Put cranberries, syrup and salt in a pan and heat over high heat until cranberries begin to pop. Remove from heat, let cool and then puree in a blender. Add vinegar and taste for balance. Add more vinegar and thin with water if necessary. Strain through a fine strainer into a bowl or pitcher. Store in a clean jar or bottle (do not use metal lids or tops) and refrigerate. Keeps several weeks.
Keep this syrup on hand to add to iced tea and other cold drinks or for poaching fruit. It does not need to be refrigerated. The vanilla is minced to make sure all its flavor is extracted into the syrup.
Put the sugar, water, vanilla beans, a pinch salt, and the thyme leaves in a pot and bring to a boil over high heat. Lower heat to a simmer and cook about 4 minutes, stirring occasionally. Let cool. Puree syrup in a blender until vanilla beans are thoroughly chopped into the syrup. Strain through a fine strainer into a sterilized jar. If using vanilla extract instead of beans, add extract after the sugar syrup has cooled and pour into a jar. Seal tightly.
Yield: 4 1/2 cups