Saturday, October 03, 2015

Glorious Goldenrod - Making Goldenrod Tinctures/ Shrubs / Medicinal Sipping Vinegars

Last year I was given a bottle of goldenrod apple cider vinegar from a friend.  It was delicious, healthful and simply prepared.  I used it in salad dressings and as a medicinal tonic diluted in water.  This fall I decided to make my own.

Goldenrod is a detoxifying herb, good for the respiratory system (for coughs and colds), anti-inflammatory, and has many more health benefits.  Contrary to popular belief, most people are actually not allergic to goldenrod but rather to ragweed (which blooms at the same time in similar areas).  Goldenrod has in fact been proven to help alleviate symptoms of such allergies.  It also happens to be prime forage for bees in the fall, so we let plenty of goldenrod flourish around the edges of our yard.

To harvest, I like to pick the goldenrod when the flowers are brilliantly yellow and just opened (or barely opened).  Once the flowers go to see it is too late for harvesting the blooms.  There is usually a small window of a a few days or so when the flowers are perfect.

Making Goldenrod Tincture with Apple Cider Vinegar
1) Fill a clean glass mason jar nearly full with freshly picked brilliantly yellow goldenrod flowers.
2) Then cover completely with apple cider vinegar to about 1 inch above the plant matter.
3) Cap tightly, set on a plate (in case of leakage).  Shake well to distribute plant matter.
4) Let sit at least 6 weeks, or longer, in direct sunlight (kitchen window).  Shake daily.
5) When ready, strain goldenrod out, reserve the liquid.
6) Store in dark glass bottles tightly capped.
7) Use in salad dressings, or other places you would use cider vinegar.  Or take daily as a tonic.

Herbal shrubs (or sipping vinegars are they are sometimes called) are another way to preserve medicinal herbs.  They are really made like a tincture, using apple cider vinegar (or other organic vinegars) but have sugar or honey added.  They are a spicy, hardy, delicious way to preserve the plant's properties - and can be added to spritzers, taken straight up, or mixed into herbal cocktails.  They have been made for more than a century, and are seeing a resurgence in popularity.  What a great way to have your "food and medicine" together.

How to make a herbal shrub?

Goldenrod Shrub (or other herbal shrubs)
1) Follow directions above for making Goldenrod Tincture.
2) After 6-8 weeks, strain out the goldenrod.  Compost the herbs, reserve the vinegar.
3) Now for every 1/2 cup vinegar, add 1 Tbsp raw organic local honey (or organic cane sugar).
4) Shake to combine well.  Store in dark glass bottle.
5) Store in fridge.  Serve with sparkling water, into wine/cocktail, or sip directly (1 Tbsp at a time).

Other amazing herbal shrubs can be made the same way - try fennel, rose petals, ginger root, cayenne & garlic (for winter flu fighting), holy basil, mint, and add infusions of fresh fruit such as strawberries, cherries and blueberries for colour and flavour.

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