Do I need to refrigerate vinaigrette?
January 20, 2006 9:34 AM   Subscribe

Do I need to refrigerate vinaigrette? I make a traditional vinaigrette: olive oil, vinegar, dijon mustard, herbs, salt, pepper. Do I need to refrigerate it?
posted by shothotbot to Food & Drink (13 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I don't. I did when I lived in a hot climate, but now I just keep it in a cool cabinet.

However, I don't usually have a lot of extra--I make it on the spot, and if there's any left I use it within the next day or two.

Do you put shallot in yours? I really think that a minced shallot takes a vinaigrette to a whole new level. Try subbing fresh lemon juice for all or part of the vinegar some time, as well.
posted by padraigin at 9:37 AM on January 20, 2006

How long do you plan to keep it?

If you put in things like shallots or garlic, both of which will spoil, and you want to keep it for more than a couple of days, then yes, refrigerate. (Remember to let it come back to room temp before you use it)

If you only use the ingredients you've mentioned, and you are not trying to keep it for more than a week, it's not strictly necessary.
posted by briank at 9:42 AM on January 20, 2006

I load it up with shallots and garlic and keep it on the counter for weeks and even months. For what it's worth, I'm still alive. I think the vinegar pickles the aromatics.
posted by CunningLinguist at 9:52 AM on January 20, 2006

posted by rxrfrx at 10:04 AM on January 20, 2006

Were the herbs fresh or dried? Fresh moist, aromatic herbs (basil) can oxidize and turn rancid. If your vinaigrette incorporates these herbs, refrigerate and use in 10 days.

Otherwise there's nothing in the listed ingridients that will spoil. Dried herbs will lose flavor and the oil, vinegar, and mustard will de-emulsify after a few days.
posted by junesix at 10:08 AM on January 20, 2006 [1 favorite]

Could someone who is a 'vinagrette afficianado' post their favorite recipe? They sound great..
posted by jmevius at 11:01 AM on January 20, 2006

Olive oil does not need refrigerating neither does vinegar thus neither does vinagrette.
posted by adamvasco at 11:15 AM on January 20, 2006

jmevius, 3 parts oil to 1 part acid. I like extra-virgin olive oil and lemon juice. Salt and pepper to taste. Mustard is optional.
posted by rxrfrx at 11:42 AM on January 20, 2006

Could someone who is a 'vinagrette afficianado' post their favorite recipe?

A true french vinaigrette is a thing of great beauty and deliciousness. The key is to emulsify the oil and vinegar. Irritating snobs like me swear by the traditional method of pouring some vinegar in a bowl and whisking in oil drop by drop until you have something as thick as mayo and then adding the other ingredients. But that's really hard to do, so the shortcut is to put a little dijon mustard in a jar, add your oil, vinegar and other stuff, seal it and shake it like a madman. The mustard emulsifies the oil and vinegar, at least for a few hours.

Ingredients-wise, go nuts. After you have the basic oil and vinegar, salt and pepper, the rest is up to you. Most recipes call for 1:3 or 1:4 ratio of vinegar to oil. I like it tart so often go half half. Herbs are good but not crucial.

Keys to a great vinaigrette:
- use some minced shallots. garlic is good too and a mix is best, but shallots are key.
- use really good olive oil and really good vinegar.
- sherry vinegar is the best (or a mix of sherry vinegar and red wine vinegar). Balsamic vinegar is way too sweet for me but some people like it.
- using some lemon juice is good too.
- a few drops of plain water is a great secret trick: it lightens the dressing a bit and also seems to make it tastier. I can't explain why.
posted by CunningLinguist at 11:53 AM on January 20, 2006 [1 favorite]

My current fav is salt + pepper + olive oil + balsamic vinegar + honey. I only make enjoy to lightly drizzle over the salad because it is after very sweet. It may be a little, but it packs a delicious punch.
posted by mmascolino at 4:31 PM on January 20, 2006

Not sure if this will help you, but I make salads daily, and I never make a dressing separately. I just work it right into the salad. To begin, I chop some garlic or shallots right into the bowl, then pour some olive oil on top, grind in some salt, and add pepper or dried herbs or whatever. Next I tear up the leaves (make the pieces small enough, please!) and any other ingredients. I mix all of that up, drizzling in whatever juice or vinegar I'm using for sourness as I go.
posted by tangerine at 8:43 PM on January 20, 2006

I frequently make vinaigrettes incorporating juice from whatever fruit is in season. Right now small mandarin oranges are filling the farmer's market stands so I bought a small box of them. For the vinaigrette, I mash the juice and bits of pulp into a bowl, pour in a small amount of vinegar (since there's already plenty of acid from the mandarin), and whisk in olive oil. Light salt and pepper to taste. The leftover pulp I chop up finely and toss with salad and vinaigrette.
posted by junesix at 11:05 PM on January 20, 2006

I didn't ask the original question, but I made a spinach salad for a bbq with a bunch of friends today, and wanted to report back on the success. It was a big hit, everyone liked it.

I took a half cup measuring cup, filled it 3/4 with vinegar and topped it off with lemon juice, and added a tablespoon of french dijion mustard, a tablespoon of minced shallots, and a teaspoon of garlic I pushed through a garlic press. I added a teaspoon of sugar, and a teaspoon of salt, and then mixed everything together. Then I added 1.25 cups of extra virgin olive oil, closed up the container, and shook it pretty vigorously for about 30 seconds. When I was done, I opened it up, stirred the dressing a couple times, and it was a perfect french-style vinaigrette with a near-mayo consistency.

Anyways, I wanted to thank everyone who answered shothotbot's question, my salad turned out perfect and it wouldn't have if this thread hadn't popped up the day before I made it. Thanks!
posted by beaverd at 8:42 PM on January 21, 2006 [1 favorite]

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