The weather is turning, and while the fall colors are lovely, they also herald the end of fresh produce. Bummer. The bigger issue, though, is what to do with everything you harvest in October. Using fresh fruits and veggies is easy, but preserving delicious goodies to crack open in the cold winter months is equally so - it just takes a little bit of know-how, and a healthy dose of VINEGAR. Let’s start simple, with raspberry vinegar.
This is less of a recipe and more of a loose process that I learned from my mom growing up. You only need 3 ingredients, and you are welcome to level up the ratios depending on how many raspberries you have to work with.
1 pint fresh raspberries (I would suggest against frozen, as their consistency might lead to a murky, clumpy product)
1 16oz bottle of (cheap) red wine vinegar
1 C. sugar
Yields ~2 C. vinegar after reduction
Wash your berries in a colander (if you haven’t already) and pick out any rotten pieces.
Combine with the vinegar in a glass or ceramic bowl and cover with a plate. You can leave it on the counter, or put it in the fridge if you’d like, and let it do its thing for 2-3 days (longer is fine if storing in the fridge).
After the 2-3 days are up, pour the vinegar into a pot on the stove using a fine-mesh strainer. Gently press out as much of the liquid held in the berries as possible without turning the vinegar cloudy. Discard the spent raspberries - or better yet, compost them. Vinegar and old wine are great for compost piles!
Add the sugar to the vinegar and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Whisk gently, boiling for 3-5 minutes. When the mixture begins to get syrupy (slightly thinner than maple syrup), take off of the heat.
Let the vinegar cool for a bit, then carefully pour into a rubber-stopped glass bottle using a funnel (I use one of the flask funnels we have in our utensil drawer). If you don’t have glass bottles, a small mason jar should also work.
Use your fresh raspberry vinegar on salad, as a marinade, or as a drink mixer (seriously!). It should keep for at least 3-4 months, or longer depending on how it is stored. I like to keep ours in a cool, dark cupboard, and is normally used up way before it could go rancid. Just watch to make sure the smell or taste stays consistent, and that it doesn’t turn cloudy.
A little taste of early fall for you to enjoy through the cold months!