Sunday, September 29, 2013

Crosby’s Elderberry Vinegar


My cousin Patti’s husband, Paul Crosby is a Renaissance Man and a culinary DIYer. He makes honey straight from the hive, taught himself the art of blacksmithing, and has recently been lagering  his own beer at their home in western Vermont. What I’ve learned about Paul is when he sees something in the environment around him, eventually he finds an innovative way way to bring it into the kitchen or home. His latest creation, plucked from nature, is Crosby’s Elderberry Vinegar.
“Elderberries grow wild where I live,” explains Paul. “But, I'm actually growing my own berries.”
Paul says it takes up to three years to get good berries on the bush and he starts new plants by rooting each year.  The deep purple or blue elderberries are high in vitamin C, phosphorus and potassium and have medicinal benefits, including cold and flu prevention.  Paul describes the flavor as “sweet, fruity and tangy.” He uses the berries to make syrups, jelly and also dehydrates the berries.  
The inspiration for Crosby’s Elderberry Vinegar began with a bumper crop of berries.

“This year's crop was large so I was thinking of how I could use the extra berries,” says Paul.  “I've always had a interest in vinegars and how they were made, so I decided to try it. I searched for recipes and found a British recipe on line and tweaked it to my liking.”

According to Paul, the recipe just takes a little patience.  “I take three cups of ripe berries and seep them in a gallon of white vinegar for a week,” he explains.  He then strains the vinegar, adds sugar, and brings it to a boil on the stove for 20 minutes.
“I add just enough sugar to get the right combination of flavors the berries provide.”

Paul thinks Crosby’s Elderberry Vinegar hits that sweet spot of a healthful and uniquely culinary ingredient.  

“Why not make a vinegar that benefits the cook and get all the health benefits of the elderberries,” says Paul.  “I think cooks for restaurants can experiment with this vinegar and get some awesome recipes that people will enjoy.”
I have a great time experimenting with Crosby’s Elderberry Vinegar in the kitchen and use it three ways to prepare a salad of chicken and local greens and vegetables from Restoration Farm.   First, I marinate the chicken breast in a combination of one part vinegar and three parts olive oil.   I use additional marinade for basting.   The greens are dressed in vinaigrette using Crosby’s Elderberry Vinegar.  Finally, I drizzle the sliced chicken breasts with an elderberry vinegar reduction.   I boil about a quarter cup on the stove until it is reduced to the consistency of honey.   The jammy-purple color of the reduction provides a nice contrast to the chicken and the deep colors of the radishes and heirloom cherry tomatoes.
Paul is already tackling his next home grown culinary project – a specialty Vermont Acorn Vinegar with a nutty flavor he says goes well with wild game or makes a tasty dressing combined with Vermont Maple syrup. 

©2013 T.W. Barritt All Rights Reserved

15 comments:

Sam Hoffer @ My Carolina Kitchen said...

Paul is quite the entrepreneur. I too love to experiment with new flavored vinegars and his elderberry sounds fabulous. It must be wonderful to have a job that fulfills your passions. Sure makes getting up and going to worker a lot easier...
Sam

Lydia (The Perfect Pantry) said...

That is an absolutely gorgeous platter, and of course now I'm dying to try elderberry vinegar. Is he selling it anywhere?

Zany said...

Do I sense a joint family adventure sometime in the near future??

sophiesfoodiefiles said...

Waw, Paul is learning each time , something new! What a creative talented man! :)

His elderberry vinegar sounds really good. We have these plants in the wild, a lot, here in Belgium!

Laura Luciano said...

Love to try that Elderberry Vinegar! I want to grow vines up our concrete wall in within the courtyard at Sheridan Green... not certain yet what types of vines...

Gloria Baker said...

This sounds really delicious T.W!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for all the kind words! I do sell my vinegars presently at our local farmers market. I would love to sell anyone that wants a bottle. I'm still working on a box to fit the bottle but like the last one I sent I made a box to fit it. 12.00 plus shipping. The size of the bottle is 375 ml just over 12 oz. I bottled my first acorn vinegar this week and sent a bottle off to the co-op for a taste test. I'm very excited with the results. I made my first salad dressing using the vinegar mixed with maple syrup and it was outstanding! This vinegar will be available very soon!

Paul Crosby said...

I also have some elderberry syrups and elderberry jelly still available. One of the syrups is a sugar syrup and elderberry. The second syrup is what I call elderberry CF. It has honey, cinnamon, clove, ginger root and apple cider vinegar as well as elderberries. Both are great for cold prevention. Most stores that sell the syrups charge up to $20.00 per bottle. Mine sell for $8.00 for 8 oz. both are great for cold prevention. And great for recipes. The jelly is $6.00 + shipping. Thanks!

Catherine said...

Dear T.W., Sounds delicious and very creative. I love vinegar. Blessings, Catherine

deana sidney said...

I discovered that the wild bushes in my "hood" are the wrong kind of elderberry. They were sort of nasty, very small and bitter with just a whiff of elderberry. Although the flowers are fine, I couldn't work with the berries. That made me sad because I love elderberry vinegar... almost as much as elderflower which is my favorite. Tell Paul to try it in the spring... it was "the" vinegar in England for centuries.

Axelle the french cook said...

I'm unable to create. That's the reason why people who do it always amaze me. I would like to taste your cousin's vinagar !

~~louise~~ said...

I'm in awe of Paul's culinary and artistic creations. It just so happens that the Elder was selected as the Herb of the Year for 2013 by the International Herb Association. As a matter of fact, I have a Pinterest board devoted to Elderberries (I'll be pinning this post too:)

Many people don't realize that St. Germain is made from Elderflower Blossoms.

I love what you have done with this dish, T.W. Not only does it look inviting, the thought of boiling down Paul's Elderberry Vinegar to a honey consistency simple drives me wild. Any left? lol...

Thank you so much for sharing...

P.S. Enjoyed your article about St. Mark's:)

Karen (Back Road Journal) said...

Both the elderberry vinegar and your dish sound great...I like that you used it three ways. I used to have an elderberry bush right by my garden gate but the wild turkeys got all the berries before I ever could. :)

Paul Crosby said...

For anyone that would like to order my e-mail is

Ltpaulbtv@msn.com

Thanks!

Barbara said...

When I think of elderberry anything, I always think British. I'd say Paul went to the right source for information and ideas for recipes.
What an interesting man! His curiosity has led him to some fascinating ventures.
The vinegar sounds perfect with your salad, T.W. And the color is wonderful. Bet it was delicious.