“There is no one way to become a healer: no particular age and no special way for medicine spirits to come. When the time is right, they come.” -Evelyn Wolfson, From the Earth to Beyond the Sky: Native American Medicine In last week’s newsletter, I mentioned dandelion and violet make great vinegars. Last summer, I wrote a newsletter all about how to make vinegars with kids. If you are new to Herbal Roots zine and to infusing vinegars, check out that newsletter for more information. Today, however, we are going to talk about the next step, what we can use those vinegars for. 101 ways to use vinegars Okay, well I don’t have that many uses but I imagine I could come pretty close if I really tried hard enough. Let’s take a look at some of the more common ways to use them.
Combining vinegars with food I like to follow Hippocrates lead when it comes to food and medicine. And since we all know an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, I try to incorporate herbs into our daily diet as much as possible. Herbal vinegars are a great way to add vitamins, minerals and medicinal qualities to our food. The following are some of my favorite ways to incorporate herbal vinegars into our daily diet. Salad dressings – Make your own salad dressing with your own choice of infused vinegars combined with herbally infused oils Seasoning for beans – Sprinkle your favorite flavored vinegar on beans for an extra kick. Cayennesage flower and blackberry leaf are a few of my favorites. Topping for cooked greens – Try garlic infused vinegar or your favorite! Seasoning for stir fry dishes – Match your vinegar to the vegetables you’ve cooked. Soups – Some soups taste great with a dash of vinegar; for example, try a mint flavored vinegar with borscht. Homemade mayonnaise – Making mayo? Add your own infused vinegar into the recipe for a special twist on the flavor. Marinade for meats – Combine an infused vinegar such as bergamotrosemary or thyme with an infused oil to use as a marinade. Refreshing shrub drinks – Shrubs are a great break from sodas. There are many variations of shrubs, we have a recipe in our Blackberry issue. Digestive tonic – Infuse with mugwort, wormwood, dandelion leaf and/or root, or chicory leaves and/or root Mineral supplement – Infuse with mineral rich herbs such as raspberry or blackberry leaf, nettlesdandelion root, burdock root, chickweed, or mugwort
A few teaspoons a day...
Household uses for vinegar Household cleaner – Any herbs will work great for this task. This is a great way to use up your vinegars that are getting old. Vinegars are great for cleaning windows, stovetops, sinks, tiles, tubs, showers and floors. Vinegar can also freshen up clothes in the laundry. I like to combine my vinegar with a bit of baking soda to make a gentle scrub when cleaning appliances. For getting tough grease off the stove, I add a drop or two of dish soap to the mix. This blend is best mixed right before using as it will fizz.
Herbal vinegars for the body Hair rinse – Infuse with chamomile (light hair), or rosemary (dark hair), or burdock seed (dry hair) Facial cleanser and/or tonic – Infuse with roselavenderborage or calendula Fungal control – Infuse with eucalyptuspeppermint and calendula Sunburns – Infuse with Saint John’s wortroseprunella, or lavender Poison Ivy relief – Infuse with jewelweed, peach leaf, sweet fern or mugwort and horsetail Fevers – Infuse with bergamotcatnipgoldenrod flowers, or peppermint Sore throat gargle – Infuse with sage leaf or flower, garlicprunellabergamot or thyme Liniment for aches and sprains – Infuse with prunellayarrow, or comfrey Anemia – Infuse with yellow dock root, ashwagandha, blackberry leaf and nettles Deodorizer – Infuse with witch hazellavender or sage As you can see, herbal vinegars are very versatile and useful around the home. Hopefully these ideas will get you started in using the herbal vinegars that you are making! Do you use herbal vinegars? How do you incorporate them into your everyday living?