It's spring in the Pacific Northwest and the ornamental plum blossoms are positively frilly with blossoms. And as we all know, they're here for a good time, not a long time. So, now is the time to capture their sweet scent in a bottle. For the last couple of weeks, I've been experimenting with different ways to preserve the plum blossom's swoony sweetness. I came up with a heady cordial and a concentrated syrup that I've been adding to sparkling water, tea and even as a flavouring for the prettiest meringues you'll ever lay eyes on. I'll post recipes soon. But for right now, I can tell the trees are preparing to let loose a blossom blizzard. Time is of the flower essence. Enter plum blossom vinegar.
- 2 cups of washed, de-crittered ornamental plum blossoms, lightly packed
- 1 cup white wine or champagne vinegar (use whatever kind you like - I used white because I really wanted pink vinegar)
Heat the vinegar in a small pot over low heat until it's warm. No need to boil here. Just imagine what boiling vinegar will do to those delicate little blossoms!
Sterilize a 500ml mason jar and ring.
Put your blossoms in the jar and cover with warm vinegar.
Let the vinegar cool and put a square of parchment or wax paper over the opening of the jar and screw on the ring. Vinegar and metal sometimes don't play nice together.
Put your infusion in a dark cupboard and forget about it for two weeks minimum. Really, the longer you leave it the better.
After your long patient wait, you pour the vinegar through a piece of muslin or a coffee filter to remove all the plant matter.
Decant into a pretty bottle and pop a few fresh blossoms (if they're still around) into the bottle for the sake of prettiness.
This vinegar smells like spring and has a fantastic tart, floral flavour. You will now make the best salad dressings of your life. Me? I love adding a teaspoon to sparkling water for a nice tart drink. And remember how I mentioned meringues earlier, a dash of this makes them more stable and imparts even more blossomy goodness. Furthermore, if you're the giving sort, this is a perfect gift for the people you really like. Mother's Day is coming up. It always is.