Aromatic plants can turn an ordinary bottle of vinegar into a gourmet delight.
You can even make vinegars to replace toxic commercial house cleaners. Vinegar infused with aromatic plants is one of the most versatile culinary products you can make from your garden. The most popular blends are the herbal ones, such as basil, dill, marjoram, oregano, rosemary, sage, and thyme—but don’t stop there. Put your imagination to work and try bay laurel, coriander, fennel, lemon, lemon grass, lemon verbena, and peppermint. Or how about curry plant or lavender? The different flavors of basil are also tasty. Any type of vinegar can be used. White vinegar brings out the colors of the plants, such as the rich hues of purple basil. Apple cider vinegar is sometimes preferred for its flavor and health properties. Other types, such as wine, barley, and rice vinegars also work well.
To make herbal vinegar, you need about a cup of chopped fresh or dried herbs from your garden. Place the herbs in a clean, wide-mouthed jar and cover with about one pint of your choice of vinegar, so that the herbs are completely submerged. Stir to eliminate any trapped air pockets and put a lid on the jar. Keep it at room temperature for two weeks, then strain out the herbs. This is a concentrate, so dilute it with an equal amount of pure vinegar before using it in salad dressing, mustard, pickled foods, or any recipe calling for vinegar. The final touch can be to submerge a few sprigs of a fresh or dried plant in the infused vinegar.
Infused vinegar can also be used for hair rinse, by diluting it with an equal amount of water instead of vinegar. Use lavender, rosemary, and sage for the infusion. The vinegar scent dissipates quickly, leaving hair bright and shiny.
As featured in the Spring issue of Beekman 1802 Almanac Magazine. For more check out AROMATHERAPY GARDEN © Copyright 2016 by Kathi Keville. Published by Timber Press, Portland, OR. Used by permission of the publisher. All rights reserved