Warm infusions

Infusing vinegar using the warm method has less of a range of tastes than cold infusions but the bonus is that as soon as they are cold then you can use them.

I’ve had good successes with woody herbs using this method. As long as the herbs have perfect leaves are thoroughly rinsed and dried there’s no reason why the infusion shouldn’t work. Leave the leaves on the stems for maximum taste and colour.

Herb vinegars don’t usually taste strongly of the herb that you’ve used but they do taste wonderful.

Sage and rosemary are fabulous and both favourites of mine. I won’t make an exhaustive list because then you won’t have anything to experiment with.

The method is simple but can be extremely smelly so open your windows first and don’t lift the lid of the pan while until the vinegar has cooled at least a little because you don’t want vinegar steam hitting you in the face. Really.

An example of making a warm infusion follows.

Take three or four small sprigs of rosemary, washed and dried as above, and put them in a small pan. Pour on distilled malt vinegar so that it’s about a third of the way up the pan. Heat the vinegar until it bubbles then turn the pan off if you have an electric hob or turn the heat down very low if you have a gas hob.

When it stops bubbling then remove it from the heat entirely and wait for it to cool before decanting it into a glass jar or bottle. That’s all there is to it.

I make warm infusions in small quantities with the exception of the one I use when I’m pickling eggs. That’s been a secret recipe of mine for nearly 40 years but I think it’s time I shared it with people. Aren’t I kind?