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Berry-Berry Vinegar captures the essence of summer, and is a welcome Christmas gift for family and friends. This colorful berry vinegar is great in salad dressings; it’s particularly delightful on a spinach salad. Or add a little oil and try marinating poultry in it before grilling or broiling. Label your vinegar and include suggestions for use, and voila! You've made a perfect Christmas gift.

Berry-Berry Vinegar

Special equipment: 1-quart wide-mouth jar, funnel, paraffin (if desired)

Preparation time: 15 minutes

Cooking time: 2 minutes

Yield: 2 cups

1-1/2 cups raspberries

1 cup blackberries

2 cups white wine vinegar

1 tablespoon sugar

6 to 8 blackberries for optional garnish (needed 10 to 14 days later)

  1. Rinse the raspberries and blackberries and drain on paper towels. Pat as dry as possible. Crush the berries slightly in a small bowl. Transfer to a wide-mouth jar.

  2. Bring the vinegar to a boil in a small saucepan. Remove from the heat. Dissolve the sugar in it and pour over the berries.

  3. Allow the berries to cool to room temperature. Screw on the cover and store in a cool spot (not the refrigerator) for 10 to 14 days.

  4. Taste after 10 days for flavor. If it’s not strong enough, let it sit longer. If the flavor is strong enough, strain out the old berries. Pour into a gift bottle. (Use a funnel if needed.) If you want, add a garnish of fresh, clean, mold-free raspberries and blackberries. Seal with top and dip in paraffin, if desired.

    Be sure to discard any old or moldy berries before giving this vinegar as a gift.

Vary it: Add 2-1/2 cups of your favorite fruit to 2 cups of white wine or cider vinegar. Red wine vinegar can also be used for additional color. Or try strawberries and champagne vinegar for an elegant taste treat.

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