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How to Use Hydrosols: (And, What Are They?)

What is a Hydrosol?

Hydrosols are water-based suspensions of only the most medicinal and food-grade qualities of each herb.

How are Hydrosols used?

A study in Turkey on the use of Hydrosols in culinary and medicinal traditions, found:

"Oregano  and Summer Savory were effective against all bacteria during incubation. Anise, cumin and black thyme hydrosols were active against some bacteria, but not all. Consequently, it is likely that some edible plant hydrosols may be used as antimicrobial agents to prevent the deterioration of food products".

While their use in culinary and medicinal traditions goes back further than tinctures or essential oils, Hydrosols have also passed the scrutiny of modern science.

The idea of Hydrosols as not only a flavoring, but as a natural preservative which can be added with a spritz to food products is an huge bonus to keep in mind.

How can I use Hydrosols?

*As a preservative:

+ Suggestions: Oregano and Summer Savory (coming soon)...

  • Consider spraying and tossing them in salads or salad greens during prep work
  • This of course works many other servings of raw vegetables as well -- Oregano performs well with so many, it's use in this way could become ubiquitous
  • Spray on meat as it marinates for longer periods
  • Try on fruit -- especially already spicy-esque fruit dishes

Hydrosols can become a fresh and refreshing go-to flavoring option for a variety of cuisines, cocktails, or mocktails.

*In restaurants and kitchens:

  • Spray on soups for a finishing touch of flavor and finesse
  • Spray on fruit or vegetables -- fresh or raw
  • Spray on meat right before serving to freshen up and embolden the flavor
  • Spritz on top of a dip, rice, potato, fish, eggs, add to butter sauce / emulsion
  • Mist on top of teas -- hot or iced
  • Desserts
  • Atop iced or sparkling water with or without a slice of fruit or garnish

*In the bar:

  • Spritz atop almost any spirit as a core essence
  • Holy Basil Hydrosol (coming soon) comes recommended to top off beer
  • Try a spritz of Lavender or Wisteria on top of champagne
  • Try pairing Green Coriander (coming soon) with gin
  • Try pairing African Blue Basil (coming soon) with Vodka
  • Cinnamon Basil is a popular cocktail staple

Hydrosols also of course have various topical uses.

  • Mist diluted solutions on face and hair to re-freshen and re-hydrate (avoid eyes)
  • Mist Lavender Hydrosol over sheets and pillows before going to bed or use on laundry in lieu of a dryer sheet
  • Herbal baths
  • Try using as a super light and non-greasy bug repellent

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Your best Hydrosol recipe -- in the bar or kitchen -- is going to be the one you create!

Hydrosols have history...and, still endless room for experimentation; so, embrace tradition as it circles back to the cutting edge of these timeless herbal distillations.