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The Magic of Vinegar by Ness Armstrong

A couple of weeks ago, while doing my weekly grocery shopping, I picked up a jar of pink pickled onions. I love pickles in all forms – onions, gherkins, vegetables, capers. You name it, if it has been steeped in vinegar, I’ll try it.

I decided to have a go at making my own ‘pink’ pickled onions and it was so easy to make. Slice up a red onion and I added white wine vinegar - as that is what I had in the cupboard, which I use for a Hairy Bikers Sweet and Sour recipe (which is also delicious). Voila! It is now steeping very nicely in my fridge. I could add sugar, salt or peppercorns but decided to make it as simply as possible, it also won't last very long in my house as we love them.

I was going to write a blog on onions, but I found this blog written by my lovely friend Rachel Patterson, which is an excellent read. I then began thinking about vinegar and its many mundane and magical uses...

Vinegar has been around for many, many years and is such a versatile ingredient. It has lots of culinary uses and has health benefits and of course magical uses too!

There are many types of vinegar:

  • Distilled White

  • Rice

  • Malted

  • Balsamic

  • Apple Cider

  • White Wine

  • Red Wine

There are also others, but I thought I’d list the well-known.

Making vinegar is quite a process. It becomes a little science-y but you need sugar and yeast to start with. Sugar is turned into ethanol by yeast and then something called acetobacter, oxidises the ethanol to produce acetic acid. Sugars are in all sorts of fruits and foods and what you use will depend on the finished product. This is then fermented and filtered in all manner of processes before you get what we buy bottled in our supermarkets today.

White Vinegar or distilled white is an excellent product for cleaning. Take ½ cup of white vinegar, 2 cups of distilled water, a few drops of essential oils (if you want to mask the smell) and a spray bottle. It can be used on glass, mixed with salt, or baking soda into a paste as a limescale remover for taps and tiles. Diluted, it can also be used as a floor wash, but be careful and make sure that your flooring won’t be affected by the acids in the vinegar.

Vinegar is said to have health benefits too:

Blood sugar control

Weight management

Reduce cholesterol

Antimicrobial – for treatment of warts, skin infections and burns.

Magical Properties of Vinegar

Element: Fire

Planet: Mars

Gender: Masculine

Uses: Protection, cleansing, any Fire Energy work, banishing spells

You can add any oils or herbs to your vinegar to tie in with any intent. These can be used for floor washes and room-sprays or added to bath water.

One of the most well-known recipes is something called Four Thieves Vinegar which, depending on what you add to it, can be taken internally or used as the above.

I found a lovely recipe, taken from Rachel Patterson’s book Hoodoo which is published by Moon Books.

Rachel has not given quantities, but instead suggests that you go with the amount that works for you and any or all of the following ingredients:

Any vinegar of your choosing









Mustard Seeds

Mix together and put in a clean, sterilised jar or bottle in a dark place for 3 to 4 weeks. You can then strain if you wish and decant into another sterilised jar or bottle. Take 1 teaspoonful a day for protection against illness.

It can also be used in bath water for protection, sprinkled on your boundaries for protection and used in banishing spells.

Note: keep the vinegar solution away from the metal lid of the jar or bottle as it can corrode it.

Another recipe for Four Thieves Vinegar is to be used externally and lists insect repellent, a hair rinse and treating insect bites among its uses.

2 cups apple cider vinegar

2 teaspoons wormwood

2 teaspoons sage

2 teaspoons rosemary

2 teaspoons rue

2 teaspoons lavender


Hoodoo by Rachel Patterson – published by Moon Books

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