Food

Spring Herbal Vinegar with Dandelion, Nettle & Comfrey

For us, the season of Spring is a beautiful and abundant time for making herbal medicine. Herbal vinegars are one of our favourite things to make this time of year and have become a real staple in our kitchen. Infusing herbs in raw apple cider vinegar is such a simple, delicious and effective way of drawing out the potent minerals and vitamins from the plants. Head out into nature and you’ll be sure to find many wild herbs that you can bring back to the kitchen. Often, we can be lured into believing that health has to come from expensive superfoods or supplements, but these wild herbs have many medicinal properties and are completely free to forage (or can be grown easily at home).

Spring Herbal Vinegar Dandelion Nettle
Spring Herbal Vinegar Dandelion Nettle
Spring Herbal Vinegar Dandelion Nettle
Spring Herbal Vinegar Dandelion Nettle
Spring Herbal Vinegar Dandelion Nettle
Spring Herbal Vinegar Dandelion Nettle

Although this vinegar is rich in nutrients, the main reason we make it again and again is because it tastes so delicious. It’s an amazing ally to have in the kitchen to make tasty salad dressings, blend into dips and sauces, add to soups or stews or even put on roast vegetables for a burst of flavour. Even though this is a recipe, we invite you to be creative and adapt it depending on what you have growing or can forage, what flavours you like or what medicinal qualities you’d like to include (for example, if your family suffers a lot with sore throats then thyme would be an excellent herb to add). We also have a recipe for the well-loved Fire Cider Vinegar that is amazing for fighting viruses. Below we’ve listed some more ideas for herbs/roots/ingredients that work really well:

Spices/etc
Garlic
Onion
Ginger
Orange/Lemon Peel
Cloves
Cardamom
Chilli
Cinnamon

Herbs
Dandelion leaves or root Tarragon
Mint Lemon Balm
Oregano Sage
Fennel Bay Leaves
Stinging Nettle Comfrey Leaf
Rosemary Nasturtium petal
Thyme
Dill
Chives


In our Spring Herbal Vinegar that you see pictured, we used dandelion leaf, nettles, rosemary, comfrey leaf, bay leaf and sage. Our preferred vinegar is raw apple cider vinegar because of the flavour and live cultures it contains, however you can use other varieties like red or white wine vinegar.

Method
1. Using your hands or a pair of scissors, cut or tear your chosen herbs into small pieces and lightly fill a clean jar. You don’t want to overpack the jar. Any ingredients like garlic or ginger should be finely diced.
2. Next, pour the vinegar over the herbs and fill the jar.
3. Using the end of a wooden spoon, push down the herbs and allow any air bubbles to rise to the surface.
4. Screw on the lid of your jar. Vinegar reacts with metal so using a plastic lid is preferred. However, if you don’t have this you can place a piece of baking paper between the jar and the lid (as seen in the photo).
5. Label the jar with the date and leave for 4-6 weeks. We like to leave ours on the kitchen surface and give it a shake every few days with some good intentions!
6. After 4-6 weeks you can strain the vinegar and compost any herbs or plant material. Now the vinegar is ready to be enjoyed!

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What herbs are growing near you this time of year?
Have you ever made a herbal vinegar?

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Herbal Infusions for Vibrant Health - Nettle & Oatstraw Infusion

I once read a wise herbalist recommend drinking herbal infusions instead of water and this advice has stuck with me ever since. Once I felt the potency of these infusions for myself, I understood how they could lead to more vibrancy, more energy & better immunity. Herbal infusions are also delicious, refreshing, calming, hydrating, beautifying - the list goes on, and there’s an abundance of herbs and combinations you can enjoy. We hope this post inspires you to try making your own infusion and enjoy all the beautiful herbs that are growing this Springtime!

herbal infusions

What exactly is a herbal infusion?
A herbal infusion or herbal brew is when a herb (or combination or herbs) are steeped in hot water for a long time (between 4-12 hours). Unlike a herbal tea bag, this is a strong brew, meaning that much more of the plant’s medicinal qualities, vitamins and minerals are extracted by the water. Steeping the herbs in a closed jar stops the water-soluble vitamins from escaping in the steam. It’s common to brew the herbs overnight, & then strain away the plant matter the next morning. You can then drink this infusion throughout the day, or refrigerate it and drink it within 2 days.

What herbs can you use?
There are so many delicious and nourishing herbs that you can work with. Our advice is to do some research on some different herbs in your area or that are available for you to buy dried and see which ones you feel most called to. Some of our favourites are nettles, lemon balm, chickweed, red clover, dandelion, oat straw, hibiscus, comfrey leaf, rose petals & raspberry leaf.

Recipe for Nettle & Oatstraw Infusion

This is one of my favourite infusions as it’s so delicious and mineralising. Nettles are full of vitamins and minerals like iron and calcium. It was the first herb that I infused and remains my go-to ally! Oatstraw helps regulate the nervous system and has an incredible sweetness to it. I find it such a calming and soothing herb to work with.

*note - this recipe uses dried herbs. If using fresh (which I really enjoy and recommend), then you want to use a lot more plant matter. If using fresh I will fill the jar 2/3 full with fresh herbs, depending on how much I can forage.

2 parts Nettle Leaf
1 part Oatstraw

  1. In a large mason jar (that holds around 1 litre) add 4 tablespoons of nettle leaf and 2 tablespoon of oat straw. (you can also use a French Press and adjust the amounts depending on how large your container is).

  2. Bring water to boil and then fill the jar up to the brim.

  3. Cover and steep overnight (or between 4 - 12 hours).

  4. Strain the infusion, composting the plant matter. Enjoy 2-3 cups a day. The infusion will keep refrigerated for 2-3 days.


If you have any questions regarding herbal infusions please comment below <3
Is this your first time trying herbal infusions? If not, what are your favourite herbs to work with?

Mushroom Stew with Oyster, Shiitake & Chestnut Mushrooms

As we move towards Winter Solstice here, we’re continuing to crave meals that are warming, hearty & full of grounding veggies. For us, there’s something really satisfying about cooking up a big pot of soup or stew and eating it over a few days. This mushroom stew is one of our favourite recent creations. If you’ve read the blog before you’ll know we’re pretty mad for mushrooms, whether they be the culinary or medicinal types. As well as being really delicious and full of earthy, aromatic flavours, this stew also has a lot of healing potential from mushrooms such as oyster, shiitake and maitake. These different types of mushrooms bring so much flavour to the stew and have a somewhat meat-like texture too.

You can find these varieties of mushrooms in many supermarkets these days, or they can be found at farmer’s markets or asian grocers. If for some reason these speciality mushrooms aren’t available to you, you could just use all chestnut or button mushrooms in the stew- the flavour won’t be as intense but it will still be tasty!

Mushroom Stew with Oyster Shiitake Chesnut
Mushroom Stew with Oyster Shiitake Chesnut
Mushroom Stew with Oyster Shiitake Chesnut
Mushroom Stew with Oyster Shiitake Chesnut
Mushroom Stew with Oyster Shiitake Chesnut
Mushroom Stew with Oyster Shiitake Chesnut

INGREDIENTS
3 medium onions, sliced
6 cloves of garlic, chopped finely
4 large bay leaves
600g of mushrooms, chopped into bitesized pieces (we used a mixture of chestnut, shiitake, oyster & maitake)
1 tablespoon of brown miso paste
1 tablespoon of tamari
2 teaspoons of sweet paprika
500ml of vegetable stock
25g of dried mushrooms (we use porcini)
250ml of oat cream (we use oatly)
200ml of oat milk (or another non-dairy milk)
1/2 teaspoon of good quality salt
1/2 teaspoon of ground black pepper

METHOD
1. Heat the vegetable stock and add the dried mushrooms, turn off the heat, cover and leave to soak.
2. In a large saucepan, heat 3 tablespoons of oil and fry the onions and bay leaves together on a low heat for 20-30 minutes, until the onions are golden and beginning to caramelise.
3. Next add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds, then add a tablespoon of water to the pan and add the paprika, cook for 30 seconds.
4. Now add all of the mushrooms to the pan and stir well, cook for 3-4 minutes.
5. Strain the vegetable stock and keep the soaked dried mushrooms aside. Add the strained stock, oat cream, oat milk, miso, tamari, salt and pepper to the pan and cook for 10-15 minutes with a lid on until the mushrooms are cooked but retain some bite and texture. Turn off the heat.
6. To a blender or small food processor, add the soaked dried mushrooms you set aside, along with a ladle-full of the cooked stew and blend until smooth. Add this back into the pan and stir well. This is to thicken the sauce, if you find its still a little thinner than you’d like then feel free to blend another ladle-full. You could also do this step using a stick/immersion blender in the pan, but be careful not to blend too many mushrooms as you want to leave as many whole as possible.

Mushroom Stew with Oyster Shiitake Chesnut

What’s your favourite variety of mushroom?
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