Condiments, Recipes

Nourishing Herbal Vinegar

Vinegar has long been utilized as a menstruum to extract the vitamins, minerals, and other healing constituents from herbs. This nourishing herbal vinegar is infused with a few of my favorite nutrient-packed weedy greens, and a bit of garlic, of course, for its lovely flavor and potent healing action.

Nettle (Urtica dioica) is well loved by herbalists for its strengthening and toning benefits for the entire body. It’s incredibly rich in important vitamins & minerals, including iron, calcium, potassium, silicon, magnesium, copper, manganese, zinc, chromium, and vitamins A, C, D, & K.

Chickweed (Stellaria media) is a soothing herb that’s rich in minerals, including calcium, potassium, and iron. It is also exceptionally high in copper.

Raspberry leaf (Rubus spp.) is another very nourishing herb and is one of the richest plant sources of iron. It’s also a good source of calcium.

Horsetail (Equisetum arvense) is a lovely weedy plant that I find growing wild by the mountain creek near my home. It is rich in iron, calcium, and silicon.

Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale) greens are an amazing rejuvenating tonic for the whole body. They are a great source of nutrients like thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, calcium, potassium, magnesium, iron, and vitamins A, C, & E.

Garlic (Allium sativum) has long been valued as an important culinary and medicinal herb. It’s a source of vitamins A, B, C, & E. It is stimulating to the immune system. It also helps to maintain healthy cholesterol and blood pressure.

This vinegar is one of those wonderful “folk medicine” sort of preparations. Exact amounts aren’t necessary. You will need:

  • 2 parts fresh nettle
  • 2 parts fresh dandelion greens
  • 1 part fresh chickweed
  • 1 part fresh raspberry leaf
  • 1/2 part horsetail
  • A few cloves garlic
  • Vinegar — homemade fruit vinegar or apple cider vinegar

Go out and collect your greens. I like using fresh greens because they are so full of vitality. Chickweed doesn’t dry well, so it really should only be included fresh. Dried nettle, raspberry leaf, and horsetail could be substituted, if necessary.

Roughly chop greens and put them into a jar. Pop in a few peeled cloves of garlic too, to taste. Fill the jar around 3/4 full, and don’t pack down your greens too much as you go. You want there to be space so that the greens can move freely in the vinegar.

Next pour vinegar over the greens. Apple cider vinegar or homemade fruit vinegar is a good option. Fill the jar almost to the top. Cap it with a lid. Avoid metal, as the vinegar will corrode it. Let the vinegar steep for 4-6 weeks then strain out the herbs and rebottle the liquid into a bottle.

Note: Always label your concoctions! Include the ingredients used and the date it was created.

Vinegars infused with nourishing greens are a great way to boost the nutrients and flavor of your favorite dishes. I like to add this vinegar to salad dressings, sauces, or drizzle it over homemade fries.

I enjoy utilizing the weedy plants that grow happily in our gardens & the wild spaces in the mountains around our home, but feel free to substitute any nutrient dense weedy greens you might have growing in abundance where you live. Though often unappreciated (and even despised!), these wonderful weeds are packed with health boosting constituents and are a valuable addition to our diets.


References

Chevallier, Andrew. Encyclopedia of Herbal Medicine. Dorling Kindersley. 2000.

Gladstar, Rosemary. Herbal Healing for Women.

Gladstar, Rosemary. Herbal Recipes for. Vibrant Health. Storey Publishing. 2008.

Tierra, Michael. The Way of Herbs. Pocket Books. 1998.

Weed, Susun. Wise Woman Herbal for the Childbearing Years.

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