Recipe for making home-made herbal flavored vinegars for use in cooking, marinades and meat flavorings, and as vegetable and salad dressings.
Decorative, sterilized airtight glass bottles that are approved for food
Corks (preferable to metal lids which can corrode)
Apple cider vinegar or white distilled vinegar (at least 5% acidity)
The following herbs work well:
Thoroughly wash a few sprigs of your chosen herb(s) from the above list and submerse in a solution of one tsp household chlorine bleach and six cups of water to sanitize. Some great herb combinations include basil, chives, garlic, and tarragon or basil, oregano, and thyme. Experiment and have fun.
Thoroughly rinse the herbs under cold running water and pat dry.
Heat vinegar to just below boiling. Add herbs to an empty sterile bottle and pour heated vinegar over them. Leave some space at top. Seal tightly with non-corrodible metal, plastic, or cork top and place in a cool, dark area. After three to four weeks, strain the herbs. Pour vinegar into sterilized bottle, again leaving space at the top. Store infused vinegar in the refrigerator.
Herbal-flavored vinegars make excellent home-made Christmas, birthday, housewarming, hostess, or just for the fun of it gifts. They're also great to have for holiday celebrations like Thanksgiving, as well as just for everyday dining.
Note: It is important to follow strict hygienic procedures to reduce contamination and possibility of bacteria such as E. coli. It is not recommended to make your own herbal oils, such as olive oil, that will be stored unless you follow strict procedures due to the risk of botulism. (Herbal oil that is sold commercially contains an acidic additive that kills bacteria.)
Additional recommended resources:
Making & Using Flavored Vinegars
UGA College of Family and Consumer Sciences Cooperative Extension Service provides more information on properly preparing flavored vinegars as well as recipes and ideas for using herbs, fruit, vegetables, peppers, and spices to prepare homemade vinegars. Also includes information on using other vinegars such as rice and wine vinegars, addressing safety concerns specific to them.