img_1910If you’ve been following my posts lately, you’re probably wondering: why is she making all these vinegars? I mean, enough with the vinegars already. Well, truth-be-told, I am setting up a mobile pantry to take on the road. I will be leaving to care for a friend over the next 4-5 months during her convalescence after back surgery, and she has agreed to be my lab rat, which means she’ll be turning over her kitchen and pantry lock, stock, and proverbial barrel to me as her personal chef.

Part of her recovery plan is an anti-inflammatory diet to relieve a pre-existing condition brought on by years of eating the Standard American Diet (see post). This will prove to be a challenging undertaking for both parties, because the patient in question is a Mid-Western, die-hard, meat and potatoes kinda gal. So stay tuned to future posts as we move forward during her recovery.

And how does any of this pertain to vinegar?

I will be addressing the benefits of vinegar in a later post. For now, apple chutney immediately comes to mind with this infusion of curry spices, apples, and mint. Perfect for glazing apple galette’s and tarts, or savory enough to used as  bar-b-que glaze.

Recipe notes: What you will need: 1-qt Mason jar and strainer. Active prep time 10-minutes. Inactive time 1-2 weeks for curing. Vinegar yields 2-cups. Gastrique yields 2/3-1/2 cup. Cooking time 15-20minutes. Difficulty level: Very easy

Ingredients:

  • 2-apples (preferably granny smith or gala), cored and cut
  • 4-sprigs fresh mint
  • 2-sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1-shallot split lengthwise
  • 1-garlic clove, split lengthwise
  • 1-sm turmeric root, split lengthwise
  • 1/2 inch piece of ginger
  • 3- whole cardamom pods, halved
  • 1-clove
  • 1/2-cinnamon stick
  • 1/2-vanilla bean, split lengthwise
  • 2-dry arobol chiles broken, or 1/4-tsp dry chili flakes
  • 10-peppercorns
  • 2-slices fresh orange
  • 1/3-cup black currants or raisins
  • ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
  • 2-cups unfiltered apple cider vinegar

Preparation:

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  1. Place fruit and aromatics in jar.
  2. Heat vinegar in microwave and pour over ingredients.
  3. Allow to cool before securing lid.
  4. Let cure for 7-10 days.
  5. Strain and transfer to desired jar.

For gastrique/reduction:

  1. Pour vinegar into a 2-qt saucepan, add 1/4-cup Stevia and cook on high heat.
  2. Bring vinegar to a roaring boil and allow to boil for 5-minutes.
  3. Remove from heat and swirl pan till bubbles recede and steam completely dissipates. Do not stir.
  4. Return pan to heat continuing to swirl reduction in intervals between boiling points. Reduce vinegar by 3/4 or till you see a syrupy consistency developing, approximately 15-20 minutes. The last 5-minutes are crucial, this is when the sugars are caramelizing and the vinegar needs close attention.
  5. If starting with 16 ounces of liquid, you should end up with about 4-oz, or 1/2 cup.

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To test the reduction:

  1. Pour vinegar into heat-proof measuring cup.
  2. If it measures closer to 3/4 cup, return pan to burner and continue cooking and swirling. If it is only slightly over a 1/2 cup, better to error on the side of caution and under-reduce than over-reduce. Otherwise, the consistency will turn from a syrup to jelly when it cools.
  3. When in doubt do a spoon test.
  4. Allow reduction to cool completely and trail a tablespoon through the reduction, if syrup coats the spoon like honey, then you’ve reached the desired consistency. If it’s still too runny, return reduction to heat and bring to a full boil swirling in intervals between boiling points one or two more times.
  5. When completely cooled transfer to desired bottle