Skip the fancy – read expensive – flavored vinegars at the store, and try making them yourself. The main requirement is patience: The vinegars need about a month to absorb flavors. Use this method for any herbs, from rosemary to basil to mint, and any vinegar, from apple cider to champagne. Add extra flavors, such as peeled garlic cloves or whole jalapeno peppers, to suit yourself. Instructions courtesy of the University of Maine Cooperative Extension.
• STEP 1: Gather your ingredients. Check your jars and bottles for cracks and nicks. Wash the jars and bottles, and then sterilize them in boiling water for 10 minutes. Wash, then scald the lids and caps.
• STEP 2: Combine 1/2 teaspoon germicidal bleach with 4 cups of water to make a sanitizing solution. Wash, then dip the fresh herbs in the solution for 1 minute. Dry the herbs with a paper towel or in a salad spinner. Place the herbs in the sterilized jars; you’ll need three or four sprigs per jar. To speed the flavoring, lightly bruise the herbs first.
• STEP 3: Heat the vinegar to just below boiling and pour it into the jars over the herbs, leaving 1/4-inch headspace. Attach the clean lids. Store the bottles in a cool dark place for three to four weeks to develop flavors.
• STEP 4: Pour the contents of the bottles through cheesecloth or a coffee filter and the discard herbs. Then pour the strained vinegar into clean, sterilized jars. Refrigerate the bottles and use the flavored vinegar within three months.