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Saturday, December 7, 2013

Strawberry Balsamic Vinegar


Each summer my dad picks wild strawberries when they're abundant and perfectly ripe. He preserves a portion for the winter using his dehydrator and shares them with me. I used some to make this fruit vinegar, which tastes like summer in a bottle.

Use strawberry balsamic vinegar to flavor vinaigrettes and marinades. Or use it brighten up heavier dishes like soups, stews, and pan sauces for roasted meats. 

If you can't find dried strawberries without added sweeteners or oils, substitute other dried berries or dried figs. I used white balsamic vinegar but you could use regular balsamic vinegar. Just be sure to find one without additives like sweeteners or caramel flavor or coloring.

1 cup thinly sliced dried strawberries
16 ounces (2 cups) white balsamic vinegar

Combine the strawberries and vinegar in a glass jar. Cover it tightly and label it with the date and contents. The dried berries should be completely submerged. They will float to the top until they are fully rehydrated, so check the following day to make sure they are completely covered with vinegar. If they aren't, add more vinegar.

Set the jar aside in a dark place until the strawberries impart a sufficiently fruity flavor to the vinegar, several months or more. Once you're happy with it, strain it through a fine mesh sieve to remove the berries along with the tiny seeds. Store the vinegar in a clean glass bottle and reserve the berries, which have been preserved by the vinegar. Add them to a salad or serve them as a dessert, with a bit of cheese or dark chocolate.

I started this vinegar in July and after aging it for nearly five months, it developed a dark red color and a pleasing strawberry flavor.

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