2 cups apple cider vinegar
1 cup of fresh red flowering currant blossoms & maple blossoms
The red flowering currant blossoms give this vinegar a lovely pink hue, and along with the maple blossoms, impart a sweet and tart taste to the apple cider vinegar.
Spring and summer bring a bounty of fresh blooms, full gardens, and many wild edible plants. This past spring, we wanted to hold on to the tastes and smells of that time of year a little longer, so we decided to make herbal vinegar with wild, local blossoms. We foraged maple blossoms, and red flowering currant blossoms for this purpose, but you can make herbal vinegars with many different plants.
Vinegar has a long history of use as both a medicine and a food. Throughout history, culinary uses of vinegar include both preserving and flavouring food. In medical settings, vinegar has been used as a surface disinfectant, a digestive aid, and taken to prevent the spread of illness.1 While the medicinal uses of vinegar haven’t been substantiated by modern research2, most people enjoy the biting taste of vinegar when added to their food.
- Make sure the glass containers that you are going to use are clean and dry.
- If you have foraged the herbs, leave them in an open paper bag for 24 hours to allow any insects time to crawl out.
- Put the herbs in the container, cover with apple cider vinegar, and close the container.
- Shake the container occasionally, and insure that the herbs are always covered by vinegar.
- Taste the vinegar after one week. At this point, you can strain the herbs or keep infusing for up to one month. Use cheesecloth, or a coffee filter to strain the herbs. You don’t want to have any remaining plant material, as that could cause spoilage.
- Store the vinegar at room temperature, and out of direct sunlight.
- Unopened, the vinegar will last one to two years. Once opened, use the vinegar within 6 months.
Further ideas and modifications
- We decided to use red flowering currant blossoms and maple blossoms because we wanted to make something that showcased some of the flavours of spring, but you can use whatever herbs you want to flavour vinegar.
- Apple cider vinegar is just one option when making herbal vinegar. Feel free to experiment with other vinegars that you enjoy.
- When using fresh herbs, use about 1 cup of botanicals for every 2 cups of vinegar. When using dried herbs, use ½ cup for every 2 cups of vinegar.
- Herbal vinegars can be used in place of regular vinegar in salad dressings, while cooking, or in shrubs!
- Oster, M. (1994). Herbal vinegar. Pownal, Vermont: Storey Communications
- Johnston, C. & Gaas, C. (2006). Vinegar: medicinal uses and antiglycemic effect. MedGenMed. 8(2): 61.
This salad dressing is creamy and full of flavour. It is the perfect accompaniment to fresh, local, summer vegetables.
The flavours and aroma of rhubarb and Nootka rose are welcome signs of spring. In this recipe, we use a cashew tart as a base to allow these flavours to really shine.