WHAT IS OXYMEL?
The word oxymel, originally oxalme, derives from the ancient Egyptian language to mean acid (oxy) and honey (mel). The practice of brewing salt brine and vinegar, to which fermenters, herbalists and healers might add honey and herbs, was a treatment or tonic for a variety of ailments. Oxymel’s companion remedy was the hydromel, or water and honey, more commonly known as mead, or honey wine.
When I make oxymel, I allow flowers or herbs to rest in raw honey and raw vinegar for weeks before straining off the herbs. I use this potent elixir in my probiotic mocktail recipes or simply take a tablespoon by itself for its healing properties.
Vinegar is the common ingredient in oxymel and shrub. Vinegar is derived from a sugar-containing source in a two-step process. The first stage is fermentation, in which the sugars are broken down by yeast, in the absence of oxygen, to produce alcohol and carbon dioxide. In the second stage, the addition of oxygen enables bacteria to produce amino acid, water and other compounds. Supporters of wild fermentation would call that a short cut.
Vinegar is used in cooking not only for its flavor qualities but also its chemical properties. Often used in pickling, vinegar can be made from a variety of original ingredients, each lending its own unique flavors and qualities.The bacterial culture used to ferment the ethanol is referred to as the mother of vinegar.
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