Posted by|15 November 2013
We are so excited to debut two newly created caffeinated tea blends!
This synergistic blend provides a heightened sense of relaxation for mind, body, and spirit. Simply opening the bag will bring a smile to your face. Each golden brewed cup has a full bodied citrus flavor with a smooth floral finish. The Dao Ren tea and chamomile flowers are the perfect complement, making this tea a delicious warming treat that’s relaxing yet gently stimulating for morning or afternoon.
Contains: organic Dao Ren tea, organic Chamomile flowers, organic Lemon peel, organic Ginger root, and organic Lemon flavoring. Contains caffeine.
This refreshingly smooth blend is quickly becoming a new favorite here at Mountain Rose, and has just the right amount of kick. Think peppermint patty in a cup! The initial bright minty flavor and aroma transforms into a delightful combination of mate and velvety cacao. A rich cup of tea that could easily be considered a dessert.
Contains: organic Yerba Mate, organic Peppermint leaf, organic roasted Cacao nibs, organic roasted Carob, organic Vanilla beans, and organic roasted Cacao powder. Contains Caffeine.
Sip and Enjoy!
Posted by|14 November 2013
Here’s a little sweet cinnamon romance to inspire your autumn recipes!
Posted by|12 November 2013
It was a difficult year for the Osha (Ligusticum porteri) harvest in the Rockies. Our wildcrafters work in remote stands and use propagation techniques such as reseeding and replanting broken parts of root crowns to ensure that the area is healthier and the Osha is more abundant when they return three to five years later.
However, with the heavy rains and flooding that occurred along the Front Range this year it was difficult for our harvesters to get into the mountains. We are working with and encouraging better study and management of this incredible and powerful plant to ensure healthy future harvests, but this year will be scarce. With our focus on and support of home and small-shop herbalists, we will be limiting the amount that any one person can order this year.
I have been working with my herbal mentor Howie Brounstein of the Columbines School of Botanical Studies for recommendations of substitute plants and approaches. Thankfully, there are excellent replacements for Osha in our spice cabinet and home medicine drawers.
In our kitchen we find Thyme. Thyme, like Osha, has aromatics that help push our lungs to improve blood flow and function, as an expectorant. When the cold season comes around, I load up my soup stocks with Thyme. I will water them down a bit and sip them throughout the day. The mix of garlic, ginger, and dried mushrooms like Shiitake in the stock help to build a more invigorating tonic. Try this Shiitake Ginger Garlic Miso Soup recipe with Thyme added.
In the European tradition, we find the expectorant Horehound and Elecampane. Typically used as a tea or tincture, these are very traditional and dependable aromatic lung remedies with general immune stimulation also.
While we are pushing our lungs with aromatics we should also protect them with demulcents. Marshmallow root and mullein both soothe the irritation brought on from coughs, dry winter air, and dusty air. Many classic formulas combine aromatic plants with demulcent plants that have lung affinities. Honey really helps to combine and mellow the flavors and is a solid throat soother on its own.
A newer plant for the Western herb community is Umckaloabo. This African Pelargonium is used in European pharmacies for seasonal lung ailments. Typically a tincture or extract of the root is prepared and added to a pleasant tea with tonic and lung soothing demulcents.
Osha is an amazing North American plant. As a long-lived non-timber forest product it has proven difficult to cultivate in fields. Those of us who rely on this medicine should work to support the goal of planned and reasonable management and study to ensure our continued use of this plant. Our forests are not just for timber. Intact and healthy ecosystems support the medicinal and aromatic plants that grow below the trees. As herbalists who use these plants, we should work with forest managers to protect our ecological heritage and our continuing engagement with it.
You can learn more about our work with the Osha Sustainability Study here!
Posted by|11 November 2013
If you’ve never tried kombucha, then you’re in for a treat! This delightful fermented beverage is revered for its probiotic qualities and many purported health benefits. With a unique flavor, it is fizzy and tingly like no other beverage in existence.
Fermenting foods and beverages at home was a common necessity for centuries. Thankfully, we’re now seeing a return to these roots! Healthful traditional foods and fermented preparations are making a comeback and have become somewhat trendy in recent years. Kombucha can now be easily purchased in health food markets nationwide, but most of it is pasteurized and the cost is often restrictive. Fortunately, it’s easy, inexpensive, and fun to make at home! Plus, you can adjust the flavor and sourness to your liking.
Like other traditionally fermented and live-cultured preparations, kombucha has been enjoyed for thousands of years by cultures around the world. The history of kombucha tea is long and somewhat controversial, with Russia, Japan, China, and Korea all credited with its origin. The Chinese origin states that the beverage appeared in 221 BCE, and was believed to be an elixir of immortality called ‘The Godly Tsche.’ Another story reports that the beverage was introduced to Japan in 441 AD by a Korean doctor named Kombu. Kombu used the revered tea to help soothe the emperor’s digestive problems, and it grew in popularity over the centuries.
Kombucha is a symbiotic colony of yeast and bacteria, a living culture containing beneficial microorganisms and nutrients. Studies tout that kombucha binds to toxins and removes them from the body, cleanses the liver and other organs, improves digestion, energy levels, and the immune system. Although the exact origin of kombucha and its benefits are unproven and disputed, there’s no denying that kombucha is a delicious and wholesome drink!
Basic Kombucha Recipe
Makes 1 gallon (scale recipe up or down depending on the size of your vessel)
- Kombucha SCOBY
- Starter liquid (brewed kombucha reserved from a previously brewed batch)
- Glass or lead-free ceramic container
- Organic Black or Green loose-leaf tea (Camellia sinensis). Use unflavored tea, as essential oils and flavorings can adversely affect the culture. Favorites for black tea varieties include English Breakfast, Assam, Ceylon, Darjeeling, and Ancient Forest. Excellent green options include Green Sencha, White Peony, Silver Needles, and Oolong.
- Organic cane sugar
- Distilled, spring, or well water. Chlorinated or treated water can harm the kombucha culture.
- A clean piece of cloth, towel, or a handkerchief and a rubber band to cover the container
- Bring ¾ of a gallon of water to a boil, then turn off the heat and immediately add 4 TBSP of loose-leaf tea and 1 cup of organic sugar. Cover pot with a lid, and cool to room temperature.
- Strain out the tea leaves, and pour the liquid into your glass or ceramic container.
- Add your scoby and 1-2 cups of kombucha starter liquid.
- Cover the container with a clean cloth, kitchen towel, or handkerchief and a rubber band. Place it in a dark area out of direct sunlight, where it won’t be disturbed or moved. Make sure that the cloth or towel is breathable, yet that the weave is tight enough to keep fruit flies, gnats, and other undesirables and contaminants out.
- Your scoby may sink or float on the top, both are okay. In 2-3 days, you may see a translucent jelly-like mass floating on the top of your tea. This is a new scoby beginning to form. Leave it undisturbed so that the baby can grow properly.
- Taste your kombucha periodically, depending on the temperature of your home and how sweet or sour you’d like it to be. Most batches will be ready in 7-14 days. Ideally, the kombucha should have a slightly sharp and acidic bite.
- When your kombucha is ready, carefully remove the scoby, then pour the liquid through a filter and into bottles. Remember to reserve 1-2 cups for the starter liquid for your next batch.
- Separate the new baby scoby from your original one (now a mother), and keep whichever one looks healthier. You can give the new baby to a friend or start a “kombucha hotel” in a separate glass jar. Simply include some kombucha starter liquid to cover the scobies. Each time that you brew a batch of kombucha, a new baby will grow to join your kombucha family.
- Place the scoby and 1-2 cups of starter tea back into your container, brew a new batch of tea, and start all over again!
- You may leave the kombucha unflavored or include any number of tasty additions. Experiment with fresh or dried fruit, berries, herbs, and spices for whatever flavor suits your mood.
- Kombucha will naturally have a slight fizziness. To increase the carbonation and level of tartness, leave the bottled kombucha on a countertop for several days after bottling. Keep bottles stored in a refrigerator once finished fermenting.
- Always clean your hands, utensils, and anything that might touch your kombucha with hot water and distilled vinegar. Do not use soap, (especially antibacterial soap) as it may harm or kill the kombucha culture. Your kombucha is alive! Make sure to handle it with care.
- Only use lead-free glass and ceramic for fermenting. Kombucha will absorb toxins out of the container that it’s brewed in (much like how it pulls toxins out of our bodies).
- Kombucha scobies have an unusual appearance, scent, and feel, but don’t let this discourage you! You’ll quickly grow accustomed to their odd appearance and will get used to handling them.
- Store your kombucha away from your stove and other cooking appliances. The aroma, smoke, and flavor can all impart into your culture. Bacon kombucha? No thanks!
- The easiest place to get a scoby is from a friend or co-worker with extra babies. Most kombucha brewers have several scobies waiting for a new home. If you can’t find a scoby locally, you can purchase one online or grow a scoby from a bottle of store-bought kombucha.
- If the kombucha scoby grows mold, throw the liquid and scoby into the compost and begin with fresh materials.
- Have fun and experiment! Kombucha is an acquired taste, and everyone likes it a little different. There are hundreds of recipes available, each one with its own ingredients and techniques.
Part 2 Coming Soon…
Flavoring Your Kombucha
Posted by|07 November 2013
Autumn on the river sure is stunning. We’re admiring all of the lovely medicinal plants growing alongside the rushing Deschutes here at the American Herbalists Guild Symposium in Bend, Oregon.
Looking forward to this long weekend of shared herbal wisdoms!
Posted by|05 November 2013
Found growing in moist forests on the decaying trunks of fallen trees, Shiitake mushrooms have been an important medicine and food source in Asia for thousands of years. These “flower mushrooms” are known to be potent immune system boosters that are frequently taken to help support the body during a bout with the common cold or seasonal flu. They’re also really delicious, with a nice meaty texture. Food is medicine, right?
The stories say that a thousand years ago, a farmer decided to score a moist log and then packed wild Shiitakes into the notched wood. To his happy surprise, the inoculation was successful and soon whole mushrooms grew from the trunk, making Shiitakes one of the first cultivated fungi. These much beloved mushrooms can be taken as an extract, tea, or in capsule form. They’re also commonly used in cooking and can be easily reconstituted to use in soups, stir-fries, curries, and sautés, or powdered and used in gravies.
Recipe: Shiitake Miso Ginger Soup
Oh, the miracle of fermentation! Miso is a traditional Japanese fermented soy or rice paste that offers savory deliciousness. Its healing power is often compared to good old chicken soup – especially when paired with cold-fighters like garlic, ginger, onion, and immune boosting shiitake mushrooms. I love to sip this soup, flu or not! This is an easy, rustic recipe that can be adjusted to your taste with additional herbs and veggies.
2-3 inch fresh organic ginger root, peeled and coarsely chopped
1 head of roasted garlic cloves, peeled and mashed
5 to 10 raw garlic cloves, chopped (depending on how medicinal you need it to be)
½ cup organic miso paste
½ organic onion, chopped
2 organic carrots, chopped
1 Tbsp butter
fresh cracked pepper to taste
In a stock pot, sauté ginger and onion in butter until the onion just begins to sweat. Add the raw garlic and 1.5 quarts of water to the pot and bring to a boil. Add mushrooms then lower the heat, cover, and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes or until the shiitakes are fully reconstituted. Remove from heat and add miso paste, stirring until dissolved. Next, add the mashed roasted garlic. Stir well and ladle the soup into your favorite mug.
Recipe: Oregano & Thyme Garlic Bread
What’s a good soup without garlic toast? Oregano, thyme, and garlic are all well-known in folk medicine to support your immune system and ward off cold and flu viruses. This is my favorite recipe to make when I’m coming down with a fever. Delicious smells fill the house and my forgotten appetite returns in no time.
2 slices of your favorite bread, (I like organic sprouted grain sourdough)
2 Tbsp organic olive oil or butter
1 tsp organic oregano
1 tsp organic thyme
3-4 cloves raw garlic, coarsely chopped
Mix the oil or butter, herbs, and garlic together in a bowl. Add salt and pepper to taste. Spoon the mixture onto the bread, being sure to get as much garlic and herb as possible. Bake on a cookie sheet at 350 degrees until the bread becomes toasty and the garlic just starts to turn golden
Posted by|04 November 2013
Vine Maple and Red Alder leaves crunch underfoot as our team of volunteers make their way down the road. Heads bent, eyes scan back and forth. We’re intent on finding pineapples. No, not the sweet tropical fruit, but the widespread, invasive species, Meadow Knapweed.
This plant produces a deceptively beautiful purple flower which blooms in late summer and fall, leaving behind a pineapple shaped cone perched upon a stalk that grows up 3 ½ feet tall. Meadow Knapweed out-competes native grasses and other plants like wild daisies, lupine, and Oregon Grape.
Three times since 2012, Mountain Rose Herbs’ employees have participated in this kind of “No Spray” project organized by our friends at Beyond Toxics. Many of us have come back year after year and it’s so encouraging to see the native plants retake the area where invasives once thrived.
This year, Mountain Rose River Project volunteers partnered with the GreenLane Sustainable Business Network volunteers and Beyond Toxics to remove Meadow Knapweed and Scotch Broom. The feisty, tenacious, grassroots non-profit organization, Beyond Toxics, has an agreement with the Oregon Department of Transportation to not spray pesticides and herbicides on a 10 mile stretch of highway west of Eugene, Oregon. These types of sprays not only kill weeds but other plant and animal life. To prevent pesticide use that eventually runs off into streams and to protect salmon in the Siuslaw watershed, we must pull the weeds by hand.
The team stopped for lunch at Triangle Lake and had a wonderful time soaking up the sun. These sorts of opportunities make me appreciate Mountain Rose Herbs’ Paid Time for Community Involvement Program. It’s hard work that leaves us sore, but the joy of getting outside and helping groups like Beyond Toxics is well worth it! We removed a total of 25 bags of invasive species, ensuring that at least this stretch of the road will not be sprayed with pesticides which harm our watersheds, wildlife, and communities.
Photos taken by Nichole Hayward, CAWOOD
Posted by|01 November 2013
We’re excited to bring you Soap Crafting, a new book from The Soap Queen, Anne-Marie Faiola!
Throughout Soap Crafting, Anne Marie shows you how to make perfect cold-process soap – which is sooo much nicer than what you can buy at the store! Simple instructions and great photography walk you through every step of the process.
With 31 fantastic recipes, it’s easy to master the techniques you need to produce the soaps you want. You’ll find chapters on colors (neon, oxides, mica), molds (milk jugs, yogurt containers, pipes), food ingredients (pumpkin, oatmeal, coffee, beer, avocado), and building techniques (embedding soap in soap, funnel pour, swirling). This colorful book offers everything you need to make your own soap safely. Such a fun, creative, and satisfying project, especially with the holidays approaching!
Herbal Soap Recipe
Now is the perfect time to start making soaps for gift baskets, so here’s a little recipe from the book. You can find lots of the ingredients needed on our website:
(Click on the page images below to enlarge for easy reading.)
Posted by|31 October 2013
You can see our full album of spooky fun on Facebook.
Posted by|29 October 2013
You may have heard that October is Fair Trade Month, shining a much-needed spotlight onto the importance of Fair Trade Certified products, practices, and companies. We are excited to announce that some of your favorite herbs and spices for the season are now among our newest Fair Trade certified products, including Mace, Nutmeg, and Turmeric Root powder.
At Mountain Rose Herbs, we are proud to have worked hard to go beyond traditional Fair Trade practices including partnering with IMO to become certified as Fair for Life. We wanted to challenge ourselves to meet the stringent requirements to certify our entire company, not just our products. To celebrate, we have some exciting news! Our company recently earned the highest achievement of a Level 5 rating for both Social and Fair Trade Certification and Social Responsibility. This is a huge accomplishment!
Why are Fair Trade practices and certifications so important?
Social equity plays a crucial role in the economic lives of people all over the world. Focusing on Fair Trade means ensuring that those who produce, farm, and work are treated and paid fairly. It is not enough to simply say we care about social equity, we also need to put our dollars and resources where our values are.
What does it mean to get the highest Level 5 in our performance ranking?
It means that every May, we are visited by an auditor from IMO who does random interviews with employees at every level of our company. We are inspected on everything from health and safety, to energy management, to conditions of the workplace, to fair compensation. We are also expected to meet strident Fair Trade standards for how we work with farmers, customers, and others throughout the community. Last year, we achieved a Level 4 in our second year of partnering with IMO and in this, our third year, we have achieved the highest rating!
We have established long-term friendships with the farmers and producers who supply the herbs, spices, and bulk ingredients we offer. To reach a Level 5 this year we also had to provide documentation about how Fair Trade practices are employed every step of the way in the production of the products we offer. While many of our herbal goods are already certified Fair Trade (in addition to being Certified Organic and Kosher), we continually work to ensure that more and more of our herbal products are Fair Trade.
As we continue to grow our offerings of Fair Trade products, we want to share our accomplishments and appreciation for all the support and encouragement we get from our customers who value social equity and fairness as much as we do. We will have more farm stories from this project to share with you all very soon!
You can view our current Fair Trade certificate here!
Happy Fair Trade Month!
This post comes to us from Kori, our Public and Media Relations Coordinator! A West Coast native, Kori is a seasoned nonprofit activist and community organizer. Having launched six adult kids, she spends her free time in her burgeoning organic and very urban “farm”—taming Heritage chickens, building top-bar beehives from reclaimed materials, baking, brewing, and preserving.
Posted by|28 October 2013
This super easy recipe is perfect for anyone who feels intimidated by the art of baking. With a crisp crust, moist crumb, aromatic seeds, and a nice crunch of salt, this savory loaf is wonderful with soups, stews, holiday meals, or just a simple smear of fresh melting butter.
Based on traditional soda breads which use a chemical reaction between baking soda and buttermilk instead of yeast, this quick bread requires no resting and rising. The technique has been used by cultures around the world for centuries to create dinner loaves, sweet breads, and griddle cakes. Feel free to play with the ingredients too. This can be made sweet with cinnamon, sugar, and raisins instead of seeds and salt. Because it is so versatile and can be whipped up so quickly, this is a great option for brunches or busy weekday dinners.
Easy Seedy Salted Soda Bread
2 cups organic unbleached all-purpose flour
1 ¾ cup organic whole wheat flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
½ teaspoon fine sea salt
1 ¾ cup organic buttermilk
2 Tbsp organic poppy seeds
3 Tbsp organic hemp seeds
3 Tbsp organic sesame seeds
1 tsp organic caraway seeds
1 tsp organic fennel seeds
a bit of extra buttermilk
1. Preheat your oven to 400F with a rack placed in the center. Combine all of the seeds in one bowl and set aside.
2. Sift the flour, baking soda, and fine sea salt into a large bowl. Add in the seed mixture, reserving 2 teaspoons for the top of the loaf. Scoop a well in the middle of the flour and pour in the buttermilk. Being careful not to overwork the dough, stir until the ingredients just come together. If the dough seems too dry, you can add a bit more buttermilk. Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead gently for one minute or until it can be shaped into a loose ball.
3. Lightly flour a baking sheet with cornmeal and center the dough in the middle. Cutting halfway through the top of the loaf with a knife, mark the dough with a cross. This will allow heat to penetrate the center of the bread for even baking.
4. Lightly brush the loaf with buttermilk and sprinkle the remaining seeds and Himalayan salt evenly on top.
5. Bake until the bread develops a crusted top and bottom, and the color becomes a nice golden brown – about 35 to 45 minutes. If the top begins to brown too quickly, cover with a loose sheet of foil. Remove from the oven and cool the loaf on a wire rack, slice, and enjoy.
Posted by|25 October 2013
We have a new easy grip design for our Support Organic Agriculture Canteen!
These black coated stainless steel canteens are the perfect vessel to bring your water or iced tea wherever you go. Decorated with our “Support Organic Agriculture” motif on one side and the Mountain Rose Herbs logo on the other so you can spread the word about choosing organic while you sip.
This new sleek design includes a plastic screw-top lid that fits snugly into the stainless steel threads, a key ring with attached black carabineer, and holds 25 ounces of your favorite beverage. Great gift idea, right?
You can visit the website to view all of our fun Mountain Rose Herbs merchandise, including t-shirts, stickers, mugs, magnets, bags, coasters, and more!