It’s been a fantastic last couple weeks here, and by far, one of my most favorite (and busiest) times of year when it comes to herbal ventures! Throw in the fact that this year, we have a full blown vegetable garden alongside the herbs, and that’s a recipe for a sleepless condition that reminds me of that creepy demon-girl on the flick, The Ring. Anybody remember that movie? “She never sleeps…” Yea, that’s me right now. I’m up at the crack of dawn, trying to beat the birds to my strawberries – and I’m harvesting as much herbs (particularly roses!) as I can for those “fresh from the garden” projects. Throw in my feet’s uncanny resemblance to dirty hobbit feet (hey, I got the height aspect down just right!), and I’m a sight for sore eyes. But, my spirits are on cloud nine, and my tummy is very happy indeed. This is a typical morning harvest for us right now, isn’t it beautiful??
Now, things look ever abundant right now, but this is the time to start planning winter gifts – and preserving some of those herbs for later. For example, those roses! Beautiful now, but when you want an herbal pillow in the dead of winter, not so easy to find! Yes folks, everyone who’s ever received an herbal pillow from me as a Christmas gift – the work starts in the Spring!
Remember my post on roses guys? I’ll link it here for easy access.
Since we’re on the subject, let’s consider the possibilities! Firstly, get that rose petal vinegar started! Summer is around the corner, and you’ll need something to take the sting out of those sunburns. Another quick project is to make rose petal honey. All you need is fresh rose petals, washed and dry (not dried), and raw local honey.
Place the petals in a mason jar, and cover with the honey. You’ll want to either turn the jar upside down a couple times a day, or stir it around well time to time. You’re going to let this infuse for 3 days or so, and voila! You have a decadent flavored honey that goes great on homemade bread, in tea, or right off the spoon!
Moving on – check out my herb garden!!
My yarrow and plantain are going nuts! It’s the perfect time to harvest some of those leaves and flowers – when they are green and lush. The plantain, you’ll probably want to dry to use in balms or sprays for later – I threw mine in the dehydrator. Be sure to leave plenty on the plant, as plantain is better fresh when used topically.
The yarrow, however, will be used for a variety of projects. I use it in many of my herbal balm recipes, but for now, my eyes are set on the prize of homemade insect repellent. Those mosquitoes are already out and angry in TX, and the thought of chemical based repellents makes me cringe more than the insect itself! Remember how to get the insect repellent started? Fill a jar 1/2-2/3 rds of the way full with fresh or dried yarrow leaves and flowers (I like mine good and strong!) – then fill the jar with 100 proof vodka. Let sit for about a month while the yarrow properties infuse into the vodka. When it’s ready, simply strain off with cheesecloth, pour into a small spray bottle, and add lavender, catnip, and/or eucalyptus essential oils.
No chemicals, effective, cheap. It doesn’t get any better than that folks!
So for today guys, the focus is on enjoying the bounty of now – and squirreling away some for later. If you are unable to store some up for the winter – or you simply can’t grow what you’re needing/wanting, remember Mountain Rose Herbs* is my favorite go-to place for ALL of my miscellaneous herbal needs. They’re selection is amazing, and the quality unmatched.
Until next post, get in that kitchen, and have a blast doing it! Have a great week!
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