Food Friday : Blueberry and Raspberry Vinegars and a Salad Dressing

Ok, this just might be the easiest recipe ever! Did you know that you can make Blueberry and Raspberry Vinegars just by adding the berries to regular white vinegar, and then waiting for the flavour to develop?

Here’s the How-to: Wash your berries. I used a half-pint of each, as pictured in the colanders. I boiled the bottles and lids before filling them because I thought I should since I was reusing used bottles. So I will recommend doing it, though I’m not totally sure if that step is necessary. Put the berries in the bottle and using a chopstick (which I also put in the boiling water for about 20 seconds), mush up the berries as best you can. Don’t worry if they’re not all mushed, just try to break them up. Fill the bottles with regular 5% acid white vinegar. Screw your caps on tightly and store in the refrigerator.

In about a week the flavour of the berries will have permeated the vinegar. The longer the mixture steeps, and the ratio of berries to vinegar, determines the strength of the flavour. To give you an idea of the strength … I left mine for a week, shaking it every couple of days, and the salad dressing I made today with it had a really nice and distinct raspberry taste.

Use the vinegar for salad dressings or sauces. If you like, you can also use the pickled fruit. And though I haven’t tried it yet, there is an Iranian beverage made with vinegar, mint and sugar syrup. It sounds interesting and is apparently very refreshing. I bet it would be good made with berry flavoured vinegar! I’ll try it and get back to you on that.

So since this recipe is so darn easy, I’ll also include a recipe for a delicious salad dressing made with the vinegar. It too is easy and takes less than a minute to make. Now there is no reason for you not to have homemade salad dressing with all your salads. So much better than bottled dressings!

Measurements are rough and can be adjusted to your taste. This dressing is quite runny so it coats your salad ingredients well. This will make enough dressing for 1 big salad or two side salads. Make more if you’re serving more people or want to have some on hand in the fridge. It keeps well for several days.

BERRY SALAD DRESSING: (Can be made with homemade or store bought berry vinegar)
– 1 heaping tablespoon mayonnaise (I used the fat reduced Olive Oil Hellmann’s. It’s really good and you’d never know it was fat reduced. I have done a taste test and honestly … no difference in flavour or texture).
– 1 tablespoon olive oil
– 1 tablespoon milk
– About 1/8 teaspoon salt or to taste
– About 1/8 teaspoon sugar
– 1 tablespoon berry vinegar (or more, depending on how vinegary you like your dressing.) I used the raspberry for this one pictured.

Mix it all together well and use on a tossed salad. I made mine with new leaf lettuce, cucumber slices, red pepper pieces, and tomato wedges. All topped with some seeds for protein … sunflower seeds and pumpkin seeds.

So there you have it. Homemade berry vinegars and homemade salad dressing! Easy and very good.

Here’s hoping your Friday leads to an excellent week-end!
xo loulou