How to make Lemon Balm Vinegar

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IMG_2311Following on from my last post I have been seeking out new plants to vinegar in order to help keep me in good health this winter. I boiled my organic cider vinegar to pasteurise it and have made several different vinegars with lemon balm (harvested from our medicine garden) and also hawthorn and rose hips collected from the garden and surrounding lanes. Regarding boiling the vinegar I would recommend doing this in the day time when you can have the windows wide open – I did it at night and the smell after while trying to sleep was quite over powering! And that is coming from someone who likes the smell of vinegar!!

 

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To make the lemon balm vinegar I chopped fresh lemon balm into a clean jam jar and then poured over the vinegar to the top of the jar, using a chop stick to remove any air bubbles. I collected the lemon balm from our medicinal herb garden, using stems that had not yet flowered. The jar is then sealed with a lid and labelled. In 4-6 weeks I shall strain the vinegar off and bottle it, label and use over the winter on salads, vegetables and in soups.

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Herbal vinegars are a great to get more vitamins and minerals into our diet. Lemon balm is “strengthening to the heart” (Weed, 2002) and Culpeper, 1826, describes how it “driveth away all troublesome cares and thoughts out of the mind arising from melancholy” – a great attribute for those who don’t enjoy the long winter nights.

Lemon balm is a really versatile herb it can be used fresh or dried as a tea, made into tinctures and vinegars, added to salads and cold summer drinks, and made into pesto. I made some of the pesto this week after listening to Brigitte Mars and Susun Weed talking about what plants can be used to make it. I blended the fresh leaves with olive oil, salt, garlic, lemon juice, sunflower seeds and pumpkin seeds. It is tasty and stayed a good consistency, the lemon balm once blended not being as strong a taste as I would have thought. It goes well on toast, or added to pasta, a bowl of soup or salad.
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To buy dried lemon balm that you can use for tea visit our shop:

http://solarripe.eu/product/organic-lemon-balm-herbal-tea/

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