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One of the easiest (and quickest!) herbal preparations that I’ve learned about recently is how to make your own herbal flavored vinegars. It doesn’t require much prep time and therefore can be be done within a few minutes in your kitchen. After that, you just sit back and let the natural magic happen!
Seriously, prepping herbs really does feel *magical* to me. When I’m drying out goodies from my garden or making infusions or vinegar, it feels like I’m brewing up potions…which is SUPER fun! I like to give my kids the opportunity to participate alongside me too- making them feel naturally empowered. Plus, simple practices such as this one keeps us grounded and connected. It’s stress-relief.
You can use any herb you want to make flavored vinegar; I used lemon balm from my garden for this round because I had a LOT of it left over!
There are so many benefits from making your own plant vinegars- it just depends on what kind of herb you are using. You’re literally allowing those nutrients to break out of the herbal walls and become one with your vinegar (it’s a perfect marriage), capturing those medicinal properties for further use. Add these vinegars to salads, soups, and on top of cooked greens, like collards! This will help you double up on your nutrients, and it’s a win-win!
These vinegars also make great gifts, but if you are planning on doing it for the holidays, I suggest you get started soon. It’s best if your “potion” sits for about 5-6 weeks, and this is just in time for Christmas! If you REALLY REALLY want to make it, and don’t have 5 weeks, I’m sure it will be fine at about 4, but remember, the longer it sits, the better.
DIY Herbal Vinegars
1. First you need your materials: I use Bragg Organic Raw Unfiltered Apple Cider Vinegar. This has the “mother” in it, and adds more medicinal benefits to your finished product. You will also need a dried herb of your choice (see the bottom of this post for more ideas). There is no exact amount, it just depends on the size of the jar you are using; you want to be able to pack the jar full, see next step. Lastly, you will need parchment paper and a sanitized glass jar with a lid. For the finished product you will want a separate jar with a plastic lid.
2. Herbal vinegar preparation part one: Fill your glass jar with plant material. You can pack it down in there, but remember that it will be soaking up the vinegar, so don’t overload it. Next, fill the jar with apple cider vinegar, making sure that the herbs are completely submerged. Leave about 1-inch head space at the top. Place your parchment paper on top before screwing on the lid (vinegar rusts metal!). Write the date and description on the lid- very important! Trust me, you won’t remember the exact date a few weeks from now! Store in a dark place, way from sunlight, like in your cupboard. You can periodically check your potion in the coming weeks to make sure that the herbs are still submerged, adding more vinegar if necessary. If the herbs are exposed to air too long, they could turn black and mold.
3. Herbal vinegar preparation part two: After about 5 weeks, your vinegar is almost ready! Place a colander in a large bowl to collect the drainage and then pour in your herbal vinegar. With clean hands, squeeze any liquid out of your herbs. Transfer drained liquid into a new sanitized jar and top with a plastic lid (remember, vinegar rusts metal!). I like using Tattler Reusable Canning Lids. If you don’t like the canning jars, you can use a bottle with a cork or any other pretty jar you can think of.
You are finished! Wasn’t that SUPER easy?
If you are making this as a holiday gift, you can place a cute “Do not open until Christmas” sticker on it! Other herbs you can use are lavender, rosemary, oregano, basil, mint, or sage. If you are buying fresh herbs from the store, just make sure they are organically grown and dry them out when you get home for 24-48 hours (you know they are ready when you try to bend them and they snap- if they are all bendy, they are not fully dried).
I hope you enjoyed this herbal tutorial! Happy Holidays!
What is your favorite herb? Share in the comments below!