I visited our local Vancouver Winter Farmer’s Market on Saturday and was delighted to see all the new spring veggies and herbs available. I bought a pound of Stinging Nettles (Urtica dioica), some Miner’s Lettuce (Claytonia perfoliata) and Chickweed (Stellaria media). I had some of the Miner’s Lettuce and Chickweed in a salad right away but saved some for infusing.
I had so much nettle that I decided to dry some for use in teas and infusions as well as for making a herbal mineral vinegar.
Susun Weed has an excellent article on nettle infusions and their strengthening properties on the kidneys and adrenal glands. I’ve been drinking this infusion for a few days now and definitely notice an improvement. You can read the article here on her Facebook page or check out her website for more information, courses, and more.
A nettle infusion is also very simple to make:
- add one ounce by weight (roughly 28 grams) of dried nettles to a clean one-litre (one-quart) jar
- fill with boiling water, cap and steep for 4-6 hours or overnight
- strain and decant into a clean jar, and keep refrigerated (it should be OK for 48 hours)
- Susun Weed recommends drinking 4-5 quarts throughout the week
HERBAL VINEGAR USING FRESH HERBS
I decided to infuse the fresh chickweed and fresh nettles in some Apple Cider Vinegar. Herbal vinegar is not just delicious, it’s good for us too! Vinegar extracts the minerals and other nutrients from herbs and veggies, so can be an excellent source of calcium amongst other things. Think about adding a tablespoon or too when you are sautéeing greens: the vinegar will add a great flavour plus will make the nutrients even more accessible to you.
In the past, I’ve made herbal mineral vinegar using a variety of fresh medicinal herbs – not just nettle – and used in salad dressings and wherever I would use regular vinegar.
ACV infusions are quite simple. You can find very many guides on-line, but here are the basic steps:
- Clean and sterilize a glass jar
- TIP: I prefer the one quart / one-litre size, but you can go smaller
- Rinse and pat dry your fresh herbs, and pick out anything that looks “off”. If the leaves are very large, chop into smaller pieces
- Pack your jar with the fresh herbs and then fill with room temperature vinegar.
- TIP: I typically use pasteurized Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV) as I like its health benefits, but depending on the herb – and the end use you have in mind – you may choose to use White Vinegar, White Wine Vinegar, etc.
- Stir / poke with a glass rod or wooden spoon handle to eliminate as many air bubbles as possible, then cap your jar tightly
- CAUTION: Vinegar corrodes metal, so if using a metal cap be sure to PRE-SEAL with several layers of waxed paper or clingfilm
- Label your jar with the ingredients, and the date bottled
- Be sure to check the vinegar level the next day, and top up if required to ensure herbs are fully immersed
- Store in a cool dry dark place and shake every day
- Vinegar will be ready in 2-6 weeks, depending on the herb and the vinegar used. Feel free to do a taste test to determine your vinegar’s readiness.
- Strain and decant your new infused vinegar into a sterilized bottle or jar, and be sure to label with ingredients and date decanted.
- TIP: You could even add fresh sprigs of herbs, berries or garlic for further flavour.
- SHELF LIFE: Store in a cool dry place (or the refrigerator) and use within six months. But do keep an eye on your vinegar: if you notice any cloudiness or anything unusual, discard.
I would have liked to start these infusions on the New Moon (tomorrow) but wanted to get the fresh chickweed and fresh nettles into the apple cider vinegar as soon as possible. 🌞
Why make infusions at the New Moon? It’s a great time to start new projects and has lovely energy. And I know that when the next New Moon comes around, my vinegar infusions should be ready!
❤🌿❤ I do love my herbal mineral vinegar ❤🌿❤
Slight bad news, though, on this project. I bought these new jars yesterday. I’m making so many tinctures and infusions at present that I ran out. After filling them with the herbs and vinegar – and giving things a bit of a shake – I found that the caps leaked! Not good😡
Lesson learned: Check container suitability before bottling!
I had picked these up because there were no metal parts that would touch the vinegar and get corroded. But didn’t think about how well these might seal. I am now heading out to buy new jars and will likely transfer the contents over to the new clean sterilized jars.
On the other hand, I can also ensure these are sealed appropriately with clingfilm or with waxed paper. If that still doesn’t work, I will a) check the new jars first and if still leaking will b) go back to using mason jars and using cling film to ensure no vinegar will touch the metal!
No waste though: I’ll use these jars for storing dried herbs and other dry goods 🌿🌿🌿
Before you prepare any herb for internal use, be sure to research thoroughly and make sure the herb chosen wll not impact any pre-existing medical condition(s) or impact the efficacy of any prescription drug regimen.
Herbs are potent medicines. Be Herb-Wise!