A couple weeks ago my friend Polly offered to teach a bunch of us how to make herb vinegars — using fresh herbs right out of her garden. I had never been to her house, and when she said we could hang out in the “shack” behind her house, I pictured … well, some sort of little lean-to propped up next to her garage or something. Uh, no. Polly’s Herb Shack is the sort of place I’d pay good money to go stay in. It’s so calm and peaceful and cute. Couldn’t you just while away a whole afternoon on that porch swing? Inside, Polly’s decorated in a retro style with sweet touches such as red gingham on a vintage white kitchen table, antique photos, old lamps and a typewriter that looks exactly like one my grandmother had. And then, after Polly gave us a quick lesson on herb vinegars, she turned us loose in her herb garden and let us cut all we wanted. We brought jars and vinegar (and food and wine, of course, for sustenance while we worked — being creative and culinary is exhausting!). You can heat the vinegar and measure things out and be all methodical and scientific about it, but basically we just stuffed jars full of herb and spice combinations — with other goodies such as lemon peels and garlic cloves — and poured vinegar over our concoctions and took them home to hope for the best. We’re going to let them steep for several weeks (if you heat the vinegar in the first place it doesn’t take as long), then strain and decant into pretty bottles and impress everybody with our homemade gourmet know-how. I’m anxious to see how the herb mixtures turn out. While we were creating in The Shack, we were saying things like “Does coriander go with basil?” and “How do you think lavender and oregano would be together?” Who knows??? My jars are 1) lemon and lime thyme with cloves and cracked whole nutmeg and apple-cider vinegar; 2) orange and chocolate mint with cardamon and white-wine vinegar and 3) chives, garlic chives and garlic cloves in red-wine vinegar. I also added some lemon peel to a couple of the jars but I can’t remember which ones now. What do you think — did I make some good picks?
Published by Coffee with Cathy
I'm a media coordinator, an editor & an adjunct journalism instructor who also writes about style, history, food and the arts in Alabama, Mississippi and Tennessee. My husband is a newspaper sports editor, and he and I are from middle Tennessee. Older Daughter and her husband, an artist and high-school art teacher, live nearby with our three grandsons. Younger Daughter works in grants proposals & also lives nearby. View all posts by Coffee with Cathy