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Flavored Oils and Vinegars

Frugal Crafts and Homemade Gifts (featured column)
by Martha Matthews

Flavored vinegars and oils are quite popular these days. They make a very thoughtful gift for a hostess, housewarming, or even for Christmas. If you've priced them though, you know that they aren't cheap. You can make your own version of these trendy little items with a few simple ingredients.

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Here are some recipes to get you started!


Flavored vinegars add an extra kick to marinades, sauces, and dressings. If you are looking for an elegant and thoughtful gift to make for Christmas, try these savory blends that are sure to enhance any meal. If you grow your own herbs, this is a great way to use up any excess before the growing season is over. We hope you enjoy these unique blends.

Vinegar Base

1 small bunch of parsley
1 teaspoon of peppercorns
1/8 teaspoon of salt
1 clove of garlic, peeled
1 quart of your choice of vinegar: cider, white distilled, rice
wine, white wine, or red wine

Place the parsley, garlic, salt and pepper in a 2 quart ceramic or glass bowl.

Bring the vinegar to a boil. Pour the vinegar over the herbal mixture in the bowl.

Cover and let the mixture stand for two days. Strain the mixture and decant into a sterilized bottle. Add one to three sprigs of the herbs of your choice. Seal the bottle with a cork or lid. Let stand for two more weeks before using.

Flavor Combinations

Tarragon and lemon in white wine vinegar Chives, basil, and parsley in white wine vinegar Oregano, rosemary and thyme in red wine vinegar Lemon and dill in cider vinegar Garlic, chives blossoms and chervil in red wine vinegar Cilantro, jalapeño pepper and lime in white distilled vinegar (this one is hot) Lavender blossoms in cider vinegar Ginger root and cilantro in rice wine vinegar.


1 teaspoon peppercorns
8 to 10 sprigs of your choice of herbs
Olive oil to fill the container you are using
1 sterile bottle or wide mouth canning jar

Place the herbs and peppercorns into the sterile bottle or wide mouth canning jar. Use a funnel to decant the olive oil into the bottle to cover the herbs. Seal and let stand for one month before using.

Flavor Combinations

Lemon and dill
Tarragon and chive
Lemon and garlic (one of our favorites)
Garlic, onion, and basil
Basil and garlic
Cilantro and lime
Rosemary and marjoram
Garlic, onion, oregano and red bell pepper

Note: When using large pieces of fruit or vegetables, cut them into small wedges or pieces to fit into the bottle. Use bamboo skewers to hold the pieces together in the bottle.

Use herb vinegar in salad dressings, marinades, or to deglaze pans.

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Return to Homemade Gift Ideas

Copyright © 2002 by Martha Matthews. All rights reserved.

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