Herbal vinegars are one of my all time favorites. They are so versatile and you can utilize them in abundance.
Why do we want to use herbal vinegars?
We manly think of vinegar as more of a culinary ingredient than medicine right? And many of the herbs we would use in herbal vinegars can cross the line between medicine and food~and that is why I love them. Using herbs as food should be the beginning of your herbal medicine journey.
- Many people who avoid alcohol for whatever reason can use vinegar extracts as medicine.
- Vinegar extracts nutritive properties of herbs, making infused vinegars mineral rich (they also enhance the nutritive content of any foods they are paired with)
- Herbal vinegars add amazing flavor to our dishes and are a versatile way to incorporate herbs into our lives.
- Hot and spicy foods and herbs just go hand in hand with vinegar. It is the perfect vehicle to deliver those flavors.
While apple cider vinegar is the vinegar of choice to use, you can really work with any vinegar you would like. I sometimes like to mix it up and use white wine and balsamic for a variety of flavor profiles.
You will need to gather your supplies:
- sterile canning jars (with either a plastic lid or add wax paper between jar and metal lid)
- fresh and/or dried herbs
- choice of vinegar
- straining cloth (cheesecloth, muslin, etc)
- flip top bottle or reused vinegar bottle
- Fill your sterile jar (loosely 3/4 with fresh herbs and 1/2 full if you are using dried herbs) and fill to the top with vinegar (leave a few fingers -don’t fill to the rim).
- Label your jar with what herbs you used, what vinegar you used, and what date it is. Store in cool dark area for 4-6 weeks.
- Strain. Fill your vinegar bottles and label with herb, vinegar, and date.
- If you are using fresh herbs-refrigerate and use between 6 months and a year. If you are using dried herbs, there is no need to refrigerate and you can use up to 5 years.
- Compost your used herbs!
At this point, you might be wondering, now what?? Well, it depends! If you are wanting to work with more medicinal herbs as a replacement for an alcohol tincture, the standard dosage would be appx. 1 tsp (5ml) 3 times a day. If you are working with more nutritive herbs (nettles, chickweed, dandelion-anything you consider FOOD) then you can work with it in larger dosages-1 tablespoon (15ml) 3 times a day.
You can also use it in salad dressings, marinades, create shrubs (delicious herbal vinegar drinks), and also create oxymels such as fire cider. I also add a splash of herbal vinegars to my smoothies-yes, yes I do! One of my favorite things to do is gather a bunch of nutritive herbs in the spring and make a spring green tonic. Taking a few tablespoons of this daily is a wonderful way to get so many nutrients into your life.
I would love to see your herbal vinegars! Make sure to tag Wild Earth Herbals on Facebook or Instagram so I can see what you have created! You can also join my private group, The Herb Garden on Facebook to share your creations, too!