I think this week unintentionally became herb week for me. In addition to making tea blends and infused oils, I made some lavender sachets for my BFF Raquel. This is how they turned out.
This is my favorite one.
Hope she likes them.
Have you ever seen honey look like this?
Heres an even closer shot.
No, this honey is not cold, old or congealing. This is an herbal honey. Herbal honey is what you get when you when you steep herbs in honey for about a month. In these pictures, the blend is:
3/4 cup honey
1/8 cup each: powdered ginger, cinnamon, orange peel
and a touch of cloves
Let me tell you, it’s sooooo good that I keep eating it by the spoonful. What’s nice is that you can put this on toast, in tea, or anywhere where it calls for honey.
Here’s another herbal honey I made last night.
This recipe is called Happy Tummy and I got it from my herb teacher. I deviated from her original recipe a little but mine is: 1 cup of honey, 1 tbsp ground fennel and 1 tbsp coriander. This is another finger lickin’ good honey.
If you’ve got some extra honey and want to try this yourself, it’s super easy. Just add herbs, honey, mix and let steep for a month before you dig in. If you are interested in some of my recipes, let me know, or just look up herbal honey recipes online.
Finally, you can see some kind of infusion going on with the St. Johns wort oil.
Above, St. Johns Wort infusion at 2.5 weeks.
St. Johns Wort at 1 week.
Yes, I know, VERY minimal. Maybe I should have listened when my teacher told us only to use fresh herb when making a St. Johns Wort infusion. Hey, I’m stubborn sometimes. But, I am still hoping to see even more transition over the next few weeks. Wish me (and my infusion!) luck.
I was just checking on the St. John’s Wort infused oil and guess what? No magic happening just yet. But that’s okay. It’s only been a week and something is still happening. Just gotta be patient.
Looks exactly the same as a week ago…
Back the windowsill for this guy! I’ll check it out again in a few days. I’m still hopeful I’ll get some really nice, red oil.
By now, you should know I love infused oils. They are so versatile to use and so easy to make. So when I got my hands on some dried St. John’s Wort, I immediately pulled out the jars and olive oil to make infused oil.
We studied St. John’s Wort in my herb class. It can be used topically for skin irritations such as burns, nerve pain, muscle spasms and even hemorrhoids. I am a fan of this particular herb oil infusion because I’m a first rate klutz. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve accidentally burned myself, tripped and hurt something, or even banged into door knobs.
From what I remember, fresh St. John’s Wort plant material makes a better infused oil than dry herb, but I’m not going to turn away the dried material.
First, fill the jar 1/3 full of the dried herb.
I know it looks like it’s more than 1/3 full, but it really is only a third.
Then fill your jar to the brim with the oil of your choice and seal.
Let it sit in a bright sunny place for at least 2 weeks. Even though I’m using dry plant material in this infusion, I still like to monitor what’s going on in the jar. Mold is not really an issue, but I like watching the sun and herbs do their magic.
The oil should turn a beautiful red color. I’ll post pictures to show you the progress as time goes on.
Last week I finally decanted the infused oils from the herbs I harvested in August at Mt. Madonna.
I made three infusions: calendula, rose petals/lavender and rosemary/lavender. The calendula and rose petal/lavender oils came out exactly like I expected them to: deep gold, a little cloudy and with little beads of essential oils floating around. But the rosemary/lavender came out completely unexpected.
Rosemary and lavender when I first made the infusion:
Rosemary and lavender infusion decanted after one month:
Sometimes I just have to laugh at myself because I was completely dumbstruck at how dark my oil had become. I knew rosemary would not create a light golden color based on it’s own coloring, but man, this looked like swamp water. I tried some of the oil on my skin and it felt a little heavier than the rose petal oil. As rosemary and lavender are both strong aromatic plants, the dueling scents overwhelmed me a little but I got used to it. I think this is one oil that I may have to use in moderation, whether I use it for food or soap. I know it sounds like I’m disappointed in how my infusion turned out but I’m actually just surprised at the outcome.
Any thoughts on how to use an infused blend like this? I’d love to hear your ideas.
After harvesting so much plant material from the herb walk, I’ve made several infused oil blends. They look so beautiful and colorful sitting on my window sill, that I just have to share them with you.
Rose petal and lavender infused oil
Calendula infused oil
Rosemary and lavender infused oil
These are going to make some fabulous soaps and I can’t wait to share them with you.