I mentioned lemon vinegar once before, but the more I think about it, the more I think it deserves its own page. There are a ton of recipes in historical cookbooks for vinegars flavored with berries, but I really really love this citrus variation.
Here is my baseline recipe (from recipezaar.com), but the one pictured above uses one lemon, 4 limes, 3 bay leaves, and 4 cups of vinegar. The bay is really unnecessary, it just adds the tiniest bit of depth to the flavor. Not enough that most people can notice, but enough to be delicious without them knowing why.
35 oz. white vinegar
4 bay leaves
1. Pour the vinegar into a stainless steel pan.
2. Wash the lemons and pare the rind from them with a potato peeler.
3. Add the peel to the pan with the bay leaves and boil for 5 minutes.
4. Cover and leave to go cold.
5. Bottle, including the peel and the bay.
6. Leave for 4 weeks.
7. The vinegar can then either be strained and bottled or used as it is, depending on the strength you require.
I find it is ready to use almost immediately. It gets stronger over time, sure, but it's also darn good right away. I highly recommend the limes, too. They are FAB.
But what do I do with this?
1. Make a shrub. Splash about a tablespoon in a glass, add a couple spoonfuls of the sweetener of your choice, and fill up with ice water. I know, the vinegar sounds weird, but it is really really good. It sparkles in your mouth like a mild soda, and the taste is really similar to lemonade or limeade. It's like having lemonade infinitely on tap in the fridge! I have told you before and I will tell you again: try it. Just try it.
2. Mix it half-and-half with water, pour in a spray bottle, and use as cleanser. You can use it on pretty much everything, and you'll be amazed how well it works. The citrusy scent is just a delightful bonus. Real citrus, too, not lemon-flavored Pledge.
3. Wash your hair. I'm trying the no-poo thing.
4. Salad dressing.
5. Fresh cucumber pickles
6. Make your kitchen smell fabulous. Boiling vinegar or vinegar and water will take nasty cooking smells out of the air. Try making a batch of this next time your kitchen smells awful. Claim you let it get awful on purpose, FOR SCIENCE.
7. Unclog your nose. Stick your head over this while it is boiling. Man.
8. Try a historical recipe using vinegar. Report back.
9. Finally, attach this list and some lovely decorative dried lemon slices and give as gifts! I know what my neighbors will be getting for Christmas this year....
Which of these are you most tempted by? Can you think of any other good ideas?