Vigorous Vinegars: Take it to New Levels with Herb Infusions
Vinegar is beloved by chefs, health advocates, and DIY beauty and green-cleaning enthusiasts.
One simple addition can make it even more amazing and useful: herbs!
Herb-infused vinegars are inexpensive to make, and the finished products are incredibly versatile.
Here are a few super powers of herb-infused vinegars:
- Herbal vinegars are loaded with flavor, and they add zing to salads, cooked vegetables, soups, stews, fish, meat, and more.
- Herbal vinegars can provide a mega dose of nutrition to a diet because vinegar’s high acidity helps extract the constituents of plants,
including vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Herbalist Linda Diane Feldt estimates that one tablespoon of herbal vinegar
(made with calcium-rich plants) can deliver up to 300 milligrams of calcium, the same as a glass of milk.http://www.holisticwisdom.org/hwpages/herbalvinegars.htm Some herbalists even
recommend eating a tablespoon or two of herbal vinegar in lieu of taking over-the-counter supplements.http://rosesprodigalgarden.org/articles/herbal vinegars.html Even better,
when vinegar is eaten with food, it may make the vitamins and minerals in the food more bioavailable, meaning it can help your body absorb nutrients.http://healthyeating.sfgate.com/foods-absorption-nonheme-iron-6315.html
- Herbal vinegars make excellent all-purpose, DIY, non-toxic cleaning products that may have even more antimicrobial power than regular vinegar, not to mention a more pleasing scent.
- Herbal vinegar rinses help maintain healthy skin and hair, and they can replace expensive, chemical-laden, commercial products.
- Herbal vinegars make beautiful, unique gifts, especially when decanted into elegant bottles.
Infusing herbs in vinegar is safe and easy. Ready to get started? First, it helps to know a little more about the base ingredient,
a fermented liquid that’s been used as food and medicine since at least 420 BC.http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16926800
Vinegar is so ubiquitous that we may forget that the process of making it is an ancient art and science.http://spikehornpress.com/product/the-artisanal-vinegar-makers-handbook/
Today, the finest vinegars are aged in wood barrels for up to a century, selling for over $150 an ounce, while
the cheapest vinegars are less than $5 a gallon at discount stores.http://www.curiousnotions.com/home/worlds-rarest-things-1.asp Despite this wide range in quality and price,
all vinegars are made with the same biological processes.
The word vinegar comes from the French vin aigre, or “sour wine.” Vinegar can be made out of any
fermentable carbohydrate, including fruit, honey, grains, beets, potatoes, molasses, or whey. The
carbohydrate is first pressed into liquid, then fermented into an alcohol. At that point, the alcohol
is fermented again into ascetic acid, either by allowing it to come into contact with wild yeast present
in the environment or by inoculating it with a specific strain of yeast or “mother culture.” After the second fermentation, most commercial vinegars are pasteurized.http://www.culturesforhealth.com/making-vinegar-basic/
All vinegars can be used for herb infusions, and it is fun to experiment with different combinations.
If choosing just one for culinary infusions, white wine vinegar is a flavorful pick that showcases the beauty
and color of the herbs while they infuse. For health and beauty applications, apple cider vinegar works well
because it has healing properties of its own.http://authoritynutrition.com/6-proven-health-benefits-of-apple-cider-vinegar/http://care.diabetesjournals.org/content/27/1/281.full
Distilled white vinegar is an effective, inexpensive choice for household cleaning products.
Always check ingredients to make sure you select the type of vinegar you want. Some inexpensive vinegars marketed as apple cider flavored
are actually distilled white vinegar with coloring added.http://www.heinzvinegar.com/faq.aspx
Herbs are as versatile as vinegar. It’s not uncommon for one herb to flavor multiple dishes and treat a number of conditions,
so it won’t be hard to find a good one for an infusion. The best herbs to infuse are the freshest ones, which are usually growing
nearby. Too much mint? Make a mint vinegar. Garden overflowing with basil and rosemary? Infuse them in vinegar. No herb garden?
Edible weeds are packed with nutrition. Try dandelion or plantain leaves or clover blossoms. If fresh plants are unavailable, use
dried herbs or spices. It’s the perfect way to clean out the spice rack.
Once you discover the incredible super powers and endless flavor possibilities of herb-infused vinegars,
you may never settle for regular vinegar again. The process of infusing herbs in vinegar is simple and fun,
and the finished products add herbal pizazz to food as well as personal care and cleaning rituals.