Some spare hours today saw me decanting the most recent tinctures and vinegars. Ribwort plantain came out it's usual almost black colour, with a warm taste to the slight bitterness. The small amount of yarrow tincture was a clear brown/orange, making me anxious to harvest more once it all starts flowering. I had to protect the few random stalks in the field behind the gate from Chris'enthusiastic strimming last Sunday, but he then went on to leave the ones in my parents garden as he recognised them as a plant I wanted, rather than a weed!
The real surprises were the fennel tincture and the chive vinegar, both of which came out a beautiful red. The fennel tincture had a rose glow to it, while the vinegar was almost scarlet. I didn't think the tincture would go red as it looked a dark green when I first poured the vodka in. It was such a surprise! I hope the liqueur will also have a red tinge, but I shall have to wait another month before that is ready to decant.
The chive vinegar smelled strongly of pickled onions (which is not surprising!), but has almost a sweet flavour to the vinegar. I can see we're going to have fun at the next Vinegar workshop!
At the last one, we made fire cider vinegar and I was thinking of that when I saw some horseradish leaves sticking up above a patch of weeds surrounding some courgette and squash plants. The courguettes are flowering and have set one fruit, which already has had a bite taken out of it. The butternut squash plants don't seem to have grown at all since I planted them, which does not bode well.
I thought I would clear the weeds from them (red dock, chickweed and various others) when I saw some rustling and a huge frog made its way into the safety of the compost bins which are overgrown with potatoes and bindweed. I did apologise for taking away his shelter, but he has lots of other places to hide. I've seen a couple of tiny froglets in the past month, but it's really good to see the adults back again.