Now that summer’s over, I took a few hours to clean up some of the herb plants in our front garden before they get frosted. I collect bundles and hang them high in the kitchen where it’s typically pretty dry and well-ventilated, and where they aren’t exposed to too much sun.Some of my basil–especially a big blue basil plant—had exploded into bloom in the past month or so. Herb flowers are pretty as garnishes and beautifully aromatic, but are typically a bit too bitter for culinary use. My sister, though, reminded me of a basil flower vinegar she has made in the past. It’s a simple way to use up some of the flowers (that typically just get thrown onto the ground when I pluck them off the plants), and adds an interesting ingredient to your pantry. I use the herb-infused vinegar primarily for vinaigrettes, but have also put it to work to add a hit of bright acid to finish soups and stews, or to deglaze a pan.
Basil flower vinegar
- Fresh, unbruised basil flowers
- Vinegar of your choice (Wine vinegars work nicely here; I used an inexpensive white wine vinegar and a beautiful Cabernet Sauvignon vinegar that was a gift. Both worked well.)
- Gently rinse and dry basil blossoms.
- In a sealable container, pour vinegar over the blossoms.
- Steep in the refrigerator for a few days. If desired, remove the basil flower blossoms when the vinegar reaches the flavor you want (some people say that the blossoms can add an unpleasant flavor to the vinegar if steeped too long, but if this is true, the acid in the vinegar masks it to my palate).