The Accidental Locavore: Green Giving? Here's an Easy Holiday Gift Idea Using Recycled Bottles: Tarragon Vinegar
Making tarragon vinegar is really easy and makes a great looking gift.
What you’ll need:
- - As many bottles as you have gift recipients for. The year we did it, my husband had been drinking Lorina French Lemonade wine in lovely glass bottles, so we developed quite a collection. It’s also a great excuse to drink a lot of wine.·
- - A bunch of tarragon. I’ve still got it growing (and running amuck) in my garden. Otherwise get a bunch or two from your local greenmarket or grocery. You’ll need one good sprig per bottle, washed.
- - Cider vinegar - we bought a few gallons.
- - A funnel or large pitcher to pour the heated vinegar.
- - Corks or other closures for your bottles.
To begin, make sure the bottles are thoroughly clean. The best way is to run them through a dishwasher on high heat. Otherwise, wash them and put them in a big pot of simmering water for 15 minutes to sterilize them. Heat the cider vinegar in a large pot to a simmer. While the vinegar is heating, put a sprig of tarragon in each bottle. When the vinegar is heated, fill the bottles to the top. Cork, or close the bottles, and let cool. Wrap it beautifully and enjoy.
Ideas for use:
- - Add to mayonnaise (and chicken salad). Click here for my no-fail mayo recipe.
- - Use in salad dressing. I always make my own straight on the greens, but if you’re not sure, put ½ cup of good olive oil in a cup or jar, add ¼ cup tarragon vinegar, 1 heaping teaspoon Dijon mustard, salt and pepper. Whisk vigorously with a fork, or if using a jar, shake until it’s all blended together. The mustard is optional, but it helps to emulsify the oil and vinegar. Also optional is a finely minced shallot and/or a small clove of garlic.
- - It’s great for finishing any chicken dish. You can use it to deglaze a pan after you’ve sautéed a couple of chicken breasts or cutlets, and if you have any, add a tablespoon of heavy cream to finish it - makes a great sauce for a weeknight chicken dinner. If you’d like a more detailed recipe, just e-mail me and I’ll be happy to give it to you.
More ideas: You can use any other herbs you like, and/or garlic. If you use garlic or more fragile herbs, you should refrigerate it.
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You can do the same process with olive oil, but do it in smaller quantities, and refrigerate it. It doesn’t last as long and will go rancid if left out.
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