05 June 2019
Making Herbal Vinegars
This is the time of year I love to stock up my kitchen cabinet with herbal vinegars. Not only are they tasty, they are also rich with minerals. Homemade wild herb vinegars are delicious in salad dressing, on cooked greens, in marinades, or in sauces.
My most recent harvest for herbal vinegar making, is a big beautiful bowl of red clover blossoms, volunteering in great abundance in my garden paths . . .
What's so special about the herbal vinegars? Our soils and our bodies in these times are chronically depleted of minerals, contributing to many health challenges, especially in the hormonal, nervous, and immune systems. It is easier for the body to digest and absorb minerals from a wild plant–which our ancestors evolved with–than from a tablet! Because of its acidity, vinegar is the best medium for extracting the minerals from these nutritious wild plants.
Many of the wild edible and medicinal plants are well suited to herbal vinegar making, with a variety of flavors that are fun to experiment with. My herbal vinegar favorites include (left to right) chickweed, comfrey, red clover and violet.
To make your own wild herbal vinegar, follow these easy steps:
1. Pack a jar full of plant material. If you are using more than one plant, brew them separately so you can get to know what each of them tastes and feels like. You can always combine the finished product later.
2. Fill the jar to the top with apple cider vinegar (raw, organic vinegars give you beneficial microorganisms much like yogurt does).
3. Since vinegar rusts metal, a cork or plastic top is preferable. Placing a piece of waxed paper or plastic between a metal lid and the jar works too.
4. Label your jar with the plant name and date harvested.
5. Check the jar once each week or so, to see if the plant material is sticking above the level of the vinegar. If so, top it off with more vinegar.
6. After six weeks, strain out the plant material and bottle the vinegar for your kitchen cabinet. Enjoy on greens, in salad dressings, or marinades–or take a spoonful in water as a daily tonic.