Herbal Vinegars- October 14, 2009
Intro: Herbal Vinegars can be grouped in two ways.
Medicinal and Culinary
In most cases, they are NOT mutually exclusive. This presentation will briefly discuss the benefits (medicinal qualities) of the most common and easy to grow culinary herbs. They are a traditional and ancient way to preserve herbs for use when an herb is not available (out of season, etc). Vinegars add flavor to foods and also preserve herb’s oils and vital ingredients.
Rosemary: Stimulates digestion (helps the gall bladder produce bile, necessary for proper liver function) Anti-bacterial Anti-fungal (topical and internal) Circulation! Direct application of oil or vinegar to arthritic joints or damaged blood vessels can stimulate and ease pain. Sage: Cold remedy (hot tea) Anti-bacterial: especially for Staph. Vinegar can be used as a gargle for laryngitis and tonsillitis.
Thyme: Major components are vermifugal (kills worms) Kills infections in mouth as a gargle Bronchitis- eases the pain and infection Eases flatulence (anti-spasmodic in smooth muscles in colon, bowels, etc)
Fennel: Soothes digestion (anti-spasmodic again in smooth muscles), helpful against colic, gas in infants and adults alike. Promotes production of breastmilk.
Hot Peppers (capsicum): Externally to stimulate muscles and ease arthritis Internally: ward of chills, aids circulation and early onset of colds Most effective heart stimulant around! Supports immune function (very high concentration of Vitamin C)
How do I make herbal vinegars?
Simply choose a clean jar with a tight fitting lid. The smaller the jar, the less vinegar you will use. Your jar can range from a peanut butter jar to an ornate Belgian beer bottle. If the lid is metal, cut a small piece of wax paper to put over the jar mouth when you are through. This will prevent the vinegar from corroding the metal lid! Pack your herbs in. If you don’t care for the taste of the herb or the medicinal qualities, simply use a sprig. You won’t taste much nor will you get much out the herb. Usually, I use as much as I can harvest. I use half a jar to a whole jar full, depending upon the purpose. Then I pour in the vinegar until it covers all of the herbs. I put my wax paper on top and close my lid. Store for 2-4 weeks in a dark place. Light degrades the efficiency of vinegars and herbs alike. Pour off or remove herbs from jar (leaving one or two for looks, if you like). Enjoy in soups, salad dressings or as a medicinal gargle.
[A word on vinegars: for medicinal purposes, use unpasteurized apple cider vinegar. This will not have been heated to remove any bacteria. Therefore, a "mother" will grow in your vinegar. It is a harmless, actually helpful, active culture that will appear as a moldy or cloudy film within. It's all part of the medicine...]