At first, there is nothing.
All at once, it hits!
The spring and summer harvest is on. It came out of nowhere, and all of a sudden, there are piles of herbs, fruits, roots, and botanicals that need to be preserved ASAP.
So what is the best way to preserve all of that herbal goodness, fast and efficiently? Thankfully there are a few options and were going to dive into those here.
What is the best way to store all of these herbs that I"ve grown and dried?
How do I make them last and make sure they don't go bad?
How do I know when they go bad?
With 10+ years of experience in dehydrating and 7 years of blending teas, we have been asked these questions many times. They are some of the most common problems when it comes to preserving that harvest that you worked so hard on and are depending on.
The good news is with a little knowledge, these issues won't seem so scary anymore.
Electric dehydrators can be expensive, take up space and cost more in electricity.
But your mint needs to be harvested now before it takes over the yard and blooms. At the same time, your calendula flowers are going nuts, and the roses are blooming.
Dehydrating without an electric dehydrator can save initial costs in preserving your food, save on electricity, and save on counter space.
But what are the best methods for dehydrating without a dehydrator?
Is your soil full of clay like ours?
Or maybe your in an apartment and there is nowhere to grow a garden.
Perhaps you rent and tearing up the backyard to plant all-of-the-things isn't something your landlord would approve of.
There are plenty of reasons that a full-on garden isn't an option for many people. Whether you live in the city and can only dream of living in the country or you live in the country. Your soil is less than desirable there are still lots of options for growing something wherever you are.
There is that one place in the yard. You know the one. Not much will grow there. But you're looking to use all of your spaces and use them well.
Whether you are growing food or growing your own medicine, it is essential to use up every little space and get the most out of it.
That shaded place in your yard, though, what do you do with it? What in the world can you grow in the shade that will use that space well? Believe it or not, there are a whole host of shade-loving herbs that can fill those spaces!
You read the secret garden as a little girl and imagined the vast walls of climbing plants surrounding that quiet, beautiful place. The place that shuts the world out and there was nothing to worry about except for admiring the beauty of God's creation. That and maybe the excellent book that you brought with you.
Now the garden provides you the same solace and peace. Now it's time to expand to growing your own medicines. A place that will provide you with all the natural medicines you use to heal your family. A sense of security that the herbs you need are affordable and growing right at your fingertips. St. Johns Wort for muscle and nerve pain, the beautiful echinacea flowers for colds and flu, and the tiny, yet tasty, elderberries for immune health.
But where in the world do you start with planning your own herbal tea garden? How do you grow those herbs that you intend to turn into powerful medicines?
There are lots of things to consider!
Imagine your hiking in the mountains, through the trail, and all of a sudden, something grabs on to your leg and isn't about ready to let go.
Or maybe your children or grandchildren are walking through the pasture or field and come back to the house with something stuck to their leg.
This might be how you imagine Cleavers.
Most people recall shaking hands or legs with cleavers, but cleavers are also great for the lymphatic system as well as your skin.
You might even find some ways to use it in your summer skincare. But did you know there are 25+ other things that cleavers are useful for?
Spring is here and summer is coming ... and I'm the first one runn'n.
Ok... old country song lyrics! Regarless, Pesto season is here! Be it kale, dandelion or basil pesto there is likely to be some green in your garden to make this tasty treat with!
There will be no need for that Starbucks Pesto Panini once you make this fresh at home. The flavor will be so much better along with the healthy ingredients. Not to mention it makes the perfect tea time treat.
So let's get to the grub!
Sometimes it happens. You get a text or a quick phone call that the company is on their way, and you need to set-up tea or some sort of refreshment in a hurry. You look in the pantry and find you just used your last jar of homemade jam.
What in the world will you put on the scones?
You check the freezer and find it. A little bit of the summer’s harvest put up for just the occasion.
This quick strawberry sauce is a little bit runnier than a jam, but it serves up fast and is tasty on top of a scone. Best of all, its done and ready before your guest arrives.
Goli Apple Cider Gummies are all the rage right now. These herbal apple cider vinegar gummies tout their high nutritional value, ability to build immunity, help with detoxification, and ability to manage weight. As well as a way to get all of the benefits of raw apple cider vinegar without the tart puckering taste of drinking it straight.
But, what if you could make something similar right at home for just pennies on the dollar? And what if you could make them any flavor you wanted?
Were going to chat about how to do just that, right at home!
Down on the farm nothing quite says spring like some lemon curd! Especially with holidays such as Easter and Mother's Day. After all, it's brunch season!
Not only are lemons bright and fresh and fitting for the season of new life but diary on the farm is usually in full abundance. Mixing these two seasonal favorites together with some fresh picked, frozen blueberries hits the spot for a quick snack or light dessert!
When we surveyed our facebook followers, shortbread was the #1 answer to what treats they enjoy with their tea!
There are so many different flavors of shortbread, they are really rather a little versatile cookie! Or biscuit, if you are British.
Today we are adding yet another flavor to our growing list of shortbread choices, from Matcha Shamrock Shortbread to Chocolate Dipped Shortbread these ones have a whole wheat base and are infused with lavender earl grey.
But there is one more other secret ingredient to these special treats....
After a record cold and flu season, followed by the Coronavirus, seasonal allergies are not far behind, or perhaps they have already hit where you are.
Rather than be the bearer of bad news (that allergy season is coming), I hope that this herbal tea can have you well prepared to battle allergy season before it hits.
Did you know that nettles can help reduce the inflammatory response caused by allergies? NCBI 2009 Nettles aren't the only herb that can come to your aide this allergy season!
Diet, rest, hydration are just the start of preventing colds, coughs, and the flu. But what happens when you catch that virus going around? Natural herbal medicines are a great way to try and help those symptoms out at home when they are in their earliest stages.
In last week's post (Tools for Preventing Coughs, Colds, and Flu Part I), we chatted about the Coronavirus along with ways to prevent getting viruses, including the common cold and flu. This week it is time to dive deep into the types of herbs that one might find helpful in preventing coughs, colds, and flu along with those that are helpful after catching them.
The Coronavirus is topping all of the headlines this cold and flu season. As of the date of this post, there has been a reported 7,700 cases and 170 deaths.
The fear of this unknown virus is causing panic among the nation and worry and concern amongst caregivers, especially mothers. We have had people asking us what herbs might prevent catching viruses should they come to our area.
Not only is the Coronavirus a concern but also the usual run of cold and flu season. Interestingly enough, the Coronavirus has very similar symptoms to cold and flu symptoms.
Here is something that may surprise you, though!
It's that time of year where the stores start stocking up on roses and other flowers. Boxes of chocolate begin to line the shelves. St. Valentine's day is only a little over a week away.
While St. Valentine is remembered by the giving of gifts and notes to those we love, this month is also American Heart Health Month. Those roses and chocolate not only bring smiles to our faces as physical proofs of love, but they also have medicinal effects on the body as well.
I don't know about you, but I'm always happy to find out more good news about my favorite herb, chocolate. Are you ready to read all of the reasons that you SHOULD be eating more chocolate?
The morning is very dark this time of year, the air is crisp, and there are weather reports of snowstorms and possible storms coming our way. Nothing feels better on the throat and in the hands than a warm cup of tea. If you are a tea drinker, that is.
'Tis the season for gifting and what in the world to get the loved one or friend or co-worker in our life who loves herbal teas?
Herbal teas can really be their own 'monster' because they really are so much different from black or green teas. They steep for a different time, and they come in so many different flavors! They are caffeine-free, and so the motivations for drinking them are usually different than drinking black or green tea.
The question really is, though, do herbal tea drinkers need different gifts from black and green tea drinkers?
The family has gathered around in a warm cozy house, and the smell of food is wafting through the air. The kitchen is all hustle and bustle, and tasty appetizers are awaiting.
Veggie trays, olives, cookies, fudge, chips, and cream cheese dip with chips.
When it comes to a holiday dinner, though, there was one dish that always completed the festivities, and these holiday gatherings wouldn't be the same without it.
The only bad news is that this favorite was filled with red dye and processed sugars.
Growing up on Sunday's for both my Farmer and I meant Sunday breakfast was a little different from the rest of the week. While I was use to pancakes, my Farmer loved his mom's coffee cake.
Before realizing I had a sugar allergy I remember going to his parents for Sunday breakfast and having his mom's coffee cake. It really was a favorite.
Then we dived into the world of whole foods and that coffee cake just wasn't a treat that I could have any more.
One recent Sunday I asked the Farmer, "What would you like for breakfast?" He replied, "Coffee Cake!" with a twinkle in his eye, knowing well that there was usually so much sugar in coffee cake that I would never make it.
I'm always up for a good challenge though!
Quiche is a quintessential tea time recipe, but what really makes these special is that they are tiny and bite size. The dangerous part is that they are so yummy it might seem like you didn’t eat many with their delicate size and impressive flavor.
A good maple sausage really pairs well with the comforting earthiness of the sweet potatoes. These tiny quiches also freeze well and can be ready in a toaster oven in a matter of minutes. Make them in bulk so you can stock up and have them on demand. They also work great for a quick breakfast on the run.
Nothing says October like pumpkin spice, am I right?
Did you know that the spices in pumpkin pie spice are the perfect blend of medicinal goodness for fall? Cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, allspice, and cloves. Not only are most of these herbs anti-viral and anti-bacterial, but they are also considered catalysts or movers in the herbal medicine world. They get the blood a-moving, along with the lymph. They warm you up and keep things flowing. They are the movers and the shakers of the spice world.
So, for all of you "pumpkin spice everything" fans, you now have another reason to love on your pumpkin spice. The recipe we are sharing today is no different and in addition to pumpkin spice, we are adding the very loved flavor of chai. The two together are a dangerous combo and then add them to this real, whole food, muffin recipe and you have some fabulous fall deliciousness!
Can you guess what the top two scone flavors are amongst tea drinkers?
As a business owner that makes and blends tea for a living, one could can imagine I'm in quite a few different tea groups. When I polled all of these groups to see what their favorite treats were, to eat with their tea, they came back with a two resounding answers.
Lavender Lemon Scones and Orange Cranberry Scones.
We decided we had to take these traditional and popular scone flavors into our farm kitchen and give them a little real, whole food make over. The result was fabulous! So fabulous we decided we would share it!
Happy Fall Ya'll!
Did you just discover the largest zucchini you have ever seen hiding in your garden?
You thought that you were done with that never ending summer squash. You were ready for the first frost and the leaves to change color. Bring on the winter rest!
OR MAYBE you love zucchini like I do and you just wish there was more fabulous ways to cook it up.
This recipe is for you... who found the prize winning squash and for you who love all things zucchini.
OH AND ALSO FOR YOU... who are gluten and dairy free like us!
"Two hundred years ago, the average American ate only 2 pounds of sugar a year. In 1970, we ate 123 pounds of sugar per year. Today, the average American consumes almost 152 pounds of sugar in one year. This is equal to 3 pounds (or 6 cups) of sugar consumed in one week!" [source]
That's total insanity, no wonder we have obesity rates at the highest its been and why not only adults, but children are also facing diabetes at alarming rates.
So, must we give up all the sweet things we love to bake? Certainly not but there is an alternative that is not only a healthy replacement to sugar, but also has health benefits when it is consumed.
The answer comes from the colder parts of the country, and despite the name, sugar making, the only sweetness here is from maple trees.
Your mama is coming.
She expects a nice cuppa earl grey and a sweet treat.
But there is one problem, you don't have anything sweet on hand and you have to eek out enough earl grey to get her a decent cuppa.
What's a child to do?
It may not be your mama, and you might not be the child, but every one has times where company is coming and some comforting homemade food is in order.
These quick and simple hand pies are just what the mama in our story needs (or maybe its you that needs them).
My name is CeAnne, wife to my Farmer and mama to 4 adopted kiddos. I help farm lov'n mama's (and grandmas) turn common herbs into powerful medicines without being overwhelmed. Here you will find all sorts of nourishing goodness on natural medicine, herb gardening and wholesome real foods. Read more about our farm HERE.