I had been thinking of making raspberry vinegar for some time just because I love the colour. It reminds me of ruby rings and how a modest 1 carat one would look lovely on my finger. I didn’t realise that homemade raspberry vinegar would taste that much better than store bought. It does! As soon as you open the bottle, you will smell fresh raspberries. The taste? Delicate yet distinctly raspberry. I am not going back to store bought.

So please was I with my raspberry vinegar, it piqued my curiosity. What kind of of vinegar will produce the best tasting raspberry vinegar? Off I went to the shops to buy vinegars and more raspberries. I wondered too if the vinegar would taste better the longer it was left to sit? And, the results…
img_7524 The best testing raspberry vinegar went to…
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Malt Vinegar and I was very surprised that it ranked first.  The flavour of the raspberries was most distinct. It was smooth, mellow and tasted the least sharp. Bear in mind all the vinegars had a similar 5% acetic level. The runner ups were: Distilled White Vinegar, Red Wine Vinegar, Apple Cider Vinegar and lastly White Wine Vinegar. I was quite sure the white wine vinegar would win the test as I had made an earlier Raspberry Vinegar using white wine vinegar and it was delightful. However, I had used a different brand of white wine vinegar which on its own did taste better than the new bottle of White Wine Vinegar. My conclusion is: no matter which vinegar you use, it will turn out lovely as you can always add sugar if you find the taste too sharp. Having said that I would keep the following pointers in mind when making my next batch:
-buy the best raspberries.
-use a vinegar that is good to begin with.
-before using chosen vinegar, taste it. If it’s too sharp choose another or be prepared to add more raspberries and/or sugar.

Did the Raspberry Vinegar taste better the longer the raspberries were left in the vinegar?
It depends on the raspberries you use. The more flavourful ones produced vinegar that was ready after 3 days. Raspberries that were less flavourful and sour took 7 days and required more sugar to compensate for the sweetness. So my conclusion is: taste the raspberries and then decide on the amount of sugar to add and how long the vinegar should be left to sit. Start tasting the vinegar after day 3 and decide if it should be left out longer or to add more sugar. 

This is one of the simplest of homemade gifts to come out from my kitchen. Consider making and taking to your host/hostess the next time you are invited for dinner. Christmas isn’t too far away either!

Raspberry Vinegar

Prep: 5 minutes + 10 or so minutes to clean storage jar/bottles
Cook:
Inactive: To sit at least 3 – 7 days
Level: Easy
Makes: ~1 cup
Oven Temperature:
Can recipe be doubled? Yes.
Make ahead? Keeps 6 months and possibly longer

Ingredients

1 cup white wine vinegar*
1 and 1/4 cup raspberries (adding more is good too)
1/4 cup white sugar**
* To make flavoured vinegars safely, check that the vinegar you use has at least 5% acetic acid. Rice vinegar often has a lower percentage.
**  Add more if the raspberries are rather flat tasting. Do ensure that all the raspberries are covered in vinegar.

Method

1. Rinse raspberries and let them dry.
2. Clean your storage jar(s). I wash them with soapy water. Then give them a final boiling water bath by pouring boiling water inside the bottles. Cool. Pour water off. Drain upside down on cooling racks until completely dry. Do the same for the bottle covers.
3. In a clean jar, add vinegar, sugar and then raspberries. Sugar will dissolve progressively so there is no need to stir. Cover.
4. Taste after 3 days and decide if it’s to your taste. If not, add sugar (1 – 2 Tablespoons if you wish) and leave to sit for another day and taste again.
5. By the end of 7 days, the raspberry vinegar would pretty much be flavourful enough. It’s time to prepare clean storage bottle(s)/jar(s) to store the vinegar once it has been drained of raspberries.
6. To drain, use a fine mesh strainer and drain directly into cleaned bottle(s)/jar(s). To get a clearer liquid, line the strainer with a muslin/cheese cloth. I use coffee filters and do not mash the raspberries. But is it better to mash the raspberries into pulp to get all the liquid out? The raspberries have done its job by this time. If you mash it to pulp, it’s really only to get all the Raspberry Vinegar out. In the process of mashing, tiny, tiny raspberry pulp will find its way into the vinegar and cloud the vinegar and these ‘sediments’ will settle at the bottom of the bottle/jar. So you decide.
7. These will keep 6 months and possibly longer. If I don’t use my open bottle within 2 weeks, I keep it refrigerated.

Tips

Gifts
These are easy to make and look rather pretty and festive. Much quicker than baking cookies, I am thinking of bottling them up as gifts to take to those year-end parties. Best of all, less washing up!

Other flavours
Try these with strawberries and blackcurrants. Blueberries would have to be crushed slightly first to facilitate infusion.

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