by Tea Master DANIELA CUBELIC
Vinegar infused with tea & herbs is an ancient elixir for well-being. It can be used as a key ingredient in delicious dressings, dips, marinades & vinaigrettes, diluted in water & consumed as digestive or used as an ingredient in mocktails & cocktails.
Many traditions link vinegar with powerful curative powers, from assisting digestion to boosting the immune system; helping improve complexion & soothing skin ailments; reducing inflammation & even helping you live longer. Often herbs & teas were added to amplify the benefits of the vinegar.
My method for Tea-Infused Vinegars gives you an easy & tasty way to boost the nutritional content of your food because:
- when made using the recipe below, the vinegar extracts healthful properties from the tea & herbs
- good quality vinegar contains enzymes, vitamins, minerals & trace elements
- the acidity in the vinegar boosts your ability to digest & absorb nutrients from your meal
TEA & VINEGAR COMBINATIONS
Most of our teas are wonderful when mixed with vinegar.
Organic unfiltered vinegar is the best kind from a health benefits perspective. This type of vinegar is often cloudy because it contains enzymes, amino acids & antioxidants.
It is available in apple cider, white or red wine, rice wine or malt* varieties—any of which can be used in this recipe. (*Please note that malt vinegar may contain gluten so you’ll want to read the label closely if you’re gluten-free).
Look for vinegars that are organic & read the label to ensure it doesn’t contain any additives (many of the gourmet or standard grocery vinegars contain artificial flavours, colours, sugar & preservatives).
While it can be tempting to mix different types of teas into one recipe, to maximize the healthful properties of the tea & vinegar it’s best to stick to one type of tea per vinegar.
For skincare: BEAU-TEA-FUL
makes approximately 1 cupINGREDIENTS
1 cup good quality, unfiltered vinegar
1 tablespoon SILK ROAD tea (you are using dry, loose tea leaves—do not brew them in water first)
DIRECTIONS1. Use a sterile glass jar with a tight-fitting lid (mason jars are ideal). Place loose tea & vinegar in jar. Stir gently with a stainless steel spoon about 5 rotations clockwise (but don’t overmix).
2. Screw lid onto jar. Let sit for 24 hours at room temperature, away from exposure to sunlight or heat, then strain using a fine mesh stainless steel strainer.
3. Store in fresh, sterilized glass jar. Keep in a dark, cool cupboard, avoiding exposure to light or heat.IMPORTANT NOTES
For maximum health benefits, use within a month. After that time, the vinegar will still taste good, but the healthful properties diminish.
Do not infuse tea leaves in vinegar for longer than 24 hours, as it may alter the healthful properties of the combination. While it’s possible to heat vinegar with herbs or tea to extract flavour, I don’t recommend it because heating vinegar can cause a loss of some valuable benefits. This cold infusion method tastes delicious too!
Use good quality, cold-pressed olive oil, grapeseed oil, hazelnut oil, hemp, flaxseed or other good quality vegetable or nut oil—these will enhance the healthful properties of your dressing, as they bring a wealth of antioxidants & healthy fats. Avoid oils that are stale as they no longer have the same nutritive value. Remember that heating the vegetable or nut oil or tea-infused vinegar will also cause a decline in nutrient value. It’s fine to drizzle it over warm grains or salads, but avoid cooking with or heating the dressing.
For a classic style dressing: 1 part Tea-Infused Vinegar + 3 parts Cold-Pressed Oil
For a zestier, tangier style dressing, increase the proportion of vinegar: 1 part Tea-Infused Vinegar + 2 parts Cold-Pressed Oil
1. Place the oil & vinegar in a bowl & whisk thoroughly for the two ingredients to emulsify. This is important because it ensures the two ingredients combine together very nicely & that changes how they coat food better.
Vinegar is naturally zesty & salty so the dressing shouldn’t require salt. As the vinegar is flavoured with tea, it doesn’t require the addition of any other items.
2. If you like a bit of sweetness to your dressing, add 1 teaspoon maple syrup or honey per every cup of dressing you make—but try to enjoy it without the sweetener if you can. All of the processed grains & foods we eat nowadays are so full of sugar or high in carbohydrates that we are getting far more sugar in our diets than we need. Try to develop a taste for foods without added sweeteners, to help your entire system function better.