Thursday, August 13, 2009

Nasturtium Vinegar

I have always loved nasturtiums, starting with the fact that I could eat them as a young child and moving into their delightful, peppery taste as an accent in salads as an adult. And now, as an herbalist, I love nasturtium vinegar!

Not only are good quality, raw, unfiltered, fermented vinegars very good for you, helping to restore proper body alkalinity and supporting digestion, they are also great extractors of vitamins and minerals. Vinegars are a great base for nourishing herbal tonics designed to be taken over long periods, almost like a multi vitamin. Nasturtiums are bountiful this time of the year, depending on where you live you may be able to find them growing wild, or find a friend with some growing, I am sure they will have enough to share. Every color of nasturtium is edible and delicious…the red ones will make your vinegar a great pink color.
Fill a jar ¾ full with freshly picked nasturtium flowers and pour a good quality raw, unfiltered vinegar (I recommend apple cider for its quality and taste) over the flowers until all are covered. Put the lid on, label your jar with the contents and date and set it aside in the refrigerator or a cool, dark place. The vinegar will begin to take on the coloring and medicine of the nasturtiums after about a week and continue to get stronger as time goes on. Allow it to steep for 2 to 4 weeks before straining out the flowers, then keep it in the fridge to use when you need it. You can also keep the flowers in the vinegar once you begin to use it, gently pouring the vinegar from the jar. This allows it to continue steeping for a longer period. I don’t normally strain out my vinegars, so I slowly add more nasturtiums and vinegar to the same jar as I use the stuff in the old jar. Have fun with it and feel free to add other yummy herbs and spices too. Use your nasturtium vinegar in salad dressings, as a sauce or dip for steamed veggies or in other summertime sauces.

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