In my garden at home in England I loved to grow fruits and vegetables. Each year we would plant seeds, sowing them carefully in rows and watering with true dedication. While growing chard and potatoes was fun, nothing can compare to the joy of eating a berry fresh from your very own garden. My very favourite fruit is raspberries and so when we built our garden we made a little raspberry patch in a raised bed in one corner.
Each year it gets filled with more and more canes and the raspberries start making a break for it out of the bed. They are tenacious and greedy for space, throwing up new shoots all over the garden which we have to hastily remove to stop them choking out all our other plants. Luckily they are also generous with their fruit, which makes that little bit of effort really worthwhile.
The raspberries are plentiful, plump and perfect for popping straight in your mouth off the cane. In fact usually it’s not until the late summer glut that I have any extra left over to cook with! However, when the glut arrives the first thing I make is a delicious raspberry vinegar. That way I have that fabulous raspberry flavour in my larder for the rest of the year.
This is a recipe which I think came originally from Nigel Slater and has been adapted and changed a little since. Because I am now in Barcelona and don’t have a glut of raspberries to work with I scaled it down to make just a small amount. It scales well, just keep an eye on the sugar levels. The raspberries here are sweet and very ripe, so I toned down the sugar a little. If yours are more tart, or you would prefer a sweeter vinegar, then you can add a little more.
This keeps really well in a cool dark place – mine lasts at least 3 months. When I made a big batch I had some which I used for around 6 months and it still seemed fine to me. I’ve never had any which lasts longer because I always get greedy and eat it up. It is delicious with salads and goes very well with middle eastern and Moroccan-style flavours. I like to make a simple green salad, cook some chicken with a dukkah spice rub and then dress the salad with this vinegar and a very good olive oil. Perfection.
Raspberry vinegar gives a dish a sweetness with a refreshing fruity edge without either one getting overpowering. It is a glorious rich clear ruby colour, goes especially well with peppery flavours and is a wonderful summer treat. Oh, and did I mention it’s super easy to make? You don’t have to have top notch equipment or chef’s skills, just plenty of time. The only difficult step is number 8… to leave the vinegar for 2 weeks before eating!
200g white wine vinegar
30g sugar (use 35g if you want a sweeter flavour) – I have used both white refined and golden sugar. It didn’t make a difference so I will use golden in the future.
How to make Raspberry Vinegar
- Wash your raspberries – this is especially important when you are going to preserve something.
- Put in a large bowl and crush them gently with a fork
- Pour over your white wine (or cider) vinegar and give it all a stir
- Leave for minimum 48 hrs. If you can leave it a little longer, then do.
- Drain the fruit through muslin into a stainless steel pan. Muslin, if you have it, will ensure you get a crystal clear vinegar. If you use a sieve it will taste fine but may be a little cloudy. If you are draining through muslin then leave it to drip for a couple of hours. In a sieve just press the liquid through and keep going!
- Add the sugar, stir and bring to the boil. You need to simmer it for around 10 mins and skim off any bits which float to the top.
- Leave to cool and then pour into well sterilised bottles.
- Leave for two weeks before eating.
Great in marinades, sauces, dressings and to roast vegetables. Raspberry vinegar can be used in place of stronger vinegars like balsamic or white wine for a gentler, sweeter taste.