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).
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:
Dandelion leaves or root Tarragon
Mint Lemon Balm
Fennel Bay Leaves
Stinging Nettle Comfrey Leaf
Rosemary Nasturtium petal
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.
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!