Day #31 — Finally starting the blackberry vinegar

Here are the 2 bottles of red wine vinegar that sat on my counter for 3 months

I  love prosecco. It’s sparkling Italian wine, which tastes a lot like champagne, only drier. That’s why a recipe for raspberry vinegar in the magazine section of The New York Times caught my eye, as I flipped through the paper on Sunday, August 1st (2010).

Raspberry vinegar could be added to prosecco, sparkling water, rum or brandy for a delicious drink, the article’s author, Amanda Hesser, proclaimed.

“Mmm,” I thought, seconding the author’s vote, while also envisioning it on top of vanilla ice cream.

The simple recipe was over a hundred years old:  It had originally appeared in The Times in 1900,  in an article titled “Women Here and There — Their Frills and Fancies.”

I decided the rasberry vinegar would tickle my fancy,  too.

My first stop was Crate and Barrel in West Hartford Center. Were there any reasonably priced flasks that would accommodate the raspberry vinegar after I made it? I wondered.

Since the recipe seemed so easy to throw together, I might make extra raspberry vinegar as gifts for people, I mused. Wouldn’t I look accomplished walking into someone’s house with homemade raspberry vinegar as a gift?

Alas, all the flasks at “Crate and Barrel” were prohibitively expensive. Next, I tried “Pfau’s Hardware,” which had a better selection, so I bought two there. And then miraculously found one in the recycling center in my condominium building. I was off and running.

Raspberries and red wine vinegar are the key ingredients in the recipe: I bought both at “Whole Foods.” When I returned home, I placed the two bottles of vinegar I had purchased on my kitchen counter and the two baskets of fresh raspberries in my refrigerator. And then proceeded to watch the raspberries rot before my eyes.

I tried again the next week, but the second batch of raspberries met a similar fate —  with the red wine vinegar remaining  on my counter — until “170 Days of Change” intervened.

This week, I substituted fresh blackberries for the raspberries because they were less expensive. (Mid-fall prices had set in.)

When I perused the recipe again, I was struck once more by how easy it was to make:

Ingredients: 1 cup red-wine vinegar, 1 1/2 quarts freshly picked raspberries, and sugar

1. In a non-reactive bowl, combine the vinegar and fruit. Cover and let macerate for 3 days. (That’s what I did today: simple, huh?)

2. Mash the fruit in the bowl, then strain the liquid through a fine-mesh sieve lined with cheesecloth. To every cup of juice, add 1/2 pound of sugar (1 1/4 cups + 1 TB). Combine the juice and sugar in a saucepan. Bring to a boil and simmer (gently!) for 15 minutes. Let cool, then bottle. Keep refrigerated for up to 3 months.

Tune in on Sunday to hear the rest of the blackberry vinegar tale  . . .

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