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Friday, July 17, 2009

It may not be lemonade but it is still good

I have a horrible tendency to save stuff because it is special until it is no longer special - it is ruint (yes, that is a word here in the south). If I have plenty, then I am not that concerned - like with jam I usually get several jars, so I go ahead and eat them.

But if I don't have very many - I really want to save it.

Just before Christmas 2007, we stopped at this little winery about a 1 1/2 hour drive from here and picked up a bottle of raspberry wine (I really didn't like dry wines at all then and mostly went for dessert wines.) And we brought it home and I saved it. And saved it. And saved it. We really don't drink very much wine, just the occasional glass with dinner. and I kind-of forgot about it.

I finally opened it 2 weeks ago and it was nearly vinegar. So I poured the whole bottle into a plastic juice pitcher, added some Braggs apple cider vinegar and covered the pitcher with a paper towel I taped on. You have to use an apple cider vinegar with the "mother" in it if you want to speed the fermentation into vinegar. (You can skip adding the mother but it takes longer and I am prone to forget if it takes too long).

So after letting it sit for two weeks, I gave it a taste today. OH MY! The fruit flavor came through so clearly, it was delicious.

And if you think there is no way vinegar can be delicious, you have never tried homemade vinegar. It is like comparing water to juice. In most store bought vinegars you taste sour and then maybe a slight difference between the types. The homemade ones have so many other flavors going on that the sour is there but it is with the fruits and other . . . .

I can't even describe it.

If you drink wine, consider making some homemade vinegar - it is well worth the tiny bit of effort.

If you don't drink wine, you can still make homemade vinegar without getting a bottle of wine. You can look for recipes online but it is basically getting some kind of fruit, crush it, strain it and let it ferment until it becomes vinegar.

What can you do with the vinegar?

  • Well there is the vinegrette salad dressing - just your vinegar and some oil to taste.
  • You can also use it in marinades.
  • One of my favorite ways is to cook a chicken breast in vinegar, using the vinegar about like I would an olive oil - just enough liquid to keep it from sticking. Depending on the tartness, I may also add water and honey because the kids "hate vinegar" (Although Daisy mentioned the homemade was really good.)

If you have any additional ideas for using homemade vinegar, please let me know.

Edited to add (a few months later):

I cooked the simplist chicken Thursday night for supper. Boneless chicken breast cooked in apple cider vinegar (although you can use a different vinegar, just not white distilled) and some water. Then when the meat was close to done, I added some honey to sweeten the sauce/glaze.

Junior thought it was the best, until he asked what was in it. Then he said he hates vinegar. Honestly if I avoided the stuff he hates, we would eat PB&J and cereal. The trick is not letting him know one of his forbidden foods it there.

I didn't measure but it was 4 chicken breasts, around 1/3 - 1/2 cup of vinegar, 1/4- 1/3 cup water and then 2-3 tablespoons of honey. Cook over medium until the meat is done and then the glaze/sauce reduces.

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