enough to cover the blackberries. Pick up the lid and close tightly.
And here is where you will need patience.
Two weeks at the strict minimum.
During this time period, do not open the jar. However every three days or so, swirl the contents gently just to get things "moving in there". This is important- you must do it to avoid any white fuzzy stuff from developing.
Once this painful, but oh-so-worth-it time period (of at least two weeks, remember!) has passed, you may now open the jar. Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you wonderful homemade vinegar infused with the delightful aromas of blackberry and rosemary.
This vinegar will accompany your salads most gracefully or make for a thoughtful gift.
It will marry so well with some olive oil. Your lettuce leaves, cherry tomatoes and cucumber slices will be chanting with joy, in complete symphony!
Am I starting to sound like an infomercial yet? ;) Enough blabber, you got the picture on how to make your own vinegar. Here are the footnotes:
Homemade Blackberry & Rosemary Infused Vinegar:
Apple cider vinegar
A pinch of sugar
A clean and dry glass container
Place the blackberries in the container to fill 3/4 through. Add some branches of rosemary. Separately mix some vinegar with just a dash of sugar. Top off the container with the vinegar mixture and stop when the vinegar has just reached above the blackberries. Close the container tightly and do not open for at least another two weeks. During that time period however, be sure to swirl the container gently every three days. After this minimum time period has passed, serve directly or strain through a sieve to another glass container. I personally like to keep some blackberries and romemary leaves as a nice visual element.