Welcome to Frugal Friday. We’ll look into inexpensive, thrifty ways to get the most bang for your buck from your food. Either making high end, expensive condiments from scratch for pennies on the dollar, or utilizing parts of our food that would usually go to the compost or get thrown out, we’re going to look at easy ways to stretch a food lovers budget without sacrificing on flavor, and in some instances, improve upon it.
Some quick Jammed In news before we get to the recipe….
New flavors are available, and some old flavors have fallen off the map until autumn comes around again. I am discontinuing the 4oz size jams, and will be only offering the 8oz once the 4oz I have stocked are gone.
I will be vending at the Holbrook Chamber of Commerce Carnival on August 17th and 18th. It is located at Seneca Middle School in Holbrook. There will be rides, games, live music, craft vendors and some great food, not to mention fireworks! Come on down and have some fun with us
Chive blossom vinegar. How is it that I have not made it before this year? I’ve been growing chives in my yard as long as I’ve lived here…. they were a plant left behind by my mother when she lived here. So I really have no excuse. Every late spring, when the chives would flower their cute little purple pom poms, I would enjoy them for a couple weeks as they were, or I would bring some inside as cut flowers. And when we ate them, it was usually just sprinkled over a green salad, or if I was feeling fancy, mixed in to chicken salad.
I had been missing out.
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 that’s only if it doesn’t 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 I’ve 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 merit……
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. I’ve found that it is great for making salad dressing especially, but you don’t 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 doesn’t 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. Mmmmmm……
You know what else? If you grow the chives, it’s *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 don’t have to. Just don’t use the cheapest stuff, that turpentine that’s really only good for cleaning with (you know what I’m talking about). The chive flavor is pretty punchy, so you don’t 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 doesn’t 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 make as much or as little as you want, and it keeps well in the cabinet for over a year.
Chive Blossom Vinegar
Makes however much you want.
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 won’t *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.
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. Don’t 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. I’d 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.
You can use them method on just about any garden herb really. Basil, oregano, dill, whatever makes you happy. And the vinegar will keep for ages. Its a great, simple, way to put up the flavors of these herbs and they make excellent gifts.
Shared at Little House in the Suburbs