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How to make fruit balsamic vinegar

Author and gardener Stephanie Hafferty shares her recipe for making a fruit balsamic vinegar using soft fruits such as blackcurrants, blackberries, raspberries, or strawberries.

A small bottle of red-pink coloured vinegar, next to a pot of fresh raspberries.

Rich, sweet and fruity, this fruit balsamic vinegar is delicious as a cordial and makes a fabulous glaze for roasted vegetables. It’s a great way of quickly preserving summer and autumn fruit gluts, whether from your garden or allotment, or from foraging in the wider countryside.

Replace the balsamic with red or white wine or cider vinegar, as you wish.

As well as the ingredients listed below, you will need a large glass jar with a noncorrosive lid, and bottles or jars for storing with noncorrosive lids.

How to identify wild fruits

Blackberries. © Faba Photography/Getty
Blackberries. © Faba Photography/Getty

Autumn is a bountiful time of fruits, when trees and bushes seem to be dripping with beautiful berries – great for both wildlife and keen foragers.

Some of these berries are safe for humans to eat, although a few (such as elderberries) do need to be cooked first. Care must be taken as there are some safe fruits which can be easily mixed up with poisonous ones. If in doubt of plant identification, do not forage.

Learn about identifying wild fruits (both edible and poisonous) in our illustrated guide.


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Ingredients

  • Soft fruit (blackcurrants, blackberries, raspberries, strawberries, etc.) 1 kg
  • Balsamic vinegar 600 ml
  • Unbleached granulated sugar 700g, approximately, see recipe
  • Optional extras: spices or herbs: 
1 cinnamon stick, piece of ginger the size of your thumb, sliced, ½ tsp cloves, 2-3 sprigs of rosemary, thyme or lemon verbena

Method

  • Step 1

    Clean the fruit and check for stalks and insects. Dry with a clean cloth and pour into the jar. Mash lightly with a potato masher or muddler. Add spices or herbs if using.

    Pour the vinegar into the jar, stir and seal. Place in a cool, dark cupboard for a week, shaking every day.

  • Step 2

    Strain into a large container through a muslin lined sieve or jelly bag. Cover with a clean damp tea towel (to stop flies visiting) and leave the fruit to drip overnight.

  • Step 3

    The next day, prepare your clean bottles for the hot liquid by putting them in a low oven 130oC (275oF/gas mark ½) making sure they are not touching (this also sterilises them).

    Remove the lids and place on the rack separately, after making sure that they are ovenproof. If you are using lids with a plastic coating on the inside, put these in a bowl of boiling water.

    Leave the jars in the oven for 30 minutes. Use tongs and oven gloves to remove when you’re ready to fill them.

  • Step 4

    Measure the fruit vinegar into a large pan. For each 500ml (17fl.oz/2 cups) liquid, add 400g (14oz/2 cups) sugar and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat to a gentle boil and cook for 10 minutes.

  • Step 5

    Carefully pour using a funnel into the hot jars. Wipe the tops with a damp cloth before sealing and place on a wooden board or table to cool. Label when cool. The vinegar is ready immediately and will store in a cool place for up to a year. Keep in the fridge once opened.


Stephanie Hafferty is an award winning ­author, organic no dig kitchen gar­dener, writer, blogger and chef, specialising in seasonal plant based food. She is passion­ate about sharing her knowledge of growing and cooking to feed families and communities. Stephanie regularly writes for Perma­culture Magazine and other publications, gives talks, workshops and courses on food growing, seasonal cooking and making potions for the home and garden. Find out more on her website.

StephanieHafferty. © CharlesDowding

This is a recipe from The Creative Kitchen, published by Permaculture, £19.95.

Buy now from: 

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Main image: Homemade raspberry vinegar and fresh raspberries. © Getty

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