Monday, May 23, 2011

My Busy Week

A few pictures of my busy week. Along with helping out with gardening, I've made sour cherry jelly, 25 ounces of shampoo, and rose and violet hydrosol.
and I'm Not Done Yet!

Coming this week: job hunting, honeysuckle hydrosol, planing pumpkins, the EcoGoth TV Show, creating sample kits, and at some point sleep would be nice (haha).

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Weekend shopping

Getting abit of shopping done this weekend. After filling the car with gas and making a car payment...I plan on buying some herbs and such for product making for EcoGoth!

On my list is:
Almond milk
Star Anise pods
Angelica root
Hyssop, dried
Dr. Bronner's Castille soap
Amber bottle
Lip balm tins
1 brick

Mom-in-law Kathy bought the almond milk and stevia for me this morning (THANKS!) so I'm not regressing to 175 lbs again with my recent massive doses of sugar in my tea and the like (same for the gallon of whole cows milk in the fridge...).

You might be asking about the brick...well I'm going to be making honeysuckle hydrosol this coming week some time and maybe some rose hydrosol if there are enough roses available. The honeysuckle I'm not actually buying but gathering as there is a TON of it growing aorund here. Mostly its an experiment as I've never made hydrosol with honeysuckle before...

I just found out Three of Cups, a shop where I used to buy dried and fresh herbs and oils is now closed until they can find a new location (the old had heating and air problems and other unhealthy issues). Here's to hoping they get a new local soon!

Maybe I'll bring the video camera along and you can see where I shop, the products I buy and what I make! Stay tuned!

Friday, May 20, 2011

Picking Pitting and Canning: Cherries!

What a day! Farmville has nothing on me! Haha!

Halloween, our furkid, went to the vet this morning for her fix (spade). We'll be picking her up tomorrow morning.

We headed out after a breakfast of toast all around, to Clyde's farm to pick cherries after a phone call last night saying, the birds are eating them, come as soon as you are able!
Clyde has 3 grown trees with tart little cherries. There are more than that number but these are small and many will be transplanted to my in-laws this fall. Sadly, these trees, which in the past have been so full its taken hours to pick, were only partly full of cherries and many of these were either half eaten by birds and bugs or weren't ripe. We got about 3 1/2 to 4 gallons. The trees here on the property aren't ready for picking yet.

We got the buckets of cherries back to the house where we pitted them by hand (they're too small for cherry pitters) and put them through a mesh to collect the juice (the remaining pits and fruit are composted and if any saplings grow we are considering selling them at the farmers market).

And then I got to can jelly for the first time ever! Now, I did watch jelly and vegetable canning last year but my participation ended at harvesting and pitting/stringing/cutting.
I watched and took the experience in as if I were taking a class. I write the recipe down and made notes on everything Kathy said about canning.
I am proud to say that my first batch ever (7 jars total) was a delicious success!

The recipe is pretty straight forward.
3 1/2 cups cherry juice
1/2 tsp butter
1 box gelatin/fruit pectin
4 cups sugar

Mix juice, butter and gelatin in a large pot (we used stainless steel) and bring to a hard boil stirring all the while.
Add sugar and stir, bring to hard boil again and stir 1 minute.
After exactly 1 minute, bring off heat and ladle into jars (using a funnel).

Notes (I'll try and keep them comprehensive and coherent...but no promises)

Jars: make sure to have good jars, as weak ones are likely to crack, break or even shatter during canning. We used Bell brand. Kerr is also a good brand.
As for the lids, do not reuse the flat part of the lid as the rubber will not re-seal for a second use.

Equipment: always wash equipment in between batches. Dry jelly jars COMPLETELY before filling (water will ruin your jelly).

Making the jelly:
~ The 1/2 tsp of butter is to prevent foaming
~ Only ever make 1 batch at a time. Doubling up tends to create jelly that will not set.
~ If juice falls under the 3 1/2 c measurment, add up to 1/2 cup of water (Kathy also recommends 1/4 cup lemon juice).
~ Add 30 seconds to last hard boil to help jelly to solidify if its coming runny.
~ Never set jars of jelly just made on the counter (always put a towel down), cool surfaces will speed the cooling and cause jars to burst.
~ Do not waterbath jelly, even though some instructions say to do so.

Well thats that on the notes.
I was inspired to experiment and wrote my ideas down on jellies I would like to create in the future.
I plan on researching
~ Flower jellies (hydrosol + sugar + gelatin)
~ Jellies made with fruit AND herbs
~ Superfood/herb jellies
(Specific combos: st. johns wort and cherry, apples and apple blossoms, rose and lavender with honey, blueberry and thyme)
~ the use of stevia or coconut sap for a low glycemic jelly
~ the use of coconut butter instead of cow butter to prevent foaming for a vegan recipe

Simply want to sign off by saying I had soooo much fun today and plan to add pictures to this post later on when I find the camera cable...

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Herbal Webinar

If you missed the webinar with Kiva Rose on Folk herbs, you can listen to the replay until the 22 here!
After the 22nd the webinar replay will only be available to HerbMentor members.

I was so excited about this webinar. Kiva Rose is a great inspiration (for me she's right up there with Susun Weed). I grabbed a mug (or 2) of tea, snuggled my cat, and had my notebook and pen ready for notes (which were unnecessary since the webinar has pdf notes available for download). I loved the recipes for evening primrose and am excited about seeing what varieties of this herb are available in my area (and planning on dehydrating some with red raspberry leaf for a uterin tonic).

I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Farmer Chic

Not too much of an update today, just wanted to say I've been helping out int he garden today.
We had to re-plant, I think it was 12 rows of corn. Moles got a bunch of the corn and beans so we've replanted and hope the mole beans that were planted will mature quickly enough to do their job.
Also planted: cabbage, lettuces, parsnips, squash, zuccini, peas, cucumbers, strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, blackberries.
Cherries will be ready to harvest this weekend for canning and freezing.

I'll try and take some pictures of the garden and of Kitty's flower garden, which looks absolutely amazing.

Mushrooms are all over the yard adn around the gardens. I wonder if any are edible? I'm not about to try it but it would be something good to know, considering how many there are.

Folk Herb Webinar

Sort of short notice but tonight Kiva Rose and is doing a herbal webinar tonight at 8:30 Eastern time. Check it out!

David Wolfe and SuperHerbs

David Wolfe, raw food superstar, explains superherbs and their relation to superfoods and food.

Monday, May 16, 2011

How To Make Raw Superherb Hot Chocolate

I said I'd post more info about superherbs, so here is a video that shows how to use a few superherbs and superfoods in a yummy recipe.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Monthly Herbal: Superherbs

First, sorry I haven't been doing the Monthly herbal blog posts like I was. This is due mostly to my lack of internet access, but since I moved recently and am currently staying at a home with wireless, I'll be online more often.

What's to come with I Chose Health and it's Monthly Herbal?
I recently watched a couple videos and read a few articles about SuperHerbs. What I would like to do is continue the Monthly Herbal posts but instead of with basic infomarion about every day herbs, I would like to write posts of information about each superherb, its medicinal and nutritional information, and how to prepare it.

What are Superherbs? Much like superfoods, Superherbs are herbs (plants) that are packed with nutrients and natural medicine. Some superherbs include vanilla bean, noni, horse tail and Pau D'Arco.

But where to start?
You'll see a poll on the right for 4 superherbs. The winner of the poll will the the first superherb of the month. Don't worry if your choice isn't the winner, as it will be on the list for the next vote.
Until the Monthly Herbal is chosen, I'll post some videos and links about superherbs in general, to give you an idea of what they are and why they are important.

Doctor VS Herbalist (part 3)

I liked all three videos, here's the 3rd. I recommend watching the other 2 as well.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Super Simple Shampoo

I just want everyone to know how easy it is to make your own shampoo.
Sick and tired of conventional shampoos that are filled with petroleum based fragrance and sodium laurel sulfate that strips my hair, I decided to make my own.

What you will need:
1 16 ox bottle (trya dn old shampoo bottle)
16 oz of castille soap
16 oz of hot water
1-2 tea bags of favorite smelling tea
1 mug and a funnel or small-ish glass pitcher with a spout

Split the castille soap between the original bottle and the empty bottle (this means 8 oz in each bottle for you math whizs out there).
Steep tea bag(s) in hot water in the mug or pitcher for at least 20 minutes covered.
Take out the bag(s) and pour the tea over the castille soap...
Guess what! Thats It!
Easy right?

I used unscented castille soap. Warning, check the bottle because castille soap comes in a variety of scents like tea tree, eucalyptus, peppermint and rose. If you like these scents, go for it.
I used Celestial Seasonings' Tension Tamer tea and a few drops each fennel and tea tree essential oils. This made an herbaceous smelling shampoo I am excited to use!

I already have th tea and the essential oils so I'm not sure really how to factor those into the mix.
Castille soap from the local co-op was $7.48 after tax. So, really, for organic hand-made shampoo, this was super cheap, costing about the same as 2 bottles of the chemical-laden, cheap stuff from the grocery.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

My Healthy Wish List

So I have a wish list of things I want for my kitchen, life, health that eventually, when I have a million dollars, I’d like to buy…or be gifted to…just saying. I also wanted to post this list to show people brands and products they might have an interest in and a little about the products from my research on them.

Hurom Juicer – now this juicer is more expensive than some of the centrifuge and Masticating juicers out there available, at almost $400. It has a 10 year warranty for the motor and the filter is reusable unlike many juicers where you have to buy fiber filters over and over again. Why this juicer? Well, I’ve seen a lot of people use them on YouTube and seen comparisons on these videos. The Hurom juices the big veggies and fruits just as easily as the softer leafy greens, which some juicers have a hard time with.

Why do I want a juicer? To juice of course! I would love to juice fast…er…feast for a week every other month or however often I feel I need. Juicing is a great way to get nutrients to your body without the body working hard to digest the fibers – the nutrients assimilates faster, simply put.

Blendtec home blender – again, this is the more expensive blender but it has a lifetime warranty and is again compared on YouTube channels and blogs with other blenders, including the Vitamix…not that I wouldn’t be happy with a Vitamix…

Blenders are a great way to process raw foods without cooking them. Many, many, many recipes for raw gourmet are made with one of these high speed blenders. I’ve even seen herbalists use these high speed blenders to make some of their lotions, balms, and other healing recipes.

Excalibur dehydrator – a more expensive dehydrator than those found at the local supermarket, however this low heat appliance has an adjustable thermostat, 10 year warranty, 5-9 trays (depending on model) at 15x15 (s0me with non-stick sheets), and a book about healthy dehydrating.

HOM Sprite, high output filtered shower head – I honestly don’t know a ton about this specific brand in comparison to other shower filters. I do know that a good shower filter won’t clog up quickly, will still allow a good about of water pressure and output, and will filter all the heavy minerals in the water including chlorine.

OmGym…because it looks hellafun! Now…I don’t have a sturdy beam nor the space to own one of these at the present but they still look like a lot of fun…imagine, a swing in your house, with the excuse of exercise equipment!

Adya Clarity water filter – I don’t know a ton about Adya Clarity but I have heard a lot about their Adya Clarity water cleanser (the liquid that when a few drops are added to tap water, solidifies all the inorganic minerals and drops them to the bottom, leaving clean, pure water). Water filters, I feel, are a necessity in today’s world. Water systems are polluted with inorganic minerals, chlorine, arsenic, and drugs (both illegal and pharmaceutical). I prefer a filter that also filters out fluoride, though many don’t, trusting the many advertisements for toothpaste that this harmful mineral is good for you.

All of these products are available and have free shipping at The Raw Food World.