Herbal vinegars are easy to make and have been a traditional way to quickly preserve vital herbs through winter.
Today I am making a Rosemary Cider Vinegar for my hair treatments, but this and other herb vinegars are also excellent in salad dressings and sauces. My favourite is a good french tarragon vinegar, but unfortunately tarragon has questionable cold tolerance and I recently lost my stock. So right now I’m thinking about hair, but later I may just experiment with a nice sauce for some Lamb…
Herb Vinegars improve with age, but its best to make up fresh batches at least once a year when you notice that a herb is at its finest and most potent (often when beginning flowering).
For vinegar, I use my home made organic apple cider. It’s a bit like the sourdough of ciders but you can use whatever vinegar you like, white, red, wine, apple, pear. In general though, a milder vinegar is better with more subtle herbs.
Rosemary Cider Vinegar
1. Stuff rosemary sprigs into a glass container and cover with vinegar. I am making a concentrated herb blend for medicinal purposes, so I use as much of the herb as I can fit in the bottle without cramming and then fill and cover with vinegar. For culinary purposes, a good sprig in a 250 ml bottle will suffice.
2. Place on a sunny window sill to catch the warmth of the autumn sun, or on cold days, like I have today, I sit it on the fireplace. Just don’t let it get above 50 degrees.
3. After three weeks, sometimes less, she’s good to go. If you want more intensity, say in order to use as an arthritis spray, just repeat with more fresh herbs.
Herb Vinegars can be used for culinary purposes in dressings and simple dipping sauces for roasted meats, but also for health and beauty.
Rosemary is not only spectacular with lamb and garlic, it is also a great hair, skin and muscle tonic. It can be used as the water phase in simple creams and ointments, for blemished oily skin or to make arthritis rubs. Used diluted in water with a little glycerin it makes an effective spray on, after shampoo/ blowdry /setting lotion.
My batch of vinegar is to make our a Rosemary Hair Conditioner and Dandruff Fighter. Vinegar smooths the hair cuticle after heating opens it. This makes hair smoother, shinier and silkier. The glycerin adds moisture and body to the hair and the Rosemary is great for the scalp and in oily hair it helps to normalise sebum production.
Rosemary Vinegar can also be used diluted 50/50 with water, or less to suit your skin, and when placed in a cosmetic spray bottle, can be misted over oily, pimple prone skin after cleansing /showering in the morning and a few times during the day to freshen up. An antibacterial Skin Spritzer I suppose.
Adding a little glycerin will keep your skin hydrated without feeling oily.