Last year my aunt made me a bottle of the most amazing raspberry vinegar. I managed to eek it out until a few weeks ago…and then discovered that you can’t buy the stuff – at least not in any of the big supermarkets (I’m sure there are fancy places, but I don’t tend to frequent many fancy places, so I wouldn’t know). As luck would have it though, my cousin wanted one of the owl key rings I’ve been crocheting so we did a deal – a key ring for the recipe.
I’m proud to say that I have now made my first batch of raspberry vinegar. It wasn’t without it’s issues but it is rather lovely, so I thought I’d share the recipes and the pitfalls (which to be fair, I may be the only one in the world to experience, but you never know…) This is really good on salads, fish and anything I have cooked (as it disguises the flavour). It’s also apparently good for tickly coughs and sore throats.
So here goes:
Raspberry Vinegar. Makes about 1 litre (2 pints)
- 450g (1lb) raspberries
- 575 (1 pint) white wine or clear vinegar
- 900g (2lb) sugar
1) Put the fruit into a bowl and crush lightly with the back of a spoon, Pour over the vinegar, cover and leave to stand for a week in a cool place. Stir every other day.
Tip 1: This is not something you can make in a few hours. This is very disappointing when you think you’ll start and have a batch ready for your tea.
Tip 2: Leaving it in a shut microwave helps your house smell less like a chippy
2) Use a jelly bag or line a sieve with some muslin and strain the vinegar through it. Leave for at least an hour.
Tip 3: You can buy a jelly bag from a cooking / hardware type of shop. I think they must have been made some years ago though as the instructions tell you to ‘suspend by the loops from a cup hook screwed to the underside of a shelf’. I don’t know about you, but I don’t have any such hooks. I’m not sure anyone has in the last decade or so. Instead, I rigged up an interesting system of strings to my cupboard door handles.
Tip 4: Once string system is in place, do not attempt to open the cupboard doors. It’s messy.
3) Pour into a measuring jug and take note of how much liquid you have. Pour the vinegar into a saucepan and heat very gently. Add 450g (1lb) of sugar for every 575ml (1 pint) of liquid. Stir and continue to heat gently until it is dissolved. Bring to a rapid boil and boil for 10 minutes. Remove any scum if it appears.
Tip 5: Even with an extractor fan on and the windows and the front door and backdoor open, at the point your house will start to smell like a chippy. So will you.
4) While the vinegar is boiling sterilise your bottles by washing, then putting upside down or on their side in a moderate oven for 5 minutes. Put the lids in a bowl of boiling water.
Tip 6: The recipe says it will make around two pints. Only having enough bottles to house 1 pint is clearly not going to work. This will result in a panic around step 5) as you realise that no, you can’t squeeze the extra in and you are going to have to either drink a pint or empty out a heap of bottles that have been in the back of your cupboard with a best before date of 2007 and sterilise them pretty fast.
Tip 7: When you sterilise a bottle that has one of those fancy stoppers attached to it, check what the fancy stopper is made of. If you rest it against the glass and it is plastic, it will melt and no longer carry out its stoppering duties.
5) Use the funnel pour the vinegar into your hot bottles and….
Tip 6: If the recipe you have is a photocopy of a ripped newspaper cutting and you can’t read some of it, call someone before you get to the ripped bit to find out what it might have said. I didn’t. I improvised with ‘and do a little dance’.
6) And……two weeks before using. Because of the boiling it should last several months if stored in a cool dark place.
Tip 7: See tip 6. I think the missing bit here might be something about leaving it to stand. On the grounds it might not have said that though, I had some with some goats cheese on toast before it had even cooled let alone done any standing (mainly because despite finding and extra three bottles I still had some left over that I couldn’t bring myself to pour away).
It wasn’t as good as my aunt’s but it’s pretty good. And the colour is amazing. So pretty in fact that Sister 1 thought it was bubble bath when I gave her a bottle. I did set her straight, although it was tempting to see how far she’d get before she realised it wasn’t :o)
So there you go – try it for yourself if you fancy. You can use other fruits too – the recipe suggest cherry, blackcurrant, blackberry and gooseberry. At least if you follow my tips it should be a slightly smoother process for you than it was for me! :o)