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    November 16, 2020 3 min read

    How To Make Vinegar Herbal Extracts


    The third installment of the Botanical Extracts Series focuses on a slightly more unusual solvent: vinegar. Vinegar is a self-preserving solvent like alcohol, but obviously without any alcohol content, making it useful in a variety of applications. It is mildly acidic and therefore also a good environment to infuse herbal properties into.


    Vinegar based botanical extracts are less widely known than water or oil infusions but they have plenty of applications. They can be used in foods, cosmetics, as well as medicinally. 


    Probably the most well known use of botanical vinegars is as a condiment over salads, marinades and other dishes; a flavoured vinegar brings another dimension to your food.


    Vinegars can also be taken orally as tinctures. Apple cider vinegar is a popular supplement but imagine boosting it with the power of herbs too! Vinegar tinctures are alcohol free so are suitable for all.


    In cosmetics, vinegar botanical extracts can yield some interesting results and lend certain properties to a formula. Minerals and trace elements transfer particularly well into vinegar so consider infusing botanicals that are rich in minerals. This is an exciting way of naturally incorporating minerals into your formulas - our hair and skin need their minerals so by using a vinegar extract in shampoos and creams you can help them get it.


    For example, silica is great for strengthening hair and is found in the herb horsetail, so a horsetail vinegar infusion might be fantastic in a shampoo formula.


    Here is a small list of botanicals that are useful in vinegar extracts. But feel free to use any herbs.


    For cosmetics and hair care:

    Horsetail - silica

    Nettle - silica and magnesium

    Parsley - zinc, magnesium

    Oat straw - iron, phosphorus, selenium, magnesium

    Dandelion - calcium, iron, potassium, magnesium

    Raspberry leaf - potassium, calcium, iron

    Chickweed - iron, copper, calcium, sodium, manganese, phosphorus, zinc, magnesium and silica 

    Moringa - magnesium, calcium, potassium & iron


    For condiments:

    Rosemary

    Thyme

    Oregano

    Sage

    Garlic or use whole fresh garlic

    Lemon balm

    Berries 

    Coriander

    Alfalfa


    Vinegar is a self preserving system so you won’t need to add additional preservative to give your extract a shelf life. A vinegar extract will last about a year when stored correctly.



    How Much Botanical To Use

    For use in the kitchen: 3-4 small handfuls of herbs to 500ml vinegar should be enough. Or 1 part herbs to 15 parts vinegar.


    For cosmetic/medicinal use you can go a bit stronger:  1 part herbs to 7 parts vinegar.


    You don’t need to worry about being precise with the ratios here. Feel your way around with your extract and see what works. You may find you want to have a higher herb concentration or a lower one depending on your use for it.



    How To Make Vinegar Extracts For A Cosmetic Formula


    Dried herb(s) of choice

    A sterilised  beaker

    Apple cider vinegar or other suitable vinegar, preferably food grade


    Add your botanical(s) to the beaker or  jar and then pour over the vinegar. Cover and leave for 2-4 weeks to infuse, stirring daily. Then strain well and bottle. Store in a cool place out of direct light.




     

    How To Use A Vinegar In Cosmetic Formulas

    Vinegar is an acid with a pH of around 2-3, with plain white vinegar coming in at 2.5. While one would normally adjust the pH of a formula with citric acid solution, you could use vinegar instead. Using a vinegar extract will bring in some added X factor to your hair care formula - apple cider vinegar is a popular hair rinse so incorporating it into a shampoo formula is a bonus.

     

    The same can apply in skincare formulas.

     

     

     

    How To Make Vinegar Extracts For The Kitchen

    Dried herb(s) of choice

    A sterilised  beaker

    Apple cider vinegar or other suitable vinegar, preferably food grade. Balsamic is also a good option.


    Add your botanical(s) to the beaker or  jar and then pour over the vinegar. Cover and leave for 2-4 weeks to infuse, stirring daily. Then strain well and bottle. Store in a cool place out of direct light.




    Basic Vinaigrette 

    You can use your infused vinegar to make a vinaigrette!


    ½ c olive oil

    2 T mustard

    3 T infused vinegar

    1 T honey

    Pinch of  salt

    Clove of garlic, crushed

    In a bowl, mix everything well. Do a taste test to see if you need to balance any of the flavours. If too acidic from the vinegar add a little more olive oil or honey. Add in salt if not spicy enough, or add more vinegar for extra zing. Serve immediately or store in the fridge for a week.


    2 Responses

    Bianca Lira
    Bianca Lira

    November 20, 2020

    Lovely! Thanx.

    Chris Pitzer
    Chris Pitzer

    November 18, 2020

    tnx

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