Herbal Vinegars are a great way to incorporate medicinal herbs and foods into your every day dietary regimen. Always use Organic Apple Cider Vinegar as your base and let your imagination and creativity loose. Apple Cider Vinegar gently extracts the many beneficial properties of all sorts of culinary and medicinal herbs and renders them easily assimilated. Food is some of our best medicine, and in herbal vinegars we have a great opportunity to combine all sorts of ingredients, with the result being a delicious way to take your “medicine” as well as get a natural daily dose of vitamins and minerals, which so many herbs are chock full of.
*Yet another way to preserve and utilize your garden's bounty!*
Use as the vinegar portion in your salad dressing recipes, splash on veggies and all manner of dishes and you can even use as marinades- although cooking naturally diminishes some of the nutritive and medicinal properties- but don’t let that stop you, enjoy them any way you can, including simply taking a spoonful or 2 in a bit of water or juice.
Figuring out what tastes best to you is the key ingredient to making a spectacular Herbal Vinegar. Just a few ingredient ideas are listed below:
Organic orange or lemon zest
Medicinal mushrooms- Shitake, Reishi, Cordyceps, Ganoderma (with a bit more work first)
Dandelion greens/root- Any kind of green!
Add beets for an extra boost of iron and sweetness
How to make
- Sterilize a large quart mason jar/lid
- Shred or chop desired ingredients, fill jar 2/3 full.
- Add Apple Cider Vinegar to just below the top of the jar, covering ingredients by about an inch or two. If you have used any dried herbs adjust vinegar content to include any absorption from them- in other words leave a little extra room for more vinegar, we need to make sure the ingredients have the vinegar completely covering them.
- Cover your jar with a piece of wax paper and secure lid in place. The wax paper helps keep the vinegar from rusting the lid shut. I’ve done this both ways, and although not detrimental, it helps!
- Shake and store in a cool dry place for 2-6 weeks. Periodically shake your vinegar to help the active constituents release. Some folks swear by burying the jar in the Earth on a full moon and digging it up at the next one. Try it!
A recipe for you to try:
The ever famous Fire Cider
Garlic 2 bulbs
Ginger 4” piece of ginger
Horseradish 4-6” root
Cayenne- to taste, I usually use 4 peppers or so depending on the heat, they do mellow over the course of the month
Organic Local Honey- to taste, I usually use about 1/8 cup. I truly love to include honey in my Fire Cider.
Vinegar is a natural preservative, however using a lot of very watery ingredients may reduce the acetic acid content of your herbal vinegar, in which case just be sure to use your creation sooner than later. Otherwise this stuff can last for a good year or two, possibly longer depending on storage conditions. Enjoy!
Another great way to gain therapeutic use from herbal vinegars is to use them externally. We make these the same way, just use them differently. Why would we use an herbal vinegar externally? ACV is great for skin and hair in the first place, so it’s a natural for use as a base in all sorts of applications, such as linaments, skin treatments-acne, bites, stings, scrapes, thorns, bruises, varicose veins, as well as hair treatments. In all cases you will need to understand what kind of therapeutic action you’re trying to achieve and utilize singularly or in combination with others herbs in your formulas.
A great herbal vinegar formula for acne is dried or fresh Burdock, Calendula and Echinacea in your ACV. The reason I use these particular herbs is that they are well known to help with acne as well as many other skin issues, such as eczema, psoriasis and rashes of all sorts- to put it simply.
To make a more astringent formula- to help draw out- you might decide to use plantain- that ever present little plant some folks call a “weed”. This is a great formula to spray on a bug bite or bee sting, or even perhaps if you have very oily skin. In addition to common medicinal plants we also sometimes add essential oils to our herbal vinegars in small quantities, when used externally. For instance we might use tea tree essential oil in a fungal formula or lavender essential oil in our sting/bite formula. These particular essential oils are safe and commonly used in many body preparations and are well known for their therapeutic uses.
Learning to treat ourselves with common everyday formulas that we can make ourselves easily is an immensely effective and empowering way to take the lead in our own healthcare and that of our families and communities. The more you practice the easier it all gets, and voila- you perfect your very own Culinary and Medicinal Herbal Vinegar recipe for all your friends to try!