Saturday, May 12, 2007

Guy's Guide to Chive Vinegar

First off I have to say that I've never been big on making vinegars, mustards, soaps, potpourris and that sort of thing. I thought it fay and cloying along the lines of, say, macrame.

But now I am taking a cue from our farmer friends and trying to make use of everything useful in the garden. This time of year, that means buds and blossoms and early herbs such as chives.

Inspired by Christa over on the Calendula & Concrete blog, I determined to do something with all our chive blossoms. I would turn them into a vinegar.

I cruised around the internet and found lots of photos of chive blossoms floating in bottles of vinegar. Bingo! I ran right out into the garden, picked a bunch of chive blossoms and stuffed them into an antique-looking vinegar bottle with a very narrow, decorative neck and a tiny cork that my wife keeps in her bottle collection.

This morning, after stuffing all those chive blossoms down the narrow neck of the vinegar bottle, I proudly displayed my vinegar to my wife, who gave it one of her squinty-eyed, skeptical looks and said, "I wouldn't have done it that way."
I was immediately flooded with remorse and embarrassment because I knew where this conversation was going.

"Did you look at the recipe?" my wife asked.

"Uh, I saw a bunch of pictures," I replied sheepishly.

"So you just went ahead and did it, without even thinking about it?" said my wife, her voice rising.


"I usually sit down and think these things through," she continued. "For instance, I never would have stuck all those blossoms in the bottle. How are you going to pour the vinegar without getting that stuff all over everything?"


"I would have put the finished vinegar in there and then had maybe one stem with a blossom on it for decoration..."


Of course she was right about everything. It wasn't until after I had stuffed the blossoms into the bottle that I actually found a recipe for making chive vinegar and it calls for bringing the vinegar almost to a boil, then pouring it over a ton of chopped chives and steeping the mixture for a week or two before bottling it.

I drained the vinegar out of the bottle. Now I was looking at a heap of soggy chive blossoms at the bottom of an otherwise empty bottle and no conceivable way of getting that plant residue out of there.

A vacuum cleaner, maybe?

So now I followed the directions, bringing two cups of white wine vinegar almost to a boil, then pouring it over two cups of chopped chives (plus some blossoms) at the bottom of a large canning jar. That's what you see in the picture above.

Those of you who can't wait two weeks to see what the vinegar looks like, and don't care to know how I get the chive blossom mess out of my vinegar bottle, can just Google "chive blossom vinegar" and see some lovely pictures of chive blossoms floating in bottles of vinegar.

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