Infusions are an incredibly simple, direct way to capture the essence of herbs and plants and enhance the properties of whatever you’re infusing them with. They can turn a very basic substance into something really special, and one of the best candidates for making infusions is Lavender.
Add fresh Lavender flowers and leaves to a bottle of vinegar (spirit, white wine or apple cider vinegar, depending on your choice) and allow the Lavender essence to slowly infuse into the liquid. The efficacy of the vinegar will be enhanced by the addition, and it smells fabulous. (Lavender flowers will also pass their colour to the vinegar.) If your Lavender is not in bloom, you can use leaves and stems instead, though the infusion will be a bit less potent.
Lavender vinegar is an amazingly versatile substance that can be used in place of ordinary vinegar for all the many, many spotless jobs that vinegar  can perform, from all-purpose cleaner , fabric softener  and toilet cleaner , to skin toner , warm compress and hair conditioner .
How to make it
- Fill a glass jar almost to the top with loosely packed Lavender flowers, stalks and leaves (rinse them first).
- Fill the jar with vinegar so that all the plant material is covered.
- Cover (use clingfilm under the lid if it is made of metal) and leave in a warm place for up to four weeks. (I normally can’t wait longer than ten days.)
- I find most of the infusing happens in the first week. You’ll notice the vinegar taking on a pinkish hue (see the pictures), and a great Lavender smell if you open the lid. The Lavender plant material will be fading as the vinegar takes on its colour and fragrance.
- When you can’t wait any longer, strain the vinegar and discard the Lavender into the compost. (I first put the used Lavender in a net bag and add it to my bath for one final infusion before relinquishing it to the soil.)
- Use as desired. (You can add a fresh sprig of Lavender for decoration if you like.)
- Lavender vinegar is delicious sprinkled on salads.
- It makes an excellent general health tonic, mouth  and throat wash, and congestion fighter.
- Its wonderful fragrance means that cleaning  with it becomes an aromatic and uplifting treat, while its antiseptic and insecticidal properties mean it works even harder for you than plain vinegar.
- The many health benefits of Lavender also mean this vinegar is superior to plain vinegar in personal care .
- Used for hair , it calms and cleanses the scalp, balances oil production, calms frizz and strengthens the hair shaft over time. Use diluted as a conditioner, or spray on as an instant detangler and for shine.
- For skin , it calms the complexion, heals and disinfects acne, eczema etc. and also balances oil production. Use diluted with water as a toner, or add to a bath.
- It makes a wonderfully soothing and effective warm compress for aching, tired muscles, inflammation or any aches and pains. Soak a small towel in a solution of Lavender vinegar and hot water and apply as needed.
- Spray onto your skin (diluted if you wish) as a refreshing and fragrant insect repellent and for sunburn or bite relief.
Next time I’ll tell you about some other easy Lavender infusions.