An Exploration of Herbal Flavours.
This orange peel and garden herbs oxymel is a lovely treat to get started on some herbal springtime recipes. It's sweet and sour, citrusy and herbal, making it a delicious addition to your springtime salads and for preventative immune support.
This recipe is called a garden herbs oxymel because it is meant for you to explore what's around you. Rather than a step-to-step guideline, take this recipe as an exercise for you to get creative with your pantry and garden ingredients.
So, what's an oxymel?
Oxymel comes from the Greek word 'oxymeli' which translates to 'acid and honey.' This preparation involves extracting herbs in vinegar and honey.
What it's good for: Apple cider vinegar and honey are potent medicines in their own right, whether you add herbs to this preparation or not. Vinegar has been traditionally used to fight infections, treat wounds, preserve foods, and clean surfaces.
The use of vinegar as a medicine goes back to Hippocrates, who suggested vinegar for the treatment of sores and cleaning ulcerations (Johnston, Carol S, and Cindy A Gaas, 2006).
The antimicrobial nature of vinegar alongside the soothing and expectorant properties of honey make an oxymel a potent folk medicine for dry coughs and fighting infections. The best part is, they taste so good!
How to use an oxymel:
1. 1 tbsp daily to help strengthen immunity
2. As a salad dressing (this is my favourite way of using an oxymel)
3. Infuse it into your cocktails and mocktails
How to Make this Oxymel
I don't want you to look at the ingredients' list as a solid recipe. Rather, look at it as a space for exploration. The main ingredients you'll need are your citrus of choice (ie. orange, blood orange, mandarin or lemon), and pantry, garden or wildcrafted herbs.
What's growing in your garden? Some lemon balm or rosemary perhaps? Whether you've got lavender, mint, oregano, thyme, bay leafs, marjoram, calendula, lemon verbena, maybe there are some cleavers and nettles growing around you. Experiment with what you have available, or as Pascal Baudar calls it, your 'local terroir,' what is growing regionally/locally and prepare the ingredients into this Oxymel. If you have any dried herbs in your pantry, by all means, go for it!
I love the combination of citrus, sour and herbal in this oxymel. It is such a lovely treat to salads especially. Have fun with the flavours, experiment with your senses, enjoy the process!
There are various ways of preparing an oxymel. The best part is that you really don't have to follow strict guidelines for the honey to acid ratio. It all depends on what flavour you want to reach, whether you want your oxymel to be on the sweeter or sour side.
I like to follow the basic rule of 1 part vinegar with 1 part honey, you can always adjust it to your liking.
If you already have an infused honey prepared, feel free to mix that in with your infused vinegar! Or you can take the route of infusing the herbal honey and herbal vinegar separately, then combining the 2 when they're ready for straining.