Don’t waste your time and money buying bizarre flavoured vinegars. Infuse your own yummy creations with things like pine needles.
by John Pope on December 7, 2015
This is not an original idea, but really what is anymore? The reality is that I was googling for something related to Noma when I came across this, and have shamelessly copied both the concept and the actual recipe from Robin at Eatweeds.co.uk.
This just makes sense. We go to gourmet shops and pay silly prices for fancy looking bottles of vinegar flavoured with all sorts of things that really have no business at all being there, but we overlook simple and distinct flavours that really do work and can add something special to the dishes that we use them in.
Enter the pine needle!
Yes, just like the ones that may be falling off of your Christmas tree and ending up all over the place in a few weeks time, unless it is a fir tree of course (Note: if you plan to use needles from your tree PLEASE make sure the tree hasn’t been sprayed with any chemical designed to reduce needle drop).
The needles from all of the species of tree in the genus Pinus are edible, but some are more flavourful than others and they will all taste a little bit different, Robin recommends using Monterey Pine (Pinus radiata) and who am I to disagree. If in doubt, pick one off a tree and give it a nibble, it won’t hurt you and that raw flavour is what you will be infusing into your vinegar.
All you need are two ingredients and a suitable container. A few handfuls of pine needles, half a litre of decent cider vinegar (preferably organic) and a glass jar that will contain half a litre of liquid and will close airtight.
Wash and then thoroughly dry the pine needles.
Take a clean sterilised glass jar and stuff it full of pine needles, don’t be skimpy.
Bring the vinegar to a rolling boil and then immediately remove it from the heat and leave to cool.
When the vinegar has cooled completely pour it into the jar with the pine needles, fill it to the top and screw on the lid.
Store the jar for six weeks in a cool dark place before using.
During the six weeks you are waiting for your new vinegar to be ready you can surely come up with lots of creative ways to use it. If you are struggling though…. you might like to use it in salad dressings anywhere that you would normally use balsamic, it gives a really fresh and clean taste. It also works really well with white fish, just be careful not to overdo it or it will drown out the other flavours on the plate.