Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Infuse and Use. ..

    Facing the daunting reality of a migraine, afternoon found me strolling through the herbal garden. Seeking relief from the pain that ails me..mint and fever-few, nettle and a bit of cat nip..a touch of lemon balm for flavor. I snipped and sniffed tender leaf and healing fragrance while enjoying the occasional butterfly and bee.
    Leaf gave way to tea sipped in the shade beneath a flowering myrtle. The song of birds soothed the stressed and strives that plagued my being today. Once relief came, I set my mind to steep some oils with fragrant gleanings from the gardens. Cayenne peppers for one, mints for another..pineapple sage and a tea tree..each one different..each one so fragrant and beautiful.
     My daughter steeps herbs in oils or vinegars by simply snipping them into canning jars, covering with oil or vinegar, and setting on the shelf for a few weeks. I don't do that simply because I lack patience..and have a tendency to forget about them. While her dedication lends a fragrant delicacy, I prefer a bolder approach.
     When I set to infuse herbs with oils or vinegars they are steeped in a hot water bath. Snipped, covered well with oil or vinegar..the jars are then placed in a crock with water up to their rims..set on low and left over night to work their wonders. The results are not only much faster, but bolder in color and in fragrance or flavor as the case may be. Strained oils are frozen to retain freshness and prevent rancidity, where the strained vinegars are kept on a dark shelf or chilled in the fridge until their use.
     Some oils are used for cooking: cayenne, ginger, savory herbals infusions such as rosemary or oregano. Other oils are used for healing or soap making: tea tree, fever-few, lemon grass, or marigold. Herbal vinegars can be flavorful additions to dressings or meals- tarragon and rosemary are favorites..where some are for health, such as Thieves blend, tea tree or lemon balm.
      No matter how you steep them, or how you use them, herbal infusions are a delight and a valuable commodity in a homestead kitchen. Do you infuse? Share your experiences with us..we love to learn from you.



Dolly Sarrio said...

I hope you are feeling better. There is so much I learn from your blog. I might just have to put more effort into using herbs. Thanks for this post.

Michelle said...

I infuse vinegars for cooking. But have never tried healing herds.

Simply Jen said...

Thank you, Dolly..the migraine is improving.
I do encourage anyone who is interested in herbs either nourishing or healing to take the time to explore it..it really is interesting and quite fun.

Kath said...

I have infused for jellies (honeysuckle and lemon balm, but the possibilities are endless) and for making skin lotion also!

Simply Scaife Family said...

Sounds wonderful. I have not tried infused jellies yet.