The Vegan Month of Food (Vegan MoFo) is back! As is this blog. I seem to be able to post about food regularly on Facebook, but I have been very negligent in transferring such posts to this blog or the PPK. Vegan MoFo is here to rescue me!
We are finally seeing some cooler weather in Tennessee, which brings to mind the inevitable upcoming frosts, a few weeks down the pike. Our herb garden is overgrown, and I am committed to salvaging as much of it as possible before it dies off for the winter. One easy and fun way to do so is to make herbal tinctures. You can simply throw fresh herbs into Everclear or vodka, cap the jar, stick it in a cabinet, and wait. However, this year, I am following a more complicated process.
I picked a LOT of lemon balm, and dryed it in my dehydrator at 95 F. I then ground it fine. A food processor or coffee grinder will do the job, unless you feel like an old alchemist and want to use a mortar and pestle. Dehydrating first lets you get a large amount of herbal matter into a smaller amount of alcohol, with a more intense result. I put the ground lemon balm in a jar and added 1/4 c Everclear for each ounce of dried herb. (I am not 100% sure that Everclear is made through a strictly vegan process, and was unable to confirm online. However, most hard liquor is vegan.) I placed a piece of plastic wrap over the top of the jar (to prevent contact with metal), and screwed on the lid. I then wrapped the jar in foil to keep it dark. It lives on the counter and I give it a shake once or twice a day.
After about 3 weeks, I will strain the tincture (using a coffee filter) and put it away for use. It will keep indefinitely. A few drops will great flavor to sorbet or mixed drinks. A single drop brings mystery to a salad dressing. This weekend, I hope to start more tinctures - maybe lavender and basil.