Vinegar ~ Herb Combinations

Herb Vinaigrette

Make Your Own At Home

Herb vinegar’s are made perfectly with red or white wine vinegar. The preferred is actual wine vinegar, not wine flavored. Both can be obtained in quantity from a wholesale grocer or restaurant supply store. Due to its mellow flavor, wine vinegar allows the full herbal bouquet to be tasted, resulting in a gourmet quality. Any vinegar can be used as long as it has at least 5% acidity, although white and cider vinegar’s have stronger flavors themselves, masking the herbal flavor.

As a general rule, white vinegar is used when color is important, such as with chive blossoms or opal basil, and red vinegar is used for strong flavors such as basil, oregano, or garlic.

Usually the most popular are vinegar’s with just one flavor, although I have found the Bouquet Garni (below—using red or white wine vinegar) to be the favorite and most versatile. The more experienced herb growers and tasters will be willing to experiment with their own unique blends. The following guide can help determine which combinations would best satisfy your own tastes and needs.

White Wine Vinegars: Marjoram, opal basil (for a light rose result), burnet (a delicate cucumber flavor), chive blossom (a lovely pink), tarragon, thyme, nasturtium (a subtle peppery flavor), rosemary, lavender, rose petal (use pink rose petals from untreated rose bushes), pinks, violet (will turn a pale lavender color), or rose geranium (tint with 4 drops red food coloring). These last six were especially popular in the Victorian era and are useful to flavor beverages and fruit salads, as well as to use externally to soothe headaches, fevers, sunburn and insect bites!

Red Wine Vinegar: Dill, sweet basil, garlic (mash 6-10 cloves and taste for strength after 24 hours), sage, fennel (if using seeds, allow 2 heaping tablespoons per quart), lovage, spearmint or peppermint, bay, thyme chive (foliage only, not blossoms) caraway (2 heaping Tablespoons when using seed), or savory.

Herb Blends for Vinegar:
For Pork: sage-caraway
For Lamb: mint-rosemary
For Beef: basil-savory
For Poultry: sage-lovage
For Fish: fennel-bay

Here are two favorite blends to try, following the herb vinegar directions and using red or white wine vinegar for either, and fresh herbs (per quart):

Bouquet Garni Vinegar:
1 cup parsley, ½ cup each of thyme, bay and rosemary

Mixed Herb Vinegar:
¾ cup each chopped basil and marjoram; ½ cup each chopped rosemary thyme and savory.

Herb Vinegar Containers: A variety of containers can be recycled for home use by saving bottles from salad dressings, wine, or bottled beverages. Attractive containers for gift samples are small glass juice bottles. Fancy, decorative bottles can be found in dinnerware and gourmet shops. For larger bottle quantities contact a local bottle manufacturer or distributor. An 8 oz bottle size seems to be preferred for herb vinegars.

Decorative Wax and Ribbon Seal: This adornment gives the delicious herb vinegars the ribbon and seal they deserve! You will need: 1 cup of paraffin (available from the grocery canning section), ¼ cup powdered cinnamon (or cloves, nutmeg, allspice, or any combination) and 4-8” of grosgrain ribbon, preferably striped (length depends on size of bottle used). Procedure: In a metal can (15 ½ oz. size is best) placed in 1“ of water in a saucepan, melt paraffin and mix in powdered spices. Melt slowly on low heat and watch carefully to avoid fire. Paraffin will ignite on direct heat.

When paraffin is liquid, remove from heat and stir. Dip the capped end of the herb vinegar bottle in the wax a few times, allowing the wax to dry a few seconds between each dip. Put the mid-point of the ribbon over the cap and push down to secure both ribbon edges to the warm and pliable wax. Holding the ribbon ends out of the wax, dip the top end of the bottle repeatedly in the hot wax until the ribbon does not show through the seal. Dry about 30 seconds between dips or the coating will not build up. If the wax is too clear, add more spices and stir. When the wax in the can starts to congeal, reheat. More wax and cinnamon may be required to keep the level at 2-3”.

Allow wax to dry completely before touching or fingerprints will be noticeable. Then tie on attractive bow and if desired, attach a card listing herbs used. Cool remaining wax in can and save for future use.

To open wax sealed vinegar, score just below cap with a knife and turn lid. Wax and ribbon will remain on the cap, but will allow the bottle to be opened and closed.

Successful Gardening ~
Kali S. Winters

Articles of Interest:
More Herbal Recipes
Oil and Vinegar
Herbal Vinegars ~ How to Make Them
Fragrant Oils

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More Vinegar Herb Combinations


Herbal Vinegars ~ How to Make Them

Herb vinegars delight both the palate and the eye and allow you to preserve the harvest in a mellow gourmet blend of flavor and herbs. These vinegars lend themselves to many uses in sauces, marinades, salad dressings, stews, and beverages, and they are as individual as their creator. The herbs enclosed in the bottle can be snipped and used through the winter months when garden herbs are dormant.

The best time to collect fresh herbs is in the morning, after the dew has dried from the foliage but before the hot sun has evaporated the essential oils from the leaves.

Basic Recipe
1 cup fresh, firmly packed herbs
3 ½ cups vinegar (5% acidity)
Yield: approximately 1 quart

Wash the herbs by swishing them gently in a basin of cool water, being careful not to bruise the leaves and prematurely releasing the oils. Remove any discolored or insect-damage leaves. (Herb stems can be used.) Pat the herbs dry or spin in a vegetable spinner to remove excess water. Allow to air-dry thoroughly because water will make the vinegar cloudy, although it will not affect the flavor.

Using a wooden spoon, pack the herbs in a dry, sterilized quart jar (due to a chemical reaction, vinegar should not come in contact with metal). Fill the jar with vinegar to within 1 inch from the top. With the wooden spoon, push down and bruise the herb leaves in the vinegar. Shake to remove any air bubbles. Cover first with plastic wrap when using a metal lid. Label and date each jar to indicate the herbs used.

Some people like to heat the vinegar to just below boiling point before pouring it over the herbs. The advantage to this is that the warmed vinegar releases the essential oils from the herbs more rapidly. The disadvantage is that some acidity will be destroyed if the vinegar becomes too warm, thereby changing its quality. Given the facts, you be the judge, but I have found that unheated vinegar saves time and yields an excellent product.

Store in a cool, dark place for 4-6 weeks, shaking the mixture every few days. If you’re impatient for the bouquet to develop, the jars may be put out in the sun. The warmed vinegar may become slightly cloudy. A taste test will determine the right strength for your individual needs. If the flavor is too strong, dilute with unflavored vinegar; if not “herbal” enough repeat the process with fresh herbs.

When you are satisfied with the flavor, strain through a plastic colander to remove and discard the herbs. Then strain through paper coffee filters until the paper is clean. Although it may take 4 to 5 times, this removes all herbal debris and the result is a crystal clear product.

Pour the vinegar into hot, dry bottles that have been sterilized or put through a hot wash and dry cycle of the dishwasher. Add a sprig or two of fresh, washed and dried herbs to the bottle. When using a variety of herbs in the blend include a sprig of each. (the most eye-appealing herb vinegar bottles contain many herb sprigs~) cap immediately.

Successful Gardening ~
Kali S. Winters

Articles of Interest:
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Fragrant Oils
Basic Herb Dressing
Herbal Recipe for Kabobs on the Grill
Oil and Vinegar
Vinegar ~ Herb Combinations

Back to Main Articles

Herbal Vinegars


Grow Your Own Herbs


Basic Herb Dressing

A basic dressing recipe can be found in almost every cookbook.  You will notice the standard proportion of oil to vinegar is 3:1. In our experimentation we have discovered that more vinegar and less oil makes a much more flavorful and less fattening dressing, so our Basic Dressing recipe goes like this:

Basic Dressing:
1/3 cup vinegar (wine or cider)
2/3 cup oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard powder
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

Combine all ingredients and shake before pouring.

More often than not, replace all or part of the vinegar with freshly squeezed lemon juice. The oil used varied: safflower or peanut oil for general use; olive oil for Italian-style meals.

From this starting point you can add a variety of herbs and other flavoring ingredients to completely change the look and taste of your dressing.  Here is a list of ideas you can employ to change the Basic Dressing to:

Garlic Dressing: mince 1 clove of garlic and add to Basic Dressing

Herb Dressing: to Basic Dressing, with or without garlic, add 1/ 4 teaspoon of dried basil, thyme, or chervil or 1 to 2 tablespoons of fresh herbs (parsley, dill). Any herb can be added or deleted to suit your taste.

Blue Cheese Dressing: beat in 3 tablespoons of crumbled Blue cheese. To make the dressing Greek, use feta cheese instead.

Cheese Dressing: gate 2 to 4 tablespoons of Parmesan or Swiss cheese into the dressing.

Creamy Dressing: make the dressing thick and creamy by mashing a hard boiled egg or egg yolk with the lemon juice or vinegar before adding the rest of the ingredients.

Indian Dressing: add 1/ 2 teaspoon of curry powder and a pinch of ginger.  Raisins can be added to this dressing, along with 1 tablespoon of fresh parsley and 1 minced clove of garlic.

Chinese Dressing: for spinach salads, bean sprouts or Chinese cabbage make a soy sauce dressing. Make the Basic Dressing with peanut oil and replace the vinegar with soy sauce.  Add 2 tablespoons of sesame seeds.

Successful Gardening ~
Kali S. Winters

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List of Fresh Herbs
Know Your Spices

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Herbs and Spices

Herb Dressing


Herbal Sauces, Butters and Jellies

Herbs form the basis of many raw sauces as well as flavoring cooked sauces. Almost any chopped herb can be added to a basic white sauce, while a handful of blanched and chopped parsley, tarragon and watercress will completely transform an ordinary mayonnaise to serve with salads, fish, chicken or vegetables.

Pesto Sauce
This is a classic Genoise sauce used for pasta and flavoring. It freezes well. Makes about 1 ¼ cups

2/3 cups Basil leaves
6 Garlic cloves
½ cup Pine nuts
1 cup Grated Parmesan cheese
¾ cup Olive oil
Salt and Pepper

Purée the basil, garlic, pine nuts, parmesan cheese and a little of the oil in a food processor or use a pestle and mortar. Add the remaining oil gradually, processing or pounding until the sauce emulsifies. Season with salt and pepper.

Herb Butters
Make herb butters with chervil, lovage, parsley, mint, coriander (cilantro), basil, tarragon or blend together a selection of herbs. A little parsley and lemon juice makes garlic butter less pungent.

Chop 3 tablespoons of fresh herbs and blend them with 1 cup of unsalted butter. Roll into a cylinder on waxed paper, twist the ends and chill, or wrap in foil and freeze. Serve on frilled (broiled) meats or fish or use to top new potatoes or fresh vegetables, or to spread on crusty whole-wheat bread.

Herb Butter for Topping of Vegetables
Soften butter to room temperature. Combine with mixed dry herbs allowing ½ to 1 teaspoon of herbs per tablespoon of butter. Prepare as needed or in large amounts, whap in foil and store in refrigerator. At serving time remove 1 to 2 tablespoons of seasoned butter from the packet to place on top of each cup of hot vegetables. A pinch of nutmeg or dried mustard, a drop of hot pepper sauce or ¼ teaspoon of lemon juice can be added to each tablespoon of butter as well.

Tomato and Thyme Sauce
You can vary this basic tomato sauce by adding your favorite herbs.

Makes about 2 cups

2 tablespoons Butter
1 tablespoon Olive oil
2 Shallots, chopped
3 Garlic cloves
1 lb Tomatoes, skinned, seeded and chopped
2 tablespoons Tomato paste
2 tablespoons Chopped thyme
Salt and Pepper

Heat the butter and oil and fry the shallots until soft. Add the garlic, tomatoes and tomato paste. Cover and simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the thyme, season with salt and pepper and simmer for a further 5 minutes.

Mint Jelly
This traditional mint jelly makes a refreshing change form mint sauce to serve with roast lamb or other grilled or boiled meats. You can also make a similar jelly with parsley, thyme or tarragon.

Makes about 4 ½ lb

5 lb Cooking apples
4 ½ cups Water
4 Mint sprigs
4 ½ cups Distilled white vinegar
Granulated or preserving sugar (Stevia, a natural sugar herb)
1 ½ cups Chopped mint

Wash the apples and cut them into chunks, without paling or coring them. Place them in a saucepan with the water and mint, bring to a boil, cover and simmer for about 35 minutes until soft and pulpy, stirring occasionally. Add the vinegar and boil for 5 minutes. Pour the mixture into jelly bag and leave to drain overnight without pressing or the jelly will be cloudy.

Measure the juice and add 2 cups sugar for each 2 ½ cups juice. Stir over a low heat until the sugar has dissolved, then boil vigorously for about 8 minutes until setting point is reached. Test for setting by cooling a spoonful of the jelly on a chilled saucer; the jelly should wrinkle when pressed. Skim, if necessary, then stir in the chopped mint, pour into sterilized jars and label.

Other Articles of Interest:
Basic Herb Dressing
Fresh & Easy Herb Gardens
Starting An Herb Garden
Herbal Vinegars ~ How to Make Them
Herbal Shampoo Recipe

Back to Main Articles

Herb Sauces

Herb Butter

Herb Jelly


Additional Info On Herbal Sauces

Salads and Vegetables

Use different vegetables in salads, not just salad leaves. Potato salad can be dressed with chive flavored mayonnaise; sliced beetroot is delicious topped with sour cream mixed with chopped dill. Use herb oils or vinegars for salad dressings or mayonnaise as an instant way of adding flavor and interest. Courgettes (zucchini) taste wonderful sliced in julienne strips and marinated in herb mayonnaise for several hours.

Vegetables too cry out for herb dressings, sauces or a few herbs in the cooking water to enhance the flavors. Potatoes go well with mint, chives or leeks; thyme goes well with aubergines (eggplants) courgettes (zucchini) or carrots; parsley enhances the flavor of parsnips.

A few whole herb leaves such as chervil, basil, tarragon, parsley, mint, sorrel or comfrey, give a new flavor to a green salad or you can create an unusual and colorful salad with a few crisp lettuce leaves, tomato and cucumber slices with some apple mint, sorrel, sweet cicely and marigold leaves, nasturtium flowers and violets, tossed in a herb vinaigrette dressing. Be adventurous with your combinations.

Use herb butters to garnish steamed or boiled vegetables, mixing in a little lemon juice for a sharper taste. Below is a a favorite recipe:

Herb Butter for Topping of Vegetables

Soften butter to room temperature. Combine with mixed dry herbs allowing ½ to 1 teaspoon of herbs per tablespoon of butter. Prepare as needed or in large amounts, whap in foil and store in refrigerator. At serving time remove 1 to 2 tablespoons of seasoned butter from the packet to place on top of each cup of hot vegetables. A pinch of nutmeg or dried mustard, a drop of hot pepper sauce or ¼ teaspoon of lemon juice can be added to each tablespoon of butter as well.

For an appetizing courgettes (zucchini) dish, soften a sliced onion in olive oil, then fry some sliced zucchini with a generous sprinkling of snapped chives until tend and golden.

Potatoes baked in their jacket can be made into a delicious light meal. Scoop out the potato flesh and mash it with a dab of butter, a beaten egg, some snipped chives, chopped mint or parsley and grated strong cheese. Pile the mixture back into the potato shells and cook on a hot grill until golden….

Wouldn’t it be wonderful to have fresh herbs readily available at your fingertips…whether they are planted in containers inside the home or out….Holistic Herbs ~ A Guide to Herb Gardening will teach you all the tricks to start your herb garden today!

Successful Gardening
Kali S. Winters

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Vinegar ~ Herb Combinations
Herbal Vinegars ~ How to Make Them

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Grow Your Own Culinary Herbs



Oil and Vinegar

By storing herbs in oil, you can preserve the herbs and create a fragrant oil at the the same time. Herbal vinegars are simple to make and an excellent way of using your garden herbs.

Herbal Oil

Herbal oils can be used for both culinary and cosmetic purposes. Most aromatic herbs are suitable; basil, tarragon, thyme and rosemary are particularly popular choices.

Half fill a sterilized bottle or jar with fresh herb leaves, then fill to the top with a good quality olive or sunflower oil. Stir the herbs to release the air bubbles, making sure that the herbs are completely covered in oil. Seal the bottle or jar and stand it on a sunny windowsill or over a radiator for two weeks, shaking daily. Strain the oil, using the herb sprigs for cooking if you wish. For a stronger flavor, add fresh herbs to the strained oil and store for a further two weeks, then stain again. Bottle the oil with a fresh herb sprig, cover and label and store in a cool, dark place.

You can make delicious mixed herb oil with a few sprigs each of tarragon and thyme, plus a clove of garlic, a dried red chili pepper and a few black peppercorns. Goats’ cheese can be marinated in this oil and used in salads of crisp lettuce and sorrel leaves.

Herbal Vinegar

White or red wine vinegar or cider vinegar can all be flavored with herbs and used in salad dressings, cooked recipes or to make cosmetics. Basil, chervil, marjoram, mint, tarragon, sage or thyme are all-suitable, as are dill sprigs or seeds. Purple sage will impart a lovely color to the vinegar and so do chive flowers. You can use combinations of herbs; equal quantities of mint, chives, basil and borage are effective.

Place about 1 cup of lightly bruised, fresh herbs in a sterilized jar. Bring 1 ¼ cups of wine or cider vinegar to a boil, pour over the herbs, seal and leave to stand on a sunny windowsill for two weeks, shaking occasionally. Strain the vinegar through muslin (cheesecloth) or paper coffee filters into another sterilized jar, add a fresh herb sprig, seal and store in a cool, dark place.

Use the following with an oil and vinegar base or with any mildly seasoned dressing. Add the herb blend sparingly at first (about 2 teaspoons per head of lettuce or greens)

Salad Herb Blend:
2 cups parsley
1 cup each tarragon, basil and thyme

For other salad taste treats, add a teaspoon of basil, savory, or marjoram to a tossed salad; or try a 1/2 tsp of all three together.

If you are a cottage cheese devotee, you can serve it often with different herbs, either as a salad by itself or whirled in your blender (with 1 or 2 Tbsp milk) to make a dip for raw vegetables or munchies.

Basic Herb Vinegar Salad Dressing:
1 cup oil, preferably olive oil
1/2 to 1 cup herb vinegar of choice
2 Tbsp dried herbs, or herbs preserved in vinegar
Salt and Pepper to taste, if desired*

Combine all ingredients in a glass cruet and shake to mix before using.
*Herb vinegars enhance the flavor of salads without added salt.

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Natures Herbal Recipes
Vinegar ~ Herb Combinations

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More Oil and Vinegar Recipes

Natures Herbal Recipes

Herbal Vinegar Recipes

Herbal vinegars are packed with minerals and essential nutrients

To make an herbal vinegar I fill a quart jar with lightly packed herbs, then fill it with organic apple cider vinegar and cap with a plastic lid or a plastic lined metal lid. I label it, let it sit for six weeks –shaking it daily

After six weeks, I strain off the material and use this vinegar in our homemade dressing.

Favorite plants to make vinegar from:
Nettle leaves
Hawthorn Berries
Chickweek Leaves
Dandelion Leaves and Roots
Yellow Dock Root
Lamb’s Quarters
Burdock Roots

Herbal Salad Dressing
3 T olive oil
one T apple cider vinegar
one tsp. mustard
one tsp. miso
one clove of garlic-crushed
1 tsp. of herbs such as thyme, oregano, parsley, etc.

Mix all the ingredients together stirring until blended.

Successful Gardening!
Kali S Winters

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Herbal Recipe for Kabobs on the Grill

Oh to barbecue!!

Whether you prefer charcoal or gas…it’s the age-old question. Who amongst us, whether it be male or female (especially the male) doesn’t love the flavor, aroma and all the ‘prestige’ of barbecue dining? It’s a chance to get outdoors with family and friends and to enjoy a nice cocktail or two on a lazy afternoon. It gives the women folk a break from cooking, to turn it over to the male gender…and boy do they enjoy it, and so does she!

There is something about barbecuing outdoors. I personally prefer charcoal; the flavor is unbeatable especially if you add a bit of hickory wood to the barrel of coals. No matter what type of meat or vegetables you’re grilling, hickory seasoning can turn a plain old burger into something scrumptious!

However, barbecue dining is just as much about seasoning as it is to the fire and meat. Many herb enthusiast’s who grow their own herbs, flowers and produce, do so with the intent to enhance their barbecuing experience as well. Many have found that the herbs stem of a rosemary, basil or sage bush are extremely rich in oils, perfect to use as a rub, baste or to even skewer meat. What once was just a backyard pleasure has now kicked it up a notch turning a barbecue experience into a backyard culinary delight!

If you have ever tried your hand at grilled kabob’s, you may just want to take a fresh look at shish kabobs skewers produced straight from your very own herb garden plants.

Certain herb bushes have an unusually, long straight stem. The best herbs to grow are rosemary, bay, sage, oregano and tarragon. First of all, they are basically free and second; the wood of the herbs stem contains oils of the herb, which makes it perfect to season your meat on a flavored skewer from the inside out.

When your grilled kabobs are basted with an herb brush, the leaves of the herb sprig become “bruised” when heated. This lets out the natural oils of the plant, therefore it makes it delectably charming to your meats! Essentially you are making herb oil.

You will want to be on the look out for the strong, stiff stems that have hardened enough to hold up under the weight of your BBQ kabobs. To make it easier to puncture your meat or produce, whittle the stiffer end of the herbs stem into a point. A rosemary skewer is particularly great for portabella mushrooms and fast-cooking barbecue vegetables.

If you are an avid BBQ griller or you have a special occasion in the near future, you will need to collect plenty of big sprigs to make your herb brush and shish kabob skewers. They tend to be quite rare at your local nursery or produce store, but then again, why bother searching when you can gather them up right from your very own home herb garden.

A traditional barbecue brush can be costly to replace, it you are constantly barbecuing. Why not use an herb brush you have created from your very own home herb garden instead. However, a word of warning, once you taste the difference of this method of grilling kabobs with an herb brush, your grilling experience will never taste quite the same. You will want to make a new herb brush each time you barbecue, so be sure to leave enough material in your herb garden for future pickings.

To create an herb brush, you will first need to look for stems to make 6 inch skewers or longer from a variety of herbs in order to create a handle. Attach a wire or twine to the bundled herbs stem for the handle. Make sure you have plenty of clean fresh leaves on the upper branches in order for the basting to create its full effect. After that, tie in some of the more fragile herbs like basil. A solo basil brush tends to be a bit floppy, so you will want to add a strong framework with other herbs…Besides….what better way to enhance the flavor of your meat kabobs? Along with the basil you may want to tie in a bit of chives, dill, mint, thyme or cilantro/coriander. Remember, you are going to be applying some amount of pressure to the surface of your grilled barbecue fixings, so you will want a strong herb brush.

In the turn of the growing season when BBQ grilling, why not toss some of your “turned up bushes” from your yard onto the grill to “squeeze out” the last remaining resources of your garden. What better way to get the last drop out of your hard earned labor so to enhance your barbecue dining experience and to enjoy the last bit of flavoring of your grill towards the end of the season!

If you’d like to learn more about the wonder of herbs, sign up for my free mini course. Better yet, grab your copy of my ebook: Holistic Herbs~A Beginners Guide to Herbal Gardening Here!

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Successful Gardening!
Kali S. Winters

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