Thursday, November 19, 2009

Herbal Gifts for the Season

Gratitude takes three forms: a feeling in the heart, an expression in words, and a giving in return. ~John Wanamaker

Herbal gifts are one of my favorite things to give during the holidays. They are such a pleasure to make and give to friends and family. Of course, always keep a little something for yourself!

Lavender Jelly
from Cooking with Lavender by Joyce Ellenbecker

Infusion: Bring 3 cups distilled water to a boil in a non-reactive pan and pour over 1/2 cup fresh lavender flowers or 3 tbsp dried flowers. Steep for 15-20 minutes, strain and save in a non-reactive container for up to 2 weeks.

Jelly: Bring to a full boil, stirring constantly:
2 cups lavender infusion 1/4 cup lemon juice
4 cups sugar

Stir in 1 envelope (3 oz) liquid pectin. Boil 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat, add food coloring if desired, pour into jars and seal. Store in the refrigerator for up to 1 month. For gift giving, process the jars in a water bath for 5 minutes after sealing with canning lids. After the bath, turn upside down for 5 minutes, then turn right side up and cool.

Handmade Herbal Lotion

1/8 teaspoon borax
1/4 cup distilled water
1/2 cup sweet almond oil
1 Tablespoon grated beeswax

Combine the borax and distilled water. Set aside. Heat the oil and the beeswax gently until the beeswax is almost melted. Remove from the heat and stir. Heat the borax and water till almost boiling. Slowly pour the borax water into the almond oil mixture while stirring with a wire whisk. Add 4-5 drops of an essential oil such as rose, lavender, rose geranium, or other gentle scents, also whisking it into the mixture. Pour into a container and allow to cool. Makes 8 ounces.

Sock Drawer Sachet
The Herb Companion, October/November 1993

4 tbsp. Lavender
4 tbsp. Thyme
2 tbsp. Lemon balm

Especially nice for a man's drawer or wardrobe, this mixture has a clean, refreshing scent. We've trimmed our small burlap bag with raffia and a cedar acorn hot-glued in position. Recipe makes about 1/2 cup, enough to fill a 3-by-4-inch bag.

Herbal Sachet

2 ounces dried lavender flowers
1/2 ounce dried rose petals
1/2 ounce dried rosemary
1/2 ounce dried mint
1/2 ounce dried thyme
1 ounce dried scented geranium leaves

Blend all ingredients in a large bowl. Place the mixture into a large glass jar or tin and place on a tight fitting lid. Allow the herbs to sit for 2 weeks. Shake a couple times per week. It's also optional to add a few drops of essential oil such as a mixture of lavender and rose to the jar. After the 2 weeks divide the mixture and use for sachets or place in small muslin bags. Enclose the sachets in plastic bags to keep until you are ready to give them away.

On OFL we have more herbal gifts to make:


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