Week of April 8, 2014 - Cronewort Root Vinegar

Tuesday, April 08, 2014 9:14 AM | Wise Woman (Administrator)
Cronewort Root Vinegar

Artemisia vulgaris, often called mugwort, but addressed as cronewort by me, is an invasive plant. Her ability to be pushy works well when she is colonizing roadsides and reclaiming parking lots, but not so well in my herb garden. Every spring I am faced anew with the necessity of containing my thriving cronewort patch.

One of the ways cronewort invades and claims land is by forming an underground network of crisscrossing rhizomes and roots. To control cronewort, one must pull up as much a s possible of these roots. In the first photo you can clearly see that the roots are just starting to sprout their new leaves. This vinegar can be made when the leaves are large as well.

Put the rhizomes/roots and sprouting leaves in a bowl and cover with cold water and let soak while you gather: pasteurized apple cider vinegar, a sharp knife, a jar with a plastic lid, a label and a waterproof pen. When I have everything gathered, I swish the roots around in the water to free clinging dirt, then shake them dry in the sink, and chop  them.

Yes, you can rinse the roots under running water or even use a brush on them to get all the dirt off. But think of this: A little dirt in the vinegar will improve your gut flora. Soil bacteria improve the ability of the body to uptake and use minerals. Any dirt left on the roots will sink to the bottom of the vinegar, so you will not actually ingest it. Keeping the roots parallel while soaking and afterwards makes cutting easier and more uniform.

The most difficult part of making a vinegar is finding the right jar. It is best if it is filled right up to the top. If you are shy, go back outside and get some more plant material. A little care here will make a big difference in you finished product. Be sure to use a plastic lid as the vinegar will corrode metal.

Here is the finished vinegar. Well, not finished completely, since it takes about six weeks for the minerals in the roots to be fully extracted into the vinegar. So label your vinegar and find a place for it where you can observe it over the next month or so. I’ll be asking you about it, so be sure to keep it near at hand.

Green blessings.
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