Two or three years ago I tried looking for a decent vinegar to use for a chicken stock I was making and I was sorely disappointed in what shops had to offer. Even the biggest supermarkets have a small selection of flavours – malt, distilled malt, cider apple, white wine, red wine and occasionally raspberry. I’ve probably missed one, or maybe two, out but hey ho.
I decided that I’d experiment with flavours and see what I could come up with. I got a gallon of distilled malt vinegar from a greengrocer friend and after sterilising a lot of jars I got to work.
My first flavours were simple ones – orange, pineapple, lime and scotch bonnet, shallots etc. The fruit and chilli based ones I put in the airing cupboard and left them there for six months. The shallot and other onion based ones I left for three to four weeks. When I began to decant them I knew I was onto something.
For each vinegar I made I had pickled something that could be used in cooking. I made sure I’d sliced the citrus fruits very thin and once they were out of the vinegar I dried them in the oven until they were blackened. This sounds revolting but the blackened fruits crumbled over a decent plain yoghurt or skyr taste incredible. The taste is turbo charged.
And so I keep on making vinegars. Some are cold infused and some are warm infused and I’ll describe those processes with a list of ingredients that you can use for each of them.