Infused vinegars can be made with so many different items and have a variety of uses. Depending on the ingredients, try them as a salad dressing, meat or vegetable marinade, laundry rinse, household cleaner and even beauty care (hair rinse, body splash, etc.). I have several recipes below that you can make with ingredients ranging from fruits (raspberries, cranberries, citrus peels) to herbs, spices and even flowers.
A few tips before getting started:
- Sterilized jars are a must if you plan to use them for cooking
- Do not allow vinegar to touch metal
- You can dilute the vinegar if it’s too strong for your tastes–let sit a few days after diluting
- For gift-giving, add a fresh sprig of a complimentary herb to the bottle for a decorative effect. Tie the bottle with a bit of raffia, attach a gift card with recipe & instructions for usage.
*First published October 26, 2006 and moved to this page for better organization
1 cup finely chopped mixed fresh herbs (try basil, chives, mint, parsley)
2 cups white wine vinegar
Heat resistant jar with lid
- Place chopped herbs in jar.
- Heat the vinegar in a glass pot (or non-reactive pot) and then pour over the herbs.
- Seal jar with lid and steep for three weeks.
- While steeping, shake the jar every other day.
- After three weeks, strain out the herbs and pour the herb vinegar into a spray bottle.
- Combat odors by spritzing in the air
- Pet deodorizer (avoid spraying in face)
- Use on salads
- Clean glass
- Sunburn care
*First published September 17, 2007
Found this great recipe in a file download from West Michigan Environmental Action Council (update: removed pdf link, it’s no longer available). I tried it and loved it–here’s what I did:
- Fill a large, wide mouth jar with citrus peels (such as lemons, oranges, limes, grapefruits). Cover the peels with white household vinegar. Let brew for four weeks, shaking the jar occasionally (just to mix it up a bit). Strain (I did this twice).
- Use as a laundry booster  (I just tossed it in with the whites), window cleaner, floor cleaner, counter tops, appliances (Dilute in water–1/2 cup per gallon of water works well). For a stovetop grease buster I just sprayed it on undiluted. Test surfaces first before using.
- Before filling the jar, I made sure the citrus peels were scrubbed well in baking soda and water  to remove any chemicals or pesticides. It’s a lot easier if you do this before peeling the fruit!
- To collect the peels, throughout the week store all the citrus peels in a baggy or airtight container and refrigerate. If your household doesn’t go through a lot of fruit in a week, just chop up what peels you have and fill a small glass jar (or even spray bottle) with peels and cover with vinegar. To make a big jar, you need a lot of peels. You could try freezing the peels and then thawing the bunch when you have enough, I haven’t tested that though.
*First published December 8, 2006 and moved to this page for better organization
You can use cranberry vinegar as a salad dressing, a meat marinade or drizzle over cooked poultry and meat for a nice flavor. You can also cook it down as a reduction sauce to spoon over meats and side dishes.
Here are a few recipes I have in my stash, each one is simple to make.
1/2 cup dried cranberries
2 tablespoons sugar
3/4 cup water
3/4 cup Champagne vinegar
- In a saucepan, combine the cranberries, sugar, water, vinegar and salt, and bring to a boil.
- Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for 5 minutes.
- Transfer to a bowl and let cool. In a blender, puree the ingredients on high speed.
- Pour into an airtight container and keep at room temperature.
Source: Emeril Lagasse 
#2 – Festive
1 quart white wine vinegar
2 cups fresh cranberries, divided into 1 cup portions
3 sticks cinnamon
1/2 cup honey
- Combine vinegar, 1 cup cranberries and the cinnamon in a saucepan, bring to a boil.
- Remove from heat, allow to stand for 2 minutes. Stir in honey.
- Pare a strip of rind from the orange (about a 1/4″ wide), reserving rest of the orange for other uses.
- Thread the remaining cranberries and the orange rind on skewers; place in decorative bottles or jars. Divide rind evenly among bottles, cut into pieces if necessary.
- Strain mixture and discard cranberries. Pour liquid over skewers in bottles. Store at room temperature for at least 2 weeks to let flavor develop.
#3 – Quick & Easy
2 cups cider vinegar
1/4 cup fresh cranberries (crush lightly first)
- Put cranberries in a sterilized glass jar.
- Bring vinegar to a boil then pour over cranberries.
- Cool ingredients to room temperature, then seal. Set aside in a cool spot for between 2 to 3 weeks.
- Strain the mixture through a cheesecloth or paper coffee filter and pour into decorative jars.
*First published February 20, 2008 and moved to this page for better organization
Try this on salads or drizzled over roast meats.
4 cups white wine vinegar
2 cups raspberries (fresh or frozen, thawed)
1/4 cup sugar
4 sprigs fresh thyme (or 1 tsp dried)
1.5L jar, sterilized with lid
- Mix all ingredients in a large sterilized glass jar, seal and let stand at room temperature (in dark) for 2 weeks. Shake occasionally.
- Strain the mixture, discard fruit and herbs. Strain again through cheesecloth.
- Pour into clean, sterilized jars and refrigerate.
- Use within 4 weeks.
*First published December 1, 2006 and moved to this page for better organization
Lavender is a wonderfully fragrant herb that can be used in cooking. When combined with vinegar, it can also be used for cleaning. Looks pretty and smells nice!
Handful of Lavender flowers
1 Pint White Vinegar
- Combine items, seal and let sit for 6 weeks before using.
- Fill a jar with lavender (both flowers and stems)
- Pour cider vinegar over top, seal jar and refrigerate
- Shake daily for two weeks
- Strain and use
Raspberry & Lavender – #3
1 cup fresh raspberries
5 sprigs of Lavender (approx)
1 quart white wine vinegar
1/3 cup sugar
- Place the raspberries in a large 2 quart jar
- Heat the vinegar with sugar and 1 sprig of lavender until the sugar dissolves (don’t boil)
- Pour over berries in the jar and mash
- Seal jar and store in a dark, cool place for 3 weeks
- After three weeks, strain jar mixture and divide into sterilized jars (or other glass containers), placing a small sprig of lavender in each
This would not be suitable for cleaning or beauty aids–cooking additive only.
1 cup fresh lavender (or 1/2 cup dried)
2 tsp lemon zest
2 cups raw apple cider vinegar
- In a canning jar (quart size), pour vinegar over lavender and lemon zest
- Cover with plastic wrap and seal with jar lid. Store in a cool, dark place for four weeks
- Shake daily
- Strain and then pour in decorative jars and bottles
- Use in cooking
2 TBS dried lavender buds
2 cups red vinegar
- Bring to boil and remove from heat
- Set aside for 15 minutes
- Store sealed in refrigerator; use for cooking
Tips to making:
- After straining and ready to use, you can add fresh lavender for cosmetic reasons (looks pretty!)
- You can use for up to a year if you just plan on using it for cleaning and beauty aids
Uses for lavender vinegar:
- Fruit & vegetable salad dressing
- Marinade for meats and vegetables
- Use to clean floors, mirrors, glass (smells wonderful)–don’t use the sugar recipes for cleaning
- Hair rinse (adds shine and helps with dandruff–dilute first and use 1 part vinegar to 8 part water ratio)
- Facial rinse, blemish aid (dilute with water, use a 1 part vinegar to 8 part water ratio)
- Body splash/deodorizer
- Use in facials (good for oily skin)
- Laundry rinse
- Add to baths
Summer Floral Bath Splash
*First published June 1, 2009 and moved here for better organization
Fresh flowers, herbs, aromatic leaves (pesticide free)
- Fill a sterilized mason jar with assorted fresh flowers and leaves, filling jar at least half full.
- Pour cider vinegar over all, filling the jar to the top. Cover with lid, seal and shake well.
- Place jar in sunny location. Shake or swirl contents daily.
- After 10 days, strain then bottle a 50/50 mix of distilled water and the batch of floral vinegar. Refrigerate.
Use in baths and as a skin spritz refresher on hot summer days.
Floral Ideas: Fresh geranium leaves, rosemary, lemon balm, rose petals, lavender
You’ll also find a recipe using rose petals listed here: Rose Petal Beauty Aids  (you’ll find it at the bottom of the page).
Need more ideas to make pretty bath spa items with your garden flowers? See How To Make Rose Water  (includes some for lavender too).