Christmas Help! Herb infused vinegar, safe without BWB, etc?

aeleva(USDA-9 CA)December 24, 2012

I found this recipe from whole foods online:

I haven't pickled anything before and whole foods seemed like a reputable source, so I used 5% acidity red wine vinegar and steeped thyme and orange zest for several days in a vessel that had gone through the high temp sanitize and heated dry cycle in my dishwasher.

After steeping, I poured this mixture with a new sprig of fresh thyme (washed but allowed to dry for a few hours first) and one clove of garlic into bottles that I put through the same dishwasher cycle with additional heated dry at 150 F in my oven until all water droplets were gone.

After reading some stuff about garlic in oil, and proper pickling techniques, I've gotten concerned that this might not be safe to eat because I didn't explicitly boil stuff before and after like in normal canning (which I have never done), but maybe that's no necessary because of the vinegar? The whole foods recipe didn't say anything about that. I was going to give these as gifts for Christmas -- are these safe??

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Your vinegar is fine and would make a wonderful gift. Sorry if I answered too late.

Happy Christmas!

Here is a link that might be useful: Flavored Vinegars and Oils-Colorado State Extension

    Bookmark   December 25, 2012 at 11:48AM
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What a great fact sheet! Thanks, Malna. I have been infusing goldenrod in oil for a muscle rub (supposed to be beneficial for reducing muscle spasms), but now I have concerns. It was never intended for anything except external use, but I know botulism doesn't have to be ingested to be dangerous.

    Bookmark   December 25, 2012 at 1:25PM
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readinglady(z8 OR)

Here's another document from Oregon State which I have found helpful. I like their sugar cube test for flavor.

Be aware that sanitize is not the same as sterilize and that infused vinegars can turn cloudy or develop molds, so sterilization is really a better way to go.

For convenience, I like to follow Carol Costenbader's advice and infuse the vinegar in a wide-mouth jar then filter and decant into any decorative bottle I'm using.

If I'm putting a fresh sprig or two of the signature herb into the bottle, I blanch it to reduce the likelihood of any impurities entering the vinegar.


Here is a link that might be useful: Oregon State Flavored Vinegars

    Bookmark   December 26, 2012 at 12:26PM
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balloonflower(5b Denver CO, HZ 5-6, Sunset 2b)

I realize that the original thread concerned gifts, which have probably long been given by now. I make a lot of herbed vins to play with, and the Herb Guild I'm part of sells them for the Denver Botanic Gardens.

Putting sprigs of most fresh herbs in the final product will only look pretty for a short time, and can lead to possible mold issues once the herb is above the level of vinegar in the bottle. Strong woody herbs like rosemary, or things such as dried chilis will hold up, but putting a sprig of a tender leaf such as thyme or basil in the vinegar won't last long. The acidity will pretty much turn it pretty ugly pretty fast, and it can start to add a bitter flavor. I generally recommend storing vins without decorative kicks--they're so pretty anyway!

    Bookmark   August 3, 2013 at 11:29AM
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