What Does Your Forest Taste Like? How To Make An Artisanal Herb-Infused Vinegar & 6 SBD Contest: Make Your Own Flowers, Weeds & More Herbal Vinegar for Spring!

in ecotrain •  last month

Spring is the time when everything is waking up. Flowers bud from trees and plants shoot up from the earth seemingly overnight. The forest and fields start growing dense mats of green. Many of these plants are edible and encourage our bodies to take on the vibrant and youthful energy of Spring.

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Herbal Vinegars

One way that we love to enjoy them is by infusing them in vinegar. Vinegar is amazing because it captures and preserves the aromatics of fragrant kitchen herbs (like basil, dill, rosemary, thyme, sage, etc) while also being a powerful solvent, extracting and preserving minerals and micronutrients. What this means is that with a little effort, one can have an artisanal (read expensive at the store!) condiment to enliven dishes as varied as salad, soups, grains, meat (a fantastic marinade) and more!

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Herbal Vinegar I just made.

In the following paragraphs, I will walk you through how to create a cold steep vinegar, but first let me announce the CONTEST(very excited about this one!!! PLEASE SHARE!

I was out in the forest the other day, observing and delighting in the fresh flowers and greens popping up. I grabbed a mason jar and started collecting these things and had the idea to hold a contest enticing you to do the same.

Contest
What does your landscape taste like?

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Each season, we’re gifted with a myriad of wild plants that grow wherever we live. This is our unique terroir which encapsulates and exalts the spot on the earth where we live. I want to encourage people to familiarize with trees, flowers, plants and weeds in their area.

The What

We will choose 3 winners each awarded 2 SBD. Posts will be valued based on their quality, creativity and richness of post (the more you take us on the journey with you, the better!). Bonus points for depth of research, additional context/story, etc. Winners will be decided and awarded after post pays out.

The Guidelines

  • Make an herbal vinegar from plants coming up in your area.
  • Document your experience through photos and text and create a post sharing your wildcrafting adventure.
  • Tag us in the article @mountainjewel, link to this post, and drop a link in the comments so we see your post!

I realize we all have varying degrees of comfort and experience when it comes to eating wild foods. If you aren’t sure what something is, it still may be safe to eat, but better safe than sorry. Feel free to contact me or ask locals in your area if you need help with ID or have any questions. (Read below for some safe and delicious plants that I recommend that grow all over the world!)

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Chickweed

If you live in a place where Spring hasn’t quite arrived yet, keep in mind that evergreen trees also hold delicious herbal vinegar ingredients. The tips and shoots of these forest kin taste delicious in an herbal vinegar. Mushrooms like the ever-present Turkey Tail (Trametes versicolor) are also great rustic additions of vinegar blends. If you want to participate, but are struggling, please contact us and we'll help!

And if you live in a place with fruits and other edible plant parts feel free to use those as well!!

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Wild Onions

Young weeds like chickweed, henbit, violet, dandelion, nettles, wild onions, mugwort, blossoming tree flowers grow basically all over the world and are rich in antioxidants, minerals and carry the vibrant energy of spring. All of these make extraordinary components of seasonal herbal vinegars and of your spring diet!

How I Made My Taste of My Forest Herbal Vinegar

I am consistently inspired by Pascal Baudar, a wildcrafter out of Los Angeles, California, from whom I originally got this idea. His book The New Wildcrafted Cuisine is a culinary and visual delight. I tried making my first cold method herb infused vinegars last fall and they were such a hit in our house that I knew I wanted to keep experimenting. For the cold method (there is a hot method too), he advises:

Sterilize or thoroughly clean your container. Wash your ingredients and pat them dry. Place your ingredients in the container and pour in vinegar with at least 5 percent acidity. Close the container and place it in a cool, dark place or your refrigerator for at least 3 weeks.

Following this method, I went out into the forest and spent time taking in the smells of the ingredients. As I wandered, I took note of what was in coming up or in bloom and if it was edible.

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I harvested cedar tips and Pine needles:

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View from our cliff edge with a cedar bough overhang.

I collected the gorgeous redbud blossoms and put them in too.

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Red buds

I found our local "wild oregano" (Monarda fistulosa)

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Wild Oregano

Chickweed (Stellaria media), which is very high in minerals and Violet flowers and leaves:

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Birdstooth Violet

And many other things, including wildflowers that are on the forest floor, dandelions, henbit (but not too much as the smell was very strong!) and more!

I filled my mason jar to about half full and put a piece of wax paper underneath the lid as vinegar corrodes the lid otherwise. Label your creation with a name and date. You can write the ingredients on it or elsewhere if they’re many (but you’ll likely want to remember if it turns out really good!).

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Dandelion

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Sassafrass Blossom. I put this in too!

I am so excited to see what my Forest in Spring tastes like!!

I had so much fun and the beauty is just bursting!!

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As you can see, the sky is the limit. Take time to smell the plants and take them in. Follow your intuition when choosing your forest (or field) blend! The focus here is to use plants and weeds of forest and field, but if you have a few "kitchen herbs" you want to throw in, I wont stop you!

I hope you enjoy this enticing contest we're holding and that you'll take part, go out foraging and make a Forest or Field Vinegar from your neck of the woods!

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This post is written by a passenger of the #ecotrain. Check the tag out often for more inspiring and eco-conscious articles!

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Do you think snow would go well with vinegar?! Cuz that's all we have in my neck of the woods lol!

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hahaha!! oh man!! no evergreens? walkerland used some spruce tips and also some dried herbs she had around. no pressure, dear!, but incredible there's nothing popping out yet!! i hear snow does have nitrogen and trace minerals, may be good with vinegar ;) lol!

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We will see how crafty I can get! We just got a huge snowstorm here in Wisconsin so it's all covered in a couple feet lol! But it is supposed to be warm this week so I'll get out and hunt around ;)

Hello @mountainjewel, I made an infused vinegar with... rose hips! Check out the post. It was a lot of fun!

https://steemit.com/homesteading/@ironshield/the-what-does-your-forest-taste-like-challenge-rosehip-vinaigrette

Any particular vinegar? Or just the white vinager used for cleaning? @ironshield

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a fantastic point @ironshield! i will update the post now, but will also answer you here: we use apple cider vinegar (with the mother still in it; just an organic brand that hasn't been pasteurized, although pasteurized will do). that's just what we have on hand. you can also use rice wine vinegar or other vinegars you may have (balsamic for an adventurous palate, though it may overtake the local plants). Vinegar used for cleaning isn't recommended, but the other vinegars at your local grocery in the food isle will likely all work!!

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Thank you! I'm sure cider vinegar would taste a lot better! @ironshield

This is an amazing post and contest. I REALLY want to enter into this one, and I am not often inspired to do so. Living in the PNW I feel like I must have so many plants around me to use and I don’t even know where to begin--which makes me want to START finding out more immediately! Thanks for sharing something so creative and lovely!

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YAY!! 🌿💚 I’m excited you’re stoked to discover more. I am sure there are “plant walks” somewhere near you or a quick google PNW spring edibles (or a Bioregional wild edibles book may help!). So hoping you enter! Please don’t hesitate to ask questions. Thanks for the resteem!!

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Absolutely, thanks for posting something so FUN!

I love the idea of this contest. It's really innovative to teach a skill while also engaging people, producing something of use and you're even supplementing it with steem. I'd love to give this a shot. Next time I'm on the land I'll try to find the taste of our landscape. Pretty stoked to try this out!

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Yay! Thanks for your feedback soulturtle! I appreciate it! I agree and hope some people go out and try it! Really looking forward to seeing what you find as I’m not familiar with your terroir at all :)

This is such a fun way to promote foraging and gathering. I can't wait to see what people come up with. Such a cool idea!

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Yay! any chance we can see a walkerland special? ;) <3

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Absolutely! A fun activity like this is impossible to resist. It's the kind of thing I live for. I'm going to go foraging shortly. There's so much snow still - I guess I'll have to just look up instead of down and see what's there. :)

What a coool competition!!! Wish I could join buuuuuuuttttt we are in Autumn here....sobs uncontrollably

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hey! make an autumnal vinegar!!! would love for you to join :) !!

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You're on!!! Weekend foraging!

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Love it. Stoked to see what comes from it.

What a great idea! Love this, stay tuned, I'll see what I can find!

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yay! i added to the post after you commented (your comment made me think of it), but of course if you're in an ever-fruiting climate as you are, feel free to use fruits and other things that are present in your terroir now! EXCITED!!

That would be really fun... I'm going to talk with my wife if we could do this together. @lturner would have fun with this and our children could learn a lot. Thanks for setting the challenge... now to find the time to DO it. :-)

@ironshield

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YAY! :) awesome to hear this!!! especially fun to involve the kids. Can't wait to see a glimpse into your local terroir !!

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Lookin forward to it. Fun homework assignment for the family! Probably sometime later this week. @ironshield

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fantastic, forgot to mention this in the article, but please tag us or drop the link to your post in the comments :)

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What a lovely jar full of colorful forest ingredients 😋 That's also a fun contest idea. I'll be interested to see what people create!

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Isn't it gorgeous what the Earth creates? We are both really excited to see what folks craft with their unique area and flair.

This is a great contest idea. Is there anything that could potentially harm you? Do we need to know what we are picking, I'm. Not that good on knowing what's what, even tho I use oregano everyday im sure I'd miss it in the wild. Lol

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Happy you think this is a good contest. We're glad to see it well received.

There are certainly plants that ARE NOT good to eat. Take water hemlock for example. It's up where we are and is quite poisonous, even looks ever so slightly (although way bigger) than queen Anne she lace (aka wild carrot).

The best idea would be starting with easy to ID plants that don't have any harmful look alikes. Pine needles and dandelions for example. Take a look at some resources for easy IDable plants where you live. Violets are a good and tasty choice for this. Chickweed too. Best luck

Hi @mountainjewel. Your contest has been included in my list of top 10 on-going contests to help spread the word and get more people to join. Here is the link:
https://steemit.com/contest/@focusnow/have-you-participated-in-any-contest-this-week-here-are-top-10-on-going-contests-you-could-join-now

I live in the PNW, and look forward to making mine for this 😉

this is good info and unique .. good work best friend😍

What a fantastic idea! I had even thought about doing this!

I dry nettle leaves and add them to my green tea but I hadn't thought about putting them in vinegar!

I have also made my own apple cider vinegar in the past so that would be a good candidate!

Dandelions are something I try to eat too as I have been aware of their amazing health properties for a while but they taste so bitter! Maybe this is what I have been looking for!!

Thank you for the information. I won't have time to enter the competition but I ad definitely going to try this!


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awesome! you're on board already :) !! glad to seed the vinegar idea for you. nettles or dandelion greens make excellent additions because of their high nutrient and mineral contents which is extracted well in the vinegar = super medicinal tasty!! also, the bitter will come through in the vinegar, though will be offset slightly by the acidity. also good to balance it out with some other flavors :)

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I have plenty of chives in the garden. They should make it tasty!