Introduction: Fruit Vinegar(s)
Blackberry vinegar is my number one favourite, and it began as an end of summer holiday family ritual when I was growing up .For us Blackberry picking always began on the last Sunday of the annual school summer holiday. The resulting Blackberry harvest provided our family for several months to come with; jams, pies, syrups, cordials and vinegars, etc. It was a tradition that I continued with my children, becoming a much looked forward to, end of summer ritual.
My Mother and Grandmother both swore by Blackberry vinegar as a cure all for coughs, colds, sore throats and the flu. No doubt this is because of the amounts of vinegar and Blackberries used; I have read somewhere that Blackberries are one of the few fruits that do not experience the destruction of vitamin C when they are cooked.
You can use virtually any soft fruit or berries to make a fruit vinegar, and other favourites of mine are; Blackcurrant, Blueberry, Logan Berry, Raspberry and Strawberry. Although in the past I have also used Apples, Pears, Peaches, Damsons and Plums
Here is a link to the alternative method that iI also use to make fruit Vinegars: https://www.instructables.com/id/Fruit-Vinegars-Alternative-Method/
Normally I would pick the berries when they are in season, However, it is the middle of December and so I have cheated a little, by purchasing 1 Kg of frozen Black Forest fruits from one of the major supermarkets. This fruit and Berry mix consists of; Blackberries, Raspberries, Blackcurrants, Black Cherries, Black Grapes and Strawberries.
The other ingredients for this fruit vinegar are; 2 litres of Malt vinegar, and 2 Kg of white granulated sugar. Note; if you pay attention you will notice that I was not fully prepared, and only had a little over 1.5 kg of sugar available and so I was reduced to ad-libbing, by utilising 425g of clear honey (keep your eyes on the sugar jar behind the kettle in the photos). You can make a fruit vinegar with Honey, but that is usually in a 50-50 ratio with the sugar. I have made this batch of fruit vinegar in the ratio of 3 parts sugar, and 1 part Honey. Normally I would make fruit vinegar in the ratio of; 1 kg fruit, 1 kg Sugar, and 1 Litre of Vinegar.
Step 1: The Preperation:
First let the pack of fruit thaw out. Obviously if you have picked the fruit and berries yourself, you will not have to go through this stage.
Step 2: The Hot Work:
Step 3: Using & Enjoying Fruit Vinegars:
These fruit vinegars are a lot like a good wine, improving as they age. So if the opportunity allows, let them mature for a few months or even a year or two.
There are many ways to use fruit vinegar and I will list a few my tried and trusted favourite methods.
Coughs and sore throats: Take 2 teaspoons of neat Blackberry or Raspberry vinegar as an expectorant cough mixture as and when required.
Colds, Flu, and Fevers: Fill a tumbler half full of Blackberry or Raspberry vinegar, top off with boiling water and drink.
As a marinade: Pour about 2-3 mm of Fruit vinegar into a flat bottomed dish and marinade Pork chops, Lamb chops, Chicken and Turkey breasts, Prawns or White fish Fillets; Cod, Coley, Haddock, Sea Bass and Whiting, etc. Turn over after a couple of hours and marinade the other side, then grill or BBQ for a wonderfully fruity, sweet and sour flavour. I can certainly confirm how tasty Reindeer steaks marinated in Arctic Blueberry Vinegar are.
On a roast: Pour over the Sunday Joint before popping it into the oven. Goes extremely well upon Lamb, Pork, Chicken and Turkey, but it is absolutely fabulous on roast Duck, Pheasant, and Rabbit. The resulting gravy is divine.
Brush a little fruit vinegar into the cavity of a Trout, Arctic Char, a Mackerel, or on to a Salmon, Tuna, Swordfish or Marlin Steak or fillet before grilling. Oily and Pelagic fish do not seem to marinade well in fruit vinegar, but it does work extremely well when they are only lightly coated using a brush.
As a Drizzle: Now this is where I will start all of the controversy, drizzle it on to; pancakes (a Shrove Tuesday family tradition), leftover Yorkshire pudding, Ice cream, Quiche, Baked Alaska, Sponge, Cheese cake, on toasted nuts and roasted Chestnuts, or enjoy it warmed over a spirit burner as a dip with a cheese board, the list is endless.
Well, that is how I make fruit Vinegars, and some of the ways that I enjoy the fruits of my labour. I trust that you have enjoyed this article, and will be encouraged to make and use your own fruit Vinegars