Waste not, want not. These words are in my mind often. The other week I made strawberry-vanilla jam, and I had so many bits and pieces of strawberries left over. Oh how I love leftovers.
When I told one of my Hungarian students that I was making preserves from gleaned produce, he thought I was collecting and re-selling leftover meals. His take on it: “I, as a choosy european, wouldn’t eat anyone’s leftovers. So how’s this works?”
Hah! That’s not quite what I’m doing, although the sentiment is similar: transforming underdog or unwanted produce into delicious preserves. I like to use every bit of produce that comes my way. It doesn’t always happen (because do you know what is always happening? life!), but in this case it did and the results were awesome.
Ok, enough chit-chat, let’s make strawberry vinegar!
You can either use whole strawberries, or the tops and ends that didn’t make it into your jam. Don’t worry about the leaves, they’re invited to this vinegar party.
Slice your strawberries, put them in a glass jar and add enough vinegar to just cover the berries.
Let the jar rest in a cool, dark place for about 2 weeks. Smell (with caution! though the strawberries sweeten the vinegar, it’s still stingy!) and taste, and then decide if the flavor is deep enough for your liking.
As soon as you’re happy with the vinegar flavor, strain and funnel the mixture into a jar or bottle. The jar pictured here used to hold Trader Joe’s pesto.
Label and date the vinegar. Get crafty! If I drew little strawberries (that actually looked like strawberries!) on the label, I can’t even imagine what you can do. Just ask my old ESL students about my drawing skills. One time? I tried to draw a bicycle. Tried is the keyword here, guys. It was a mess, and my students, a mess of laughter.
Gift this vinegar to a friend, or stash it in your pantry. It’s excellent in salsa and salad dressings!