Friday, May 18, 2007


As a cup of tea, chamomile is relaxing, comforting and the pre-eminent herbal brew. Though for me that is just the beginning of its possibilities. For the next few months I will be able to get fresh, green bouquets of chamomile with its small yellow, perfumed flowers in my local market. Of course, if a spring cold grabs hold I will steep a pot of hot chamomile with honey to sooth that which ails me -- though for me the pleasures of chamomile does not end there.

Try a sun tea with strawberry puree or if you own an ice cream maker there is nothing more cleansing then a sorbet infused with this sweet scented herb. The arrival of this herb marks for me the first of my “puttn’ up.” That is I like to make chamomile vinegar for my usage in the colder months that are bound to return. It is a simple infusion into white distilled vinegar, and the only thing you have to do is wait. Then use this very floral vinegar with fish, poultry or over bitter greens.

Chamomile Vinegar – yields 3 cups

2 cups tightly packed fresh chamomile – stems and buds
2-1/2 cups distilled vinegar
1/2-cup water
1 teaspoon sugar

Combine all in a 1 quart Mason jar. Loosely cover with a lid and allow the mixture to cure in a cool spot for 2 months. Make sure that the chamomile is completely submerged in the vinegar otherwise it will mold and ruin the vinegar. After two months strain the mixture through a fine sieve discarding the chamomile and the mother (which is a yeast) that most likely developed. Place the vinegar in a clean jar with a tight fitting lid, and store at room temperature.

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