Archive for the ‘Recipes and DIY’ Category

Guide to Saving Herb Seeds!

Posted by Kori|02 September 2014

Saving Seeds

 

While I have been a gardener for nearly thirty years, only recently have I begun saving seeds from my garden with any seriousness. It always seemed a bit daunting and mysterious, and for many years I didn’t think much about where the seeds came from. I simply bought seeds. Period.

Then, I started getting seeds from other gardeners and began to learn more about harvesting, storing, and sharing seeds. There are some great reasons to save seeds from your garden plants! Not only can it save money, but the seeds harvested from your strongest plants are already acclimated to your soil, climate, and growing conditions. The plants become conditioned and the “offspring” have a leg up (so to speak).

I still consider myself somewhat of a beginner, but as each year passes, my confidence grows and I learn more about the best time to collect seeds, as well as new ways to dry and store them. Here’s a little guide to get you started collecting seeds from your garden too…

How to collect and save those precious seeds…

1. Collect seeds from the healthiest, strongest plants. There is something to be said for genetics when it comes to propagating plants. Whether you are dividing or saving seed, go to the best-looking, happiest plants as parents.

2. Allow the seeds to develop on the plant as long as possible. This means a willingness to invite a little untidy chaos into your garden. Many of us have been trained to cut off flower heads as soon as they start to wilt and become unsightly. In order to collect viable seeds, the plants have to be allowed to “go to seed” and put energy into developing healthy seeds, pods, or, in the case of sunflowers (Helianthus annuus) and other Asteraceae family plants—what most folks think of as the “flower” is actually a bunch of flowers packed into a head that produce a huge round of seeds.

3. Be prepared to battle the critters! It can be a bit of a dance to let the seeds develop on the plants and get to them before the squirrels, birds, and other seed-eaters do. In the case of those sunflowers, I harvest the biggest head from the best plants and I allow it to get heavy and droopy with seeds (you can harvest and dry the petals to use too), but I do cut it off and bring it in to the garage to finish aging before the squirrels can get to it. I then let the critters have some of the smaller heads, and feed some of them to our chickens! Some gardeners will tie a plastic or paper bag over a flower or group of flowers they intend to harvest. This allows the seeds to continue ripening on the plant and protects them from the critters.

4. Some plants will drop their seeds before they are ripe and dry. Nasturtiums (Tropaeolum spp) are one of those plants and soon after the flowers wilt, the plant will drop plump green seeds onto the ground. I often let some of these just fall where they will and they dry, age, and, if we’re lucky, eventually sink down into dirt and grow new plants. I love finding surprise “nasties” tucked into cracks and along the edges of the garden. You can collect them from the ground, however, while they are still green and allow to dry. They can then be stored and planted “on purpose” in other areas of the garden.
red clover seed

 

5. Collecting seeds from pods can be a little tricky. Normally the pods will start out small, green, and tightly closed. Shepherd’s Purse (Capsella bursa-pastoris) has little heart-shaped pods. As the pods age, they generally get browner and dryer. You’ll want to harvest the seeds from these pods once they are mature and dry, but not allow the pods to go so long they naturally split and drop the seeds. Plants of the Brassicaceae family (this includes plants like Mustard) will form tight pods called silicles or siliques. This is another instance where putting a bag over the pods can be helpful. I will also harvest the pods when they are a little under-ripe and allow them to dry on a paper towel or cotton napkin until they are dry, brittle, and ready to pop open to release their seeds.

6. Scattering seeds—there are some plants that I encourage to self-seed throughout my garden: Calendula (Calendula officinalis), Chamomile (Matricaria recutita), Columbine (Aquilegia), and Dame’s Rocket (Hesperis matronalis), just to name a few. For these plants, I allow the seeds to ripen on the stem and then I help them to scatter by removing the seeds and broadcasting them throughout the areas of the garden where I’d like them to grow. For Columbine seeds, I actually have to clip the flower head off and turn it upside down, shaking out the tiny round seeds. As long as it doesn’t get too cold (I have a zone 8 garden), they will settle in and grow where they land. If you live in an area where the winters are cold and the plants are unprotected, it is best to gather the seed and store inside until spring.

7. If you do need to dry the seeds, you will want a warm, dry place to do this! If it is late summer and the days are warm and dry, hanging or laying them out of doors may work just fine (as long as you can protect them from the critters and the wind.) A garage, shed, or even the dining room table can work just fine too. Lay them out on a paper towel, cotton cloth, or torn open brown paper sacks and allow to dry thoroughly. For stalks of seeds, like Fennel, you may want to hang upside down as you would for herb drying, making sure to have a clean cloth or bag to catch the seeds that drop. I like to use a paper bag or sack, shaking and tapping the stalks against the inside sides of the bag to release all the seeds. There are some plants, like Echinacea (Echinacea purpurea), where the flower/seed heads are rather dense. I cut these after the outside petals fall and bring the whole head in to dry. Once, it is dry and brittle, I use my thumbs to loosen the seeds and release, spreading them out on the paper to dry for another day or so.

8. Branch out and try saving vegetable and other plant seeds! Squash (winter and summer) is one of the easiest to try. Choose one of the best specimens from an heirloom (or, at least, non-hybrid) variety and scoop out the seeds. Rinse and spread out to dry on paper towels or brown paper until thoroughly dry.

9. Store the saved seeds in an airtight container (sealing plastic bags work fine, but I like glass jars with lids for extra protection from moisture and temperature changes. Our clear glass salve and/or pantry jars are perfect, but you can also use recycled canning, baby food, or other jars. Be sure to label with the plant, the Latin name if you keep track of such things, and the year. Seeds do lose their viability over time and, while you may think you’ll remember what’s what, labeling is imperative!

10. Keep in a cool, dry place out of direct sunlight until ready to plant.

mustard-seed-yellow

Need some seeds to get started?

We offer a wonderful selection of organic herb seeds from Horizon Herbs!

 

Looking for more resources?

How To Dry Homegrown Herbs

Be sure to check out these wonderful books too:

The Medicinal Herb Grower

Homegrown Herbs

Growing and Using Herbs Successfully

Storing Seeds

Summer Recipe Sale – 25% off Creamy Cacao Hemp Milk

Posted by Erin|29 August 2014

Summer Recipe Sale - 25% off Creamy Cacao Hemp Milk

Making your own hemp milk is super easy and economical. Many of the alternative milks you find in stores contain weird thickeners and preservatives. Blending up your own allows you to have fresh, creamy, pure, and healthful hemp milk whenever you want it. No soaking necessary! You can also customize the flavor of your milk by using tea in place of the water – so delicious!

Ready to give it a try?

For the next 2 weeks, we are offering the ingredients in this recipe (select sizes) at 25% off! Now is the time to stock up on organic Hemp Seeds, Acacia Gum Powder, Cacao Powder, and Vanilla Bean Powder

 

Summer Recipe Sale - 25% off Cacao Hemp Milk

 

 

Flower Infused Ice Cream Recipes

Posted by Erin|25 August 2014

Flower Infused Ice Cream Recipes

 

Flowers bring a rainbow of joy to our world each summer. On those gloriously hot sunny days, what could be better than a cold, creamy, flower flavored treat inspired by the garden?

Now is the time to stop and taste the roses!

These ice cream recipes are not only super easy to make, they also taste like they’ve bloomed in a sweet tooth’s paradise. Perfect for late summer parties in the backyard, DIY wedding celebrations, or a sweet bite at sunset, these unique ice cream flavors are well balanced, without being perfumey, and are sure to charm the tastebuds.

 

Let’s gather an ice cream bouquet…

 

Vanilla Rose Ice Cream Recipe

 

Vanilla Rose Ice Cream

Ingredients:

2 cups organic half-and-half

1 cup organic heavy cream

½ cup organic sugar

1 cup organic rose buds or petals

1 tsp organic rose water

1 organic vanilla bean, split and scraped

Combine half-and-half, cream, sugar, scraped vanilla bean pulp, rose buds, and vanilla bean pod in a large saucepan and place over medium heat. Stir occasionally until the mixture just barely begins to simmer. Do not boil! Remove the mixture from heat immediately and allow to cool for a few minutes. Strain out the rose buds and vanilla bean pod. Pour mixture into a lidded container. Refrigerate overnight to allow the flavors to develop. Whisk in the rose water and pour mixture into an ice cream maker to freeze as directed. Once semi-solid, spoon the mixture back into a lidded container and harden in the freezer for at least 1 hour before serving.

 

Chocolate Lavender Ice Cream Recipe

 

Chocolate Lavender Ice Cream

Ingredients:

2 cups organic half-and-half

1 cup organic heavy cream

½ cup organic sugar

1 cup organic cocoa powder or cacao powder

4 tsp organic lavender flowers

2 tsp organic vanilla extract (learn to make your own!)

Combine half-and-half, cream, sugar, cocoa powder, and lavender in a large saucepan and place over medium heat. Stir occasionally until the mixture just barely begins to simmer. Do not boil! Remove the mixture from heat immediately and allow to cool for a few minutes. Strain out the lavender. Whisk in the vanilla extract and pour mixture into a lidded container. Refrigerate overnight to allow the flavors to develop. Pour mixture into an ice cream maker and freeze as directed. Once semi-solid, spoon the mixture back into a lidded container and harden in the freezer for at least 1 hour before serving.

 

Honey Chamomile Ice Cream Recipe

 

Honey Chamomile Ice Cream

Ingredients:

2 cups organic half-and-half

1 cup organic heavy cream

1/4 cup plus 2 Tbsp local honey

¼ cup organic chamomile flowers

2 tsp organic vanilla extract

Combine half-and-half, cream, honey, and chamomile in a large saucepan and place over medium heat. Stir occasionally until the mixture just barely begins to simmer. Do not boil! Remove the mixture from heat immediately and allow to cool for a few minutes. Strain out the chamomile. Whisk in the vanilla extract and pour mixture into a lidded container. Refrigerate overnight to allow the flavors to develop. Pour mixture into an ice cream maker and freeze as directed. Once semi-solid, spoon the mixture back into a lidded container and harden in the freezer for at least 1 hour before serving.

 

Jasmine Green Tea Ice Cream Recipe

 

Jasmine Green Tea Ice Cream

Ingredients:

2 cups organic half-and-half

1 cup organic heavy cream

½ cup organic sugar

2 tbsp organic jasmine green tea

2 tsp organic vanilla extract

2 tsp organic matcha green tea powder

Combine half-and-half, cream, sugar, and jasmine green tea in a large saucepan and place over medium heat. Stir occasionally until the mixture just barely begins to simmer. Do not boil! Remove the mixture from heat immediately and allow to cool for a few minutes. Strain out the green tea. Add matcha green tea powder and stir well. Whisk in the vanilla extract and pour mixture into a lidded container. Refrigerate overnight to allow the flavors to develop. Pour mixture into an ice cream maker and freeze as directed. Once semi-solid, spoon the mixture back into a lidded container and harden in the freezer for at least 1 hour before serving.

 

Scoop and enjoy!

 

The Sunday Steep

Posted by Kori|24 August 2014

 

 

Love Tea Recipe by Mountain Rose Herbs

 

We’ve been preparing for our next Free Herbalism Project and feeling excited to welcome jim mcdonald and Heron Brae as our visiting herbalists this Friday, August 29th from 5 to 9 pm! Heron will explore food and medicine from the wild world around us, and jim will take us on a journey of aphrodisiacs and energetics. With our thoughts of love kindled, we’ve created a very special tea recipe to celebrate at the gathering. We’ll be serving this delicious blend at the event, free of charge!

As romantically beautiful as it is a sensuous sipping experience, we hope you’ll join us for this incredible night of free herbal education. But, if you can’t be with us, feel free to brew up a bit of this tea to share with someone you love…

 

Love Tea Recipe

 

Love Tea Recipe

2 Tablespoons organic Pink Roses
1 teaspoon organic Damiana Leaf
1 Tablespoon organic Orange Peel
1 teaspoon organic Roasted Cacao Nibs
½ teaspoon organic Cinnamon Chips
¼ teaspoon organic Vanilla Beam Powder
1 pinch of organic Stevia Leaf

Combine all ingredients into a tea infuser, bag, strainer, or nest  and put in a tea pot or bowl. Heat  2-3 cups boiling water and pour over herbs (just enough for two to share!) Steep for 3- 5 minutes. Add honey, if desired, and enjoy!

 

Free Herbalism Project - Free herbal classes by Mountain Rose Herbs

Friday, August 29th 5 – 9 pm
Mt. Pisgah Arboretum
Eugene, Oregon

Register FREE for the event by clicking here!

 

How to Make a Cooling Herbal Compress in 3 Easy Steps

Posted by Alieta|18 August 2014

 

How to Make a Cooling Herbal Compress

 

A gentle and effective treatment for too much heat or minor bumps and bruises can come in the tried-and-true form of an herbal compress. This preparation brings the healing constituents of herbs and the soothing sensations of a cool damp cloth close to your skin to accelerate the natural healing process. When draped around the skin, the moisture of the tea soaked towel softens the skin and allows the healing herbs to penetrate deep into your body.

Unlike a warm compress, a cold compress constricts blood vessels, which helps ease swelling and calm inflammation, as well as reduce some kinds of pain. You can use a cold compress to soothe insect bites, sunburns, and general skin irritations. Cold compresses can also help speed healing in situations of bruising, occasional swollen glands, and minor strains and sprains.

The fun thing about compresses is that you don’t need an excuse to make one up to enjoy! Making a cold compress on a hot day can be a pleasant way to escape the heat and incorporate topical herb treatments and aromatherapy into to your daily life. A few of your favorite herbs for skin care can transport you to a spa oasis in your own home and remind you that you never need an excuse to treat yourself extra special!

 

How to Make a Cooling Herbal Compress

 

How to make and use an herbal compress:

1. First make a strong tea with your desired herbs. I like to use about 3 Tablespoons per cup of water. I use a cotton muslin bag and a ceramic bowl for steeping, but you could do this in a sauce pan or tea pot too! Let your tea cool, or place in the refrigerator to cool quickly.

2. Soak a clean piece of fabric/cotton material in the tea and squeeze excess tea out of the cloth.

3. Place soaked cloth on your skin and wrap around the area in need. Let sit and enjoy the cooling herbal sensation!

 

Cooling Herbal Compress Recipe

3 Tablespoons organic Calendula flowers or organic Lavender flowers
3 Tablespoons organic Peppermint leaf
3 Tablespoons organic Sage leaf
3 Tablespoons organic Chamomile flowers
3 cups water

Steep, strain, cool, soak, and wrap!

 

How to Make a Cooling Herbal Compress

 

More herbs to use in compresses!

Bug Bites:

BasilPlantain, Green Tea,

Mild Burns:

CleaversPeppermint, Sage, Eucalyptus, Marshmallow RootChamomileChaparral, Green Tea, Rose

General Skin Irritation:

Plantain, Chamomile, Calendula, St. Johns Wort, Lavender, Rose

 

Have fun and enjoy the refreshing cool!

 

The Sunday Steep

Posted by Kori|17 August 2014

fo-ti root

 

There is a bit of myth and storytelling surrounding Fo-Ti Root. It is celebrated in Chinese medicine as a plant native to China (but also grown in Taiwan and Japan) and believed to be a tonic for all sorts of overall health and longevity uses. In fact, Fo-Ti is also commonly known as He Shou Wu which loosely translates to “Mr. Wu’s hair stays black” implying that Fo-Ti root will promote youthfulness. A bit of legend with one’s tea can be fun!

Like other roots and barks, it is best prepared as a decoction, steeping the bark for 20 minutes to a half hour to extract the properties of the herb. Since I can’t help but try to make everything taste and smell yummy, this version of Fo-Ti Root Tea has the addition of Wild Cherry Bark, as well as Cinnamon and honey for an even more delicious beverage…

Fo-Ti Root Tea

1 teaspoon organic Fo-Ti Root

1 teaspoon organic Wild Cherry Bark

1 organic Cinnamon Stick or 1 teaspoon organic Cinnamon Chips

organic, raw honey to taste

Mix organic Fo-Ti Root, Wild Cherry Bark, and Cinnamon together in an infuser, tea bag, or strainer. Pour 1-2 cups boiling water over and let steep for approximately 20 minutes. Strain herbs from liquid and add raw honey to sweeten. Enjoy!

The Sunday Steep - Weekly Tea Recipes

Summer Recipe Sale: 25% Off DIY Infused Booze

Posted by Erin|15 August 2014


DIY Infused Booze - 25% Off Sale

 

Infusing your own spirits is an easy and economical way to dream up customized flavors for your favorite cocktails. You only need a few staple liquors, some glass jars, and whole dried herbs. Three of our favorite infusions are Chai Spiced Rum, Vanilla Cocoa Brandy, and Smoked Peppercorn Vodka! These versatile flavored liquors can be used to make exciting craft cocktails at home or for your party guests.

Feeling inspired to make a few bottles for fall celebrations?

For the next two weeks only, you can stock up on 8oz organic Firefly Chai, 4oz organic Smoked Black Peppercorns4oz organic Cacao Nibs, and 1oz organic Vanilla Beans at 25% off!

 

DIY Infused Booze - 25% Off Sale

Make Your Own Spiced Pickles, Relishes, & Chutneys!

Posted by Kori|11 August 2014

pickling2

 

My childhood memories of the hot month of August are wrapped in the smells of vinegar and pickling spices. My mother and grandmothers would “put up” their own versions of jams, jellies, and all sorts of pickled delights. While it doesn’t seem to be as much the custom any more, every party, buffet, and holiday meal table held a relish dish of homemade pickled vegetables. Perhaps this is why pickled is still one of my favorite ways to eat vegetables like cauliflower and beets.

I carry on the tradition in my own way. I don’t put up nearly the quantity they did (my mother was known for her manic canning of more than a hundred quarts of home-grown green beans every summer), but I do have my specialties. I’m a bit more experimental with the pickling herbs and spices and tend to like things spicier now than I would have liked as a 10 year-old!

 

Garden Relish

I normally make this from whatever vegetables happen to be overflowing in the garden and the measurements can be subject to some flexibility. I think it’s the spices that make for the relative consistency in the relish from year to year.

2-3 cups chopped zucchini or summer squash
1 cup chopped cucumber or 1 cup chopped cabbage (green or red) or a combination
1 cup chopped onion (yellow, red, or white)
1-2 cups chopped sweet pepper (green, red, yellow, or a combination)
2 cups organic sugar or 1 ½ cups honey
3 Tablespoons Himalayan Pink or Red Alea salt
1 – 1 ½ cups organic apple cider vinegar
1 Tablespoons organic Celery seed
2 teaspoons organic Brown Mustard seed
1 teaspoon organic whole Allspice
1 teaspoon organic whole Cloves
1 Tablespoon organic Garlic granules or 1 whole bulb fresh garlic, peeled and crushed
Optional: 1 teaspoon organic ground Turmeric

Chop all the vegetables and combine well. Sprinkle with salt and cover with cold water. Let stand for about 2 hours and then drain. I rinse lightly but don’t try to remove all the salty juiciness. In a large saucepan, combine the sugar or honey, vinegar, and all the spices. Bring to a boil and then add the drained vegetables. Stir, turn heat down to medium high, and allow to simmer for 10-15 minutes. Pack the hot relish into hot, sterilized canning jars, leaving about ½ inch of head space at the top of the bottle. I run a knife through to release any air bubbles. Put lids and rings on and process for 10 minutes in a boiling water bath. Depending on how you adjust the vegetables, this will make 4-5 pints of relish. Allow to age for 6+ weeks.

Smoked-Peppercorns1

 

Pickled Beets

Wash well 12 cups of beets. You do not need to peel them if you have tender, young beets, but if the skins are particularly tough or the beets are older, you do. If not peeling, you can slice, dice, or cut into rounds before cooking. Cover over with water and cook until slightly tender. Drain. If peeling, peel whole beets now and then slice, dice, or cut into rounds. Remember to remove the root and stem ends. Set aside.

In a large saucepan, combine:
2 cups organic sugar
2-3 sticks organic Cinnamon
1-2 Tablespoons organic whole Allspice
1-2 teaspoons Coarse Sea salt
1 teaspoon organic whole Peppercorns
1 teaspoon organic whole Cloves
3 ½ cups organic white or apple cider vinegar
1 ½ – 2 cups water

Bring this to a boil and then reduce heat and simmer for 10 – 15 minutes. Remove cinnamon sticks. Pack the beets into hot, sterilized jars and cover with pickling brine, leaving about ½ inch of room at the top of the jar. Use a knife to remove air bubbles. Put lids and rings on and process about 30 minutes in a hot water bath. This makes about 3-4 quarts or 6-8 pints of pickled beets. Allow to age 6+ weeks before eating.

 

Pickled Cauliflower

2 large heads of cauliflower
1 ½ cups chopped or sliced onion (white, red or yellow)
¼ cup Coarse Sea salt, Red Alea salt or Pink Himalayan salt
1-2 cups organic sugar
2 Tablespoons organic Brown or Yellow Mustard Seed
1 Tablespoon organic Celery Seed
1 teaspoon organic Caraway Seed
1-3 dried organic whole Chilies or 1 Tablespoon organic dried Chili Flakes
1 Tablespoon organic Garlic, minced
4 cups organic vinegar (apple cider, red wine or white)

Break cauliflower into little flowerettes and wash well. Combine the cauliflower, onion, and salt well. Cover with a combination of ice and water and let stand for 2-3 hours. Drain and lightly rinse. Combine the rest of the ingredients in a large sauce pan and bring to boil. Add the vegetables to the brine and bring back to a boil, turn down the heat and simmer for 5 minutes or so before packing into hot, sterilized jars. Leave about ½ inch of room at the top of the jar. Put on lids and rings and process in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes. Allow to age for 6+ weeks before eating.

 

Dill Pickled Green Beans

I don’t have the patience or dedication to pressure can green beans like my mother did. Any extras from the heirloom varieties we grow in our garden either get blanched and frozen, or made into scrumptious pickled spears. These are wonderful for munching, adding to a salad, or as a delicious garnish for a Bloody Mary.

2 pounds or so of fresh green beans with the ends removed (but left whole).
1/3 cup Kiawe Smoked Sea salt or Pink Himalayan salt
2 ½ cups organic vinegar (white or apple cider)
2 ½ cups water
4 cloves fresh organic garlic, peeled, but left whole or 4 teaspoons organic Garlic granules
4 heads fresh dill or 4 teaspoons organic Dill Seed
1 teaspoon organic Chili Flakes

Wash trimmed green beans and drain. Meanwhile, combine vinegar, water, and salt into a large saucepan. Bring to a boil. In each hot, sterilized pint jar, put one clove of garlic, 1 fresh dill head and a pinch of Chili Flakes or 1 teaspoon Garlic granules, 1 teaspoon Dill seed, and a pinch of Chili Flakes. Arrange the beans lengthwise in the jar (it’s fine if you just pack them in there too) and cover with the vinegar liquid. Leave about ½ inch room at the top of the jar. Put lids and rings on and process in a boiling water bath for about 10 minutes. This makes approximately 4 pints. Allow 6+ weeks aging before eating.

pickling1

 

Spicy Fruit Chutney

Like my relish recipe, I tend to adapt this to whatever extra fruits I have on hand. I do try to make it at least once every summer as it’s wonderful to have on hand for special holiday meals or to drizzle over cream cheese and crackers for a quick and easy appetizer.

4 quarts (14-16 cups) peeled, pitted, and chopped fruit such as pears, apples, plums, peaches, nectarines, etc. You can use all one type of fruit, or a combination.
1 cup organic raisins or dried cranberries, optional
2-3 cups organic brown sugar
1 cup chopped onion (white, yellow, red)
2 Tablespoons organic Brown or Yellow Mustard Seed
2 Tablespoons organic ground Ginger powder
1 Tablespoon organic Sea Salt or Pink Himalayan Salt
1 Tablespoon organic Garlic granules
1 Tablespoon organic Chili Flakes or 1 fresh hot chili pepper, chopped (seeds included—use latex gloves for cutting fresh chilies!)
3-4 cups organic apple cider vinegar

Mix all ingredients together in a large stock pot or sauce pan. Simmer on medium high heat until thick and well-combined. Ladle into hot, sterilized jars (I like to use a one cup, handled, glass Pyrex measuring cup for ladling into jars). Leave about ½ inch of head space and use a knife stirred through to remove any air bubbles. Put on lids and rings and process in a boiling water bath about 10 minutes. Makes about 7 pints of chutney.

pickling3

 

Easy Dill Pickles

6 pounds of small to medium pickling cucumbers – sliced into spears or rounds (approximately 20 cucumbers)
4 cups organic vinegar, white or apple cider
4 cups water
4 Tablespoons organic Pickling Spice
2 Tablespoons organic Garlic, minced or fresh garlic cloves, peeled
4 Tablespoons organic Sea Salt
Fresh heads of dill or 3 Tablespoons organic Dill seed

In a large pan or pot, bring vinegar, water, and salt to a boil. Meanwhile, mix the Pickling Spice, Garlic, and Dill seed together in a bowl, if using the dried herbs. In each hot, sterilized jar, spoon 1 teaspoon of the mixed spices. If using fresh dill and garlic, put 1 clove of garlic and one dill head in each clean jar and add 1/2- 1 teaspoon Pickling Spice. Pack the cucumbers tightly into the jars and cover over with the hot vinegar liquid. Leave about 1/2 inch of head space. Put the lids and rings on and process in a boiling water bath for about 10 minutes. Makes 8-10 pint jars of pickles.

 

Happy Pickling!

pickling_spice

 

 

The Sunday Steep

Posted by Kori|10 August 2014

dawns-delight-flowering-tea

Who says tea can’t be dramatic? Flowering teas are one of life’s sweet, sensual pleasures – the sight, the scent, and the gently floral taste all make for a wonderful experience. I admit, sometimes it’s about showing off a little and creating a tea ceremony that sings special! Because these “tea flowers” are meant for a whole pot, they can have a subtle, mellow flavor. If you like your tea a little more potent, like I do, feel free to add some additional flavors. I like to infuse another herb or herbs first, and then use the strained infusion as the tea bath for the blooming flower.  Since our flowering teas are a combination of green tea leaves and organic flowers, some great herbal additions include:

Organic Spearmint Leaf

Organic Chamomile Flowers

Organic Blackberry Leaf

Organic Strawberry Leaf

Organic Peppermint Leaf

Organic Dandelion Leaf

Organic Watercress

Organic Red Clover Herb or Flowers

For one pot of tea, heat 3-4 cups of water to boiling. Add 3-5 Tablespoons of chosen herb (or combination) in an infuser, tea bag, or ball and steep for 2-3 minutes. I use more herb and go for a quick steep so that the water will still be hot for pouring over the Flowering Tea. Place tea flower in a clear glass tea pot or glass pitcher. Quickly strain infusion and pour over flower, allowing to steep until the flower opens.  Enjoy!

The Sunday Steep - Weekly Tea Recipes

 

Summer Heat Relief: Sweet Peach Herbal Elixir

Posted by Friends|05 August 2014

 

Kiva2

 

Our summer post from Kiva Rose Hardin is here! Her beautifully written articles marry the personal with the scientific, lore with experience, offering untamed and fresh insight. Herbalist, wildcrafter, artist, and storyteller, Kiva Rose lives in a canyon botanical sanctuary within the Gila Wilderness of New Mexico. She is also the co-director of the HerbFolk Gathering, held each September in the mountain Southwest, coeditor of Plant Healer Magazine, and publisher of the historical novel, The Medicine Bear as well as The Plant Healer’s Path by Jesse Wolf Hardin, and maintains an herbal blog, The Medicine Woman’s Roots

 

Cooling Peach Elixir Recipe

 

When someone mentions Peach, it’s usually the sweet, juicy fruit of Georgia that comes to mind, not the medicinal properties of the leaf, bark, and flower. Despite that, Peach has a long and storied history of medicinal use the world over, including through portions of the United States. In North America, Appalachian herbalist Phyllis Light has helped to bring this wonderful remedy back to the broader herbal community through her teaching and writing. I grew up in the deep South and knew a little of its medicine as a young girl since it’s a traditional herb there, but learned a great deal more from Phyllis when I became a practicing herbalist.

Being a member of the Rose family, Peach shares many cooling, soothing properties with the Rose, including its gentle nature and sweetly aromatic taste. It’s safe even for children, the elderly, and pregnant women, and is incredibly good at what it does. Here I’ll be discussing the elixir in some details, but a wonderful tasting tea can be made with the dried leaves as well. If you have more than one Peach tree to choose from, it’s worthwhile to do a scratch and sniff test by gently scratching the bark of a small twig and sniffing. The tree that smells the strongest also tends to have the strongest medicine as far as relaxing and cooling properties

Peach is the perfect herb to explore during the long, hot days of Summer. It helps to soothe the irritability that often comes with extended periods of heat, as well as lessen the nausea, diarrhea, insomnia, and lack of appetite that can go with it. Here in New Mexico where summers can be exceedingly hot and dry, some people develop a dry, hack in response to the climate and I have found that the Peach Elixir works very well to soothe it. It works similarly on respiratory function aggravated by heat, and I always keep it on hand for my daughter who finds both it and our local Chokecherry, Prunus serotina, in easing her breathing issues during the hot months. The local Hispanics of my region think of Peach leaf as an overall summer tonic, and given how many heat induced ills it can alleviate, I’m inclined to agree with them.

Peach has another property worth noting, it can be applied topically as tincture, elixir, or poultice and taken internally when stung by a bee, wasp, or other venomous insect. Take half to one ml (that’s approximately half to one dropperful from a one ounce tincture bottle) of the elixir as soon as you’re stung or bitten and then again if the sting/bite gets worse or in fifteen minutes if there are any symptoms. This is not a replacement for an epi pen, but is great for the average person with a normal response to insect stings and bites. Some even find the action strong enough to help with reactions to seasonal pollen or pets as well. It doesn’t always work, but it’s certainly worth a try.

 

Peach Elixir Recipe

Sweet Peach Leaf Elixir

Ingredients & Tools

For your elixir, it’s helpful to have on hand:

A glass pint jar that seals well

Fresh Peach leaves and/or flowers and twigs (the more aromatic the better, and either feral or domestic varieties will work)

About a pint of high quality brandy (the better the brandy, the better your elixir will taste)

1/3 pint of raw honey (preferably local, and of a lighter wildflower type since darker honeys can muffle the Peach taste a bit)

A good stirring spoon

 

Step by Step Instructions

First, fill your jar all the way to the top with Peach leaves or flowers/twigs. You don’t have to pack them in, but push them down a bit to minimize the air space in the jar.

Now, pour the honey in slowly, stirring as necessary, until the plant matter is well coated.

Next, fill to the top with brandy, again stirring as necessary to remove air bubbles and fill the jar evenly.

Now cover the jar with a tight fitting lid, and shake carefully to finish the mixing process.

Let macerate in a cool, dark place for four to six weeks or as long as you can stand to wait.

When straining, reserve liquid.

Bottle and store in a cool, dry place away from sunlight until needed.

 

Cooling Peach Elixir Recipe

 

Herbal Additions

Organic rose petals compliment the medicine of Peach and they taste amazing together!

Cinnamon warms and spices up Peach, making it more appropriate year round.

Apple bark combines well with Peach specifically for gastric upset accompanied by heartburn.

Chamomile flowers amplify the digestion soothing properties of Peach, and they taste lovely together.

Chokecherry, Prunus serotina works very well with Peach.

 

Ideas for Application

Internally for soothing irritability and occasional sleeplessness when the weather is hot or the tongue is bright red and the person feels overheated.

Internally for nausea, and vomiting from sun exposure, being overheated, and in any case where the tongue is red and the person feels excessively hot.

Internally for gut upset, including nausea and diarrhea, with signs of heat and tension.

Internally for occasional tension and irritability aggravated by the heat or resulting in feelings of overheatedness.

Internally for some types of gastric irritation.

Topically and internally for insect stings and bites.

 

I’ll have another article specifically on medicinal uses of Peach, including case studies, in the August issue of the free Plant Healer Newsletter that you can sign up for at http://planthealer.org.

Peach medicine can be hard to find, but is available online in elixir form from King’s Road Apothecary and my own shop, The Bramble & The Rose, and will also be sold at the Healer’s Market at this September’s HerbFolk Gathering conference near Flagstaff, Arizona.

 

Cooling Peach Elixir Recipe

The Sunday Steep

Posted by Kori|03 August 2014

 

 

hawthorn

While the older I get, the deeper my sense of contentment and peace, I also know that for all the happy, joyful days, there are also days of grief and heartache. Life hands us loss: break-ups, estrangements, and the dying of those we love. We struggle to make sense of things and reconfigure our lives after overwhelming change. We find ways to cope.

I have my favorite herbs for times of grief and sadness. Lingering over a cup or two of this soothing tea while letting my mind quiet and my heart heal is as cherished a part of the human experience as joyful celebrations…

 

Sad Day Tea

1 teaspoon organic Damiana leaf

1 teaspoon organic dried Rosehips

1 teaspoon organic Chamomile flowers or Passionflower

1/2 – 1 teaspoon organic Hawthorn Berries

 

Sunshine

 

Some days are diamonds, some days are stones
Sometimes the hard times won’t leave me alone
Sometimes a cold wind blows a chill in my bones
Some days are diamonds, some days are stones

~Dick Feller

Check out our blog post on Herbs for Heartbreak for more healing choices.

The Sunday Steep - Weekly Tea Recipes

 

Summer Recipe Sale: 25% off Easy Honey Mustard

Posted by Erin|01 August 2014


Summer Recipe Sale: 25% off Easy Honey Mustard

We are excited to announce our first recipe in a series of summer sales!

Making your own mustard at home is so much fun and really inexpensive! Mustard is the perfect condiment for parties around the grill, cold salads, picnic sandwiches, and snack dips. It also makes a lovely gift for just about anyone in your world. Plus, it’s super easy to whip up and customize.

Feeling inspired to make some? For the next two weeks only, you can stock up on 8oz organic yellow and brown mustard seeds and 1lb bags of our fine sea salt at 25% off!

 

Summer Recipe Sale: 25% off Easy Honey Mustard

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  • ErinErin (357)
    Erin is the Marketing Director at Mountain Rose and studied herbalism, botany, and ethical wildcrafting at the Columbines School of Botanical Studies. She spends her days making botanical illustrations, playing in the garden, creating culinary gems, and formulating medicine in the magnificent Oregon Cascades.
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    Christine is our Product Manager here at Mountain Rose Herbs and our Certified Aromatherapist on staff. She's a longtime Mountain Roser with nearly a decade under her belt and assists with selecting new and exciting herbal and herb-related products. She also makes sure our current products are the best they can be!
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