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Get Through Winter With This Evergreen Oxymel Recipe

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Mix 2 handfuls cut conifer noodles and 1 cup apple cider vinegar in a jar, and stir. Cover it with a non reactive lid and store in a dark place for 2 to 4 weeks, ensuring needles are submerged. Strain the mix with a fine mesh strainer, discard the solid. Combine strained vinegar with 3/4 cup honey in a sterilized jar and refrigerate for upto 1 year. This yields 1 1/2 cup.

Mixologists and herbalists love evergreen conifers not only for their piney, sometimes citrusy flavors, but also for their antioxidants. They have the ability to warm up a cold body and break up a boggy, chesty cough. You can make this oxymel with any edible conifer, such as pine (Pinus spp.), spruce (Picea spp.), fir (Abies spp.), or Douglas fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii).

After steeping the needles in vinegar, you’ll wind up with a flavored vinegar that’s delicious all by itself (pine needle vinegar is often compared to balsamic vinegar). You might wish to reserve some for cooking; as for the rest, you’ll mix it with honey to make a tasty, healing oxymeal.

Evergreen Oxymel Recipe

Ingredients

  • 2 large handfuls conifer needles
  • 1 cup (235 ml) apple cider vinegar
  • 3⁄4 cup (255 g) honey, or to taste

Directions

  1. Roughly cut the conifer needles using scissors or a heavy knife.
  2. Combine the needles and vinegar in a sterilized pint (470 ml) jar, stirring with a chopstick to release air bubbles and moisten all the needles. Leave at least 1/4 inch (6 mm) of head space and make sure the needles are completely submerged.
  3. Wipe the rim of the jar with a clean cloth. Cover the jar with a nonreactive lid. Store the jar in a cool, dark place for 2 to 4 weeks, shaking it daily and ensuring that the needles stay submerged.
  4. Strain the mixture through a fine-mesh strainer lined with a cloth or towel; discard the solids.
  5. Combine the strained vinegar and honey in a sterilized jar or bottle, cover it with a non-reactive lid, and shake to combine. Store in the refrigerator for up to 1 year.

Yield

About 11/2 cups (355 ml)

Wildcrafting Tip

Conifer needles or leaves may be harvested any time of year, although they’re usually most aromatic in spring and can be bitter in winter, so pick accordingly. And, I know I’ve said it before, but I can’t overemphasize how important it is to taste each individual tree, because their flavors really do vary! Also, be sure not to harvest too much from any single tree; move around and gather a little here and there to maintain the area’s ecological balance.
Kami McBride

Kami McBride is the author of The Herbal Kitchen. For 25 years she has been teaching people to use herbs in their daily lives for health and wellness. Kami helps you to de-mystify the world of herbal medicine, and is fanatic about motivating people to use herbs in their gardening, cooking, skin care, stress reduction and caring for children’s home ailments. She lives with her husband and 9 year old son in northern California and loves helping people learn how to use herbs in the home setting.

Kami McBride

Kami McBride is the author of The Herbal Kitchen. For 25 years she has been teaching people to use herbs in their daily lives for health and wellness. Kami helps you to de-mystify the world of herbal medicine, and is fanatic about motivating people to use herbs in their gardening, cooking, skin care, stress reduction and caring for children’s home ailments. She lives with her husband and 9 year old son in northern California and loves helping people learn how to use herbs in the home setting.

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