Sweet basil is in full perfection about the middle of August. Fill a wide-mouthed bottle with the fresh green leaves of basil (these give much finer and more flavor than the dried,) and cover them with vinegar, or wine, and let them steep for ten days: if you wish a very strong essence, strain the liquor, put it on some fresh leaves, and let them steep fourteen days more.
This is a very agreeable addition to sauces, soups, and to the mixture usually made for salads.
It is a secret the makers of mock turtle may thank us for telling; a table-spoonful put in when the soup is finished will impregnate a tureen of soup with the basil and acid flavors, at very small cost, when fresh basil and lemons are extravagantly dear.
The flavor of the other sweet and savory herbs, celery, etc. may be procured, and preserved in the same manner by infusing them in wine or vinegar.
Boil six gallons of water, and add, while it is hot, four quarts of molasses; put it into a tub to cool; when milk warm, stir in a pint of fresh yeast; put it into the cask, and set it by the fire for twenty-four hours; then put it in the sun, with a bottle in the bung-hole. Bottle it three months afterwards.
This is made in precisely the same maimer as directed above. The flavor of burnet resembles cucumber so exactly, that when infused in vinegar, the nicest palate would pronounce it to be cucumber. This is a very favorite relish with cold meat, salads, etc.
Cayenne pepper, one drachm, avoirdupois weight. Soy, two table-spoonfuls. Walnut ketchup, four ditto. Six anchovies chopped. A small clove of garlic, minced fine. Steep all for a month in a pint of the best vinegar, frequently shaking the bottle: strain through a tamis, and keep it in small bottles, corked as tightly as possible.
This is commonly made with the foreign bird pepper; but you will obtain a much finer flavor from infusing fifty fresh red English Chilies (cut in half, or pounded) in a pint of the best vinegar for a fortnight, or a quarter of an ounce of cayenne pepper. Many people cannot eat fish without the addition of an acid and cayenne pepper: to such palates this will be an agreeable relish
Dry and pound half an ounce of cress-seed (such as is sown in the garden with mustard,) pour upon it a quart of the best vinegar, let it steep ten days, shaking it,up everyday. This is very strongly flavored with cress; and for salads and cold meats, etc. it is a great favorite with many.
Celery vinegar is made in the same manner.
Fill a quart bottle with the flowers of elder, or the leaves of tarragon, when it is in flower; pour vinegar upon them, and let them infuse for a fortnight; then strain it through a flannel bag, and put it into small bottles. By the same means, vinegar may be flavored with the fresh gathered leaves of any sweet herb.