Make Your Own Herbal Condiments

Kimberly Snyder
by Kimberly Snyder

Herbal condiments, such as herbal honeys, sugars and vinegars, serve as an interesting way to add herbs to your cooking! They also make great gifts for the holidays!

What Are Herbal Condiments

Herbal jellies, honeys, sugars and vinegars are examples of herbal condiments. Herbal condiments serve as an interesting way to add herbs to your cooking.

Certain herbs work better with the different types of herbal condiments. I will share my favorite herbs to use with each type of herbal condiment.

These herbal condiments would make great gifts for the upcoming holidays. They can be prepared ahead of time. They can stand on their own as a small gift or are great to add to a gift basket.

These items are a great way to use recycled glass jars and bottles. I would use canning jars and new lids and rings for the herbal jellies. The sugars can be stored in a recycled jar for gift giving. Always clean and sterilize any container that you plan to use.

Herbal Jelly & Herbal Honey

The use of herbal jellies can quickly turn an ordinary cake or cookie in to an herbal delight! Simply spread herbal jelly between shortbread or butter cookies or the layers of a cake.

Herbal jellies can be made with lemon verbena, mint, basil or scented geranium leaves. They are easy to prepare by following the recipe for apple jelly on any package of pectin and using an herbal infusion in place of the water.

Herbs that are compatible with honey include the mints, cinnamon basil, and rose & lemon scented geraniums. Herbal honey is also easy to prepare. Gently heat the herbs and honey over low heat. Pour into a sterilized jar. Let the honey “age” for at least a week before using.

Herbal honey is delicious over vanilla ice cream! It can also be added to hot or iced tea.

Herbal Infusions

Infusion is simply a fancy word for a strong tea. An infusion is prepared by heating the liquid and letting the herbs steep for a least 30 minutes. Longer steeping will produce a stronger infusion, experiment to find out the strength you prefer. After steeping for the desired time, strain the liquid to remove the herbs and then add the liquid to the recipe.

You don’t need a fancy glass teapot in order to make an infusion. A saucepan of boiling water will work also. You can put your herbs in a metal tea infuser, a muslin bags, a piece of cheesecloth or place them loose in the water and then strain when finished steeping.

Herbal Sugars

Herbal sugars are my personal favorite! They are super simple to make! Herbs that blend well with sugar include the mints, lavender and rose geranium.

To make herbal sugar, simply layer the dried herb of your choice in white table sugar. Place in a covered container and let set for several days. The herbal sugar can be used to flavor cookies, cakes and frostings. They can also be used in ice tea, lemonade or even coffee!

One of my favorite tricks is to dust the bottom of a greased baking pan with mint herbal sugar when I make brownies or chocolate cake. This simple trick adds a subtle hint of mint!

Herbal sugars are also a good accompaniment to fruits such as strawberries or grapefruit. Rose geranium sugar is delightful sprinkled over fresh strawberries.

To enhance the appearance of your herbal sugars , edible glitter can be added. Edible glitter can be purchased wherever cake decorating supplies are sold.

In order to keep the pieces of dried herbs out of your final product (especially beverages), store your herbal sugar in a shaker type container with holes big enough for the sugar to sift thru but small enough so the dried herbs don’t.

One caution: this is one recipe where you do not want to substitute fresh herbs for dried. Fresh herbs will draw moisture and make your sugar a clumpy mess!

Herbal Vinegars

Making your own herbal vinegars is easy and inexpensive. The process involves infusing herbs in vinegar and then straining the mixture through a cloth bag. Herbal vinegars can be used for cooking, cleaning, and even beauty products.

The Basic Process of making Herbal Vinegar

You will also need a glass jar with a lid, a strainer, a funnel, and a measuring cup as well as bottles to store the finished herb vinegar.

In a glass jar, pour one quart of white vinegar that has been heated just to the boiling point and 1 cup dried herbs or 1/2 cup fresh herbs. Shake and cover. Place in a dark location for 2 weeks. Shake the mixture every few days.

After two weeks, strain out the solids using cheesecloth or a fine mesh strainer. I like to line the strainer with a coffee filter. It keeps the herbs from getting caught in the mesh and makes clean up so much easier!

mesh strainer lined with a coffee filter placed on top of a large glass measuring cup

Pour the strained liquid into a clean sterilized bottle and store in a cool place.

A fresh sprig of herbs can be added to the bottle of vinegar for extra interest! The sprig of herb will add flavor to the finished vinegar so choose an herb that is compatible with the flavor of vinegar.

Any of the culinary herbs can be used in herbal vinegars. The more savory herbs such as rosemary and bay would be used in vinegars that would be used in more robust flavored dishes such as salad dressing, roasts or stews. Sweeter herbs such as mint or lavender could be used in herbal vinegars that would used in place of liqueur in recipes.

Recipe for a Cake using Herbal Vinegar

Kim's Krazy Kake

An easy to make Chocolate cake with a unique flavor !

5 from 2 votes

Prep Time 15 minsCook Time 25 mins


  • 8 x 8 square pan
  • mixing bowl
  • spatula
  • measuring utensils
  • parchment paper to line pan
  • wire rack for cooling


  • 3 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1/2 cup baking cocoa
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 2 tsp herbal vinegar either mint, lavender or scented geranium herbal vinegar
  • 2/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 cups water


  • in a medium mixing bowl, mix together all the dry ingredients. Mix well.
  • Add remaining four ingredients . Mix well.
  • Place a piece of parchment paper in the bottom of the 8x8 cake pan. Leave the sides ungreased .
  • Pour the batter into the prepared pan.
  • Bake at 350 for 25 to 30 Minutes.
  • Check to see if the cake is done by inserting a toothpick into the center
  • If the toothpick comes out clean , the cake is finished baking. if not, bake for a few more minutes and re-test
  • Once the cake is finished baking, place pan on wire rack and allow to cool
  • After the cake has cooled, run a thin spatula along the sides to help loose the cake.
  • Invert the cake onto the cooling rack Remove the parchment paper from the bottom of the cake. Invert the cake on to a serving platter
  • Dust the top of the cake with powdered sugar .


If you don't have herbal vinegar, white vinegar can be substituted

Tried this recipe? how it was!

General Tips for Cooking with Herbs

When using fresh herbs, be sure to bruise them first to release the essential oils in the herbs. Fresh herbs can be substituted for dried herbs and dried herbs can be substituted for fresh herbs. Just be sure to adjust the proportions accordingly. The general rule is to use at least twice as much fresh herb as you would dried herbs.

Dried herbs should be stored in opaque glass containers in a cool, dark location. Light and heat affect their storage life. Herbs should not be stored over the range, although that is where they invariably end up!

If you have some dried herbs that have been on the shelf awhile, you can use them in your herbal vinegar. They can also still be used in your cooking, you just need to crush them a bit more to release their oils. I use my hands but a mortar and pestle can also be used.

If you are just starting to cook with herbs, start slowly. Add a small amount to the recipe at a time and then taste. Add more herbs if you wish, just remember you can always add more but you can’t remove the excess if you’ve added too much!

For More Herbal Gift Giving Ideas please see Let’s Craft A Caffeine Free Herbal Tea

Village tea Canister close up w/tea & accessories

Kimberly Snyder
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