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Canku Ota

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(Many Paths)

An Online Newsletter Celebrating Native America


May 31, 2003 - Issue 88


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Culinary Herbs - Vinegars

Making herb vinegars is easy and rewarding. The colors are lovely, the taste is delicious and the process is satisfying.

Some general guidelines:
Cut herbs in the morning, if possible, after the dew has dried but before it gets hot. The essential oils will release from the herbs at about 85 degrees F.

Never put your vinegar in a container whose previous contents are unknown to you. It is not a good idea to buy bottles for vinegar at flea markets or yard sales.

Check the vinegar you are going to use for acidity. Any vinegar with 5% acidity can be used to make herb vinegar.

Basic directions:

  • Sterilize pint or quart jars.
  • Gather fresh herbs. Wash and pat dry herbs.
  • Put herbs in sterilized jar. Remember, you can always dilute the vinegar if the herb flavor is too strong; you cannot easily strengthen the herb flavor if it is too weak.
  • Add vinegar to cover the herbs. Do not heat the vinegar; use it at room temperature.
  • Put a non-metallic lid on jar and store in cool, dark place for 2-4 weeks.
  • Check it after 2 weeks for flavor and aroma.
  • When the vinegar has reached the desired flavor, strain it to remove the old herbs.
  • Place one or two fresh herb stems in a sterile bottle. Pour in strained herb vinegar and seal. The new herbs are primarily for decoration.
  • Label vinegar. Enjoy.
  • Use herb vinegar in salad dressings, marinades, or to deglaze pans.

Selecting a vinegar:
The most commonly used vinegars are red or white wine vinegars and cidar vinegars. Rice wine vinegar, sherry vinegar and other specialty vinegars may also be used. Distilled white vinegar is easy to obtain and will make a nice herb vinegar, but it will have a sharper flavor than the wine vinegars.

  • Select a white vinegar if the herb will color the vinegar.
  • Use a red vinegar if the herb has a strong flavor.

Now that you've got the idea, here are some tasty recipes for you to try.


Basic Herb Vinegar



  • 2 c Tightly packed fresh herb leaves or sprigs (tarragon, thyme, dill,
    Basil, or mint)
  • 2 c White vinegar
  • Fresh herb sprig (optional)


Pack herbs into a hot, clean, 1-qt jar. In a stainless steel or enamel saucepan, heat vinegar until hot, but not boiling. Pour hot vinegar over herbs in jar, cover loosely with a glass, plastic, or cork lid. (Vinegar will corrode the metal.) Let cool completely, then cover tightly. Let vinegar stand in a cool, dark place for 1 week. After one week, remove herbs from jar. Transfer vinegar to a clean 1 1/2 pint bottle. If desired, add a sprig of fresh herbs to the bottle for easier identification. Cover tightly, label and place in a cool dark place up to 6 months.

Rose Petal Vinegar


  • 1 c rose petals
  • 3 whole cloves
  • 2 c white wine vinegar


Trim away white part of rose petals. Wash and drain thoroughly. Slightly bruise petals and place with cloves in a wide mouth canning jar. Place vinegar in a medium saucepan bring to a boil. Pour vinegar over petals, cover at once with metal lids, and screw bands tight. Let stand at room temp for 1 week. Strain vinegar into decorative jars, discarding rose petals. Seal jars with a cork or other airtight lid. Makes 2 cups.

Herb French Dressing



  • 1 tsp. dried summer savory
  • 1 tsp. dried crushed rosemary
  • 1 tsp. dried basil
  • 1 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 cup basil vinegar
  • 2 tsp. dry mustard

Crush the herbs in a mortar with a pestle, then shake all ingredients together. Serve with a salad of lettuce, fresh mushrooms and alfalfa sprouts.

Béarnaise Sauce


  • 1/4 cup tarragon vinegar
  • 1/4 cup onion, freshly chopped
  • 1 tbl. fresh tarragon, minced
  • 1 tsp. fresh tarragon, minced
  • 1 tsp. fresh parsley, minced
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 8 tbl. unsalted butter


In a small saucepan, combine the vinegar, onion and herbs. Simmer over very low heat until only 1 tbl. is left. Strain into a double boiler and add egg yolks, mixing thoroughly. Add the butter, 2 tbl. at a time beating each time until the butter is melted and mixed with the eggs. The sauce will thicken as it cools. A delicious sauce for steak or chicken.

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  Canku Ota is a free Newsletter celebrating Native America, its traditions and accomplishments . We do not provide subscriber or visitor names to anyone. Some articles presented in Canku Ota may contain copyright material. We have received appropriate permissions for republishing any articles. Material appearing here is distributed without profit or monetary gain to those who have expressed an interest. This is in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107.  

Canku Ota is a copyright © 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003 of Vicki Lockard and Paul Barry.


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