Herbal vinegars are a year-round staple in my kitchen. In the winter, it’s usually a spicy fire cider, something warming and circulatory to bolster the immune system. In the summer, I favor shrubs or oxymels, something a bit sweeter, hydrating, and cooling. Springtime is all about mineral-rich vinegars to encourage the body to shake things up.
Spring is the season of release, renewal, and growth. Spring medicine is all about targeting sources of stagnation and toxin build-up in the body, while preparing it for the year ahead. In Traditional Chinese Medicine, spring is represented by the wood element, which corresponds with the liver and the gallbladder. These organs are usually the primary targets for spring cleansing protocols. The two flavors associated with these organs are sour and bitter, as well as the color green. To help facilitate the body’s natural process of detoxification, I try to focus on these three key types of foods - green, sour, and bitter.
This is a take on our best-selling Vernal Vinegar, I like to switch things up in my kitchen and I hope you’ll share any fun combinations you try! I encourage you to play around and experiment with some plants you like and have on hand, and ones that are abundant in your bioregion!
My favorite ways to use this vinegar is by adding a splash to a glass of warm water first thing in the morning or massaging into salad greens with olive oil and a pinch of salt. It combines into a simply and lovely dressing. Use as a substitute in any recipe that calls for vinegar and please, report back with your favorite usage!
VERNAL VINEGAR RECIPE
1 CUP NETTLES
1 CUP DANDELION LEAF & ROOT
1 BURDOCK ROOT
1/2 CUP VIOLETS
2-3 TBSP BEE POLLEN
16 oz. APPLE CIDER VINEGAR
Other herbs you could add or substitute: chickweed, moringa, seaweed, cleavers.
PROCESS: Fill a glass quart jar with herbs, well chopped, and loosely packed. Cover herbs with apple cider vinegar and a plastic lid. Vinegar reacts with metal and will cause rusting, if you only have a metal cap, cut a piece of wax paper to fit between the closure and lid. Shake the mixture well and allow to rest in a dark space for 3-5 weeks before straining. I like to fill a glass bottle with my seasonal vinegar and keep it on the counter as a reminder to use often.