Saturday, February 12, 2011

Herbal Ally - Challenge #5- Vinegars Part One

This week our challenge was to make a herbal vinegar with our Ally and do some reading on the subject. This is all new to me. I was unable to initially get ahold of the books Kristine suggested we read, but she has since kindly sent me the chapters to read so I have now caught up. Thank you! I now have yet another book added to my wish list..(he he...I think my hubby might just stop my book allowance at this rate).

It was however very interesting for me to go a searching on my own as I read many differing opinions and accounts on how it should be done etc etc. I did make my first vinegar and rather than grinding the dry herbs I just chopped them up. (My dried Tansy is pretty strong so I think it will be ok). I also heated the vinegar in this case.

In my excitement of thinking how to use it, I could not resist going ahead and following Susan Weeds advice of strolling through the garden and snip snip snipping. I came back with some lovely Catnip and flowers AND a hoarde of Oregano flowerheads. I made a small fresh Catnip vinegar and a large Oregano one with room temperature vinegar and stored them away in a nice dark cupboard.

After finally reading James Greens chapters though, I have learned that I will need to use these ones quicker due to fresh vinegar infusions not keeping as long because of the natural water content in the leaves and flowers. Thats ok though. Like I said, I am learning so I will just make some MORE! I have plenty more outside to snip and dry. Next time I plan to dry the herbs and grind them.

I plan to use the oregano vinegar on salads so it should get used pretty quickly. I read somewhere that the catnip vinegar is fantastic for mentrual pain so that won't go astray in our house full of women and as for the tansy, well Im not 100% sure on that one. Although I am happy to ingest it myself I am still wary about feeding it to others. So maybe I will just eat it instead of the infusions one month or I may use it when I get the feeling that I need to. We'll see!

Aside from reading up on vinegars this week. I have found a pile of recipes using Tansy over at Pagan Wiki and A lovely write up by Culpeper which I have linked to in the Side bar for anyone wanting to check it out. I just loved the writing of Culpeper in the old language. I ended up printing off the section on Tansy and fancying up the writing to stick it in my journal.

Have a wonderful herby weekend all. Hugs and smoochies xoxox


  1. i have a chickweed vinegar and a blackberry vinegar that were made with fresh leaves last spring and they are still good. while they won't keep years and years, they'll last you quite awhile!

    aren't vinegars addictive?!

  2. They sure are! I plan to try and work out some formulas to suit certain family members. I was interested in the fact that they soften the bones. My knees actually creak when I flex my legs up and down.

  3. Blackberry? Did you make it with the berries or leaves. My main herbal does not even mention blackberries but we do happen to have some wild ones growing in our yard. Did not get many berries this year and Im wondering if the neighbour poisoned them on his side of the fence as they tend to run under. My husband wants me to get rid of them but they are pretty stubborn! LOL What is it good for?

  4. I am sure you will love all your vinegars. I have a good deal of fun playing around with vinegars.
    I can see why you would be nervous about the tansy. I am always a bit nervous about those herbs that are a bit toxic. I have giant stands of poke growing in my yard but I am always a little nervous to play with it.

  5. Umm , never thought about making oregano vinegar , have to give it a try. I have made catnip vinegar to use as an insect repellent. I'm learning so much about tansy with you , so happy Kristine started this challenge.

    ~ Green Blessings ~

  6. Yup, Kristine is so right! Don't be too nervous about how the vinegars will keep over time. Vinegar is a great preserver of fresh material and I am sure one of the reasons it has always been so popular!
    I hope your neighbor hasn't poisoned your blackberries! Could you ask him not to spray or use chemicals near your property? Would he be receptive? Hold your husband off on removing them all. You are just getting going and someday you might want to harvest a bit of blackberry root to infuse in alcohol. Wonderful diarrhea helper with that medicine! Before you know it you will be making things like that, so hope you can get neighbor and hubby to cooperate and save your blackberries. Some years are just better with berry production. Depends on the rains etc. herby hugs xx