Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Cleaning Raw Beeswax

I bought some raw beeswax awhile back , so I had to clean it before using. I don't own a double boiler , so I made one using an old enamel pot and another enamel pan.

It's really a simple process , just bring your water to boil and turn heat down , place beeswax in the top pan and let the wax melt.


I used several layers of cheesecloth to strain the beeswax through. I put a rubber band around the cheesecloth and pot to hold the cheesecloth in place. I broke the beeswax into small pieces and let it melt , then strained it in small amounts , that makes it easier to work with.


After it was strained into the pot , I put this pot back over the boiling water and let it melt again.

I then poured it into a jar , this is the easiest way to store the beeswax. When I need more beeswax I can melt it down by boiling a pot of water , remove from heat and setting the jar down in the water. Be sure to remove lid and make sure the water level is below the opening to jar.

~ Happy Herbal Blessings ~
JoyceAnn

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Susun Weed's Free Herbal Course


If you're interested in a free course to learn about herbs , you can check-out this link ~ http://www.susunweed.com/An_Article_Weed_Self-help1.htm ~ I plan to start this course soon. I will be showing my progress here on my blog , so hopefully I'll finish the course and hold myself accountable.


~ Herbal Blessings ~

JoyceAnn

Friday, August 20, 2010

Please Help Me Identify ...................................

I've been trying to i.d. this plant ,

but haven't been able to find out what it is.

The blooms are light lavender in color ,


It grows from a rosette of ovate leaves close to the ground.


It has many branches as it grows and leaves are toothed at the top ,

the main stem is hairy.
Can you help me identify it ?
~ Happy Herbal Blessings ~
JoyceAnn

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

~ Red Clover ( Trifolium pratense )

Harvesting Red Clover


I always harvest my clover when it's bloom is fully open and the blossom is pinkish/purple in color. From everything I've read and studied about red clover , that's when you harvest. The blooms are probably lacking in minerals or medicinal properties if they have already dried out. You have know way of knowing how long they've been dried out. But I wonder why it's called red clover , it's not red at all.


Here's a good read on harvesting and drying your clover
~ http://www.ehow.com/how_5111232_dry-dehydrate-red-clover.html ~. Your clover should be purple in color after it has dried. Hope this helps answer your questions.
~ Herbal Blessings ~
JoyceAnn


Monday, July 19, 2010

* Red Clover Syrup *

~~ Red Clover Blessings ~~


I thought I would share the process of making " Red Clover Syrup " . I hope to have my blogs put into print and gift the books to my daughters in the future. So I'll be sharing details and very simple instructions. The first step is to collect a quart of red clover blossoms , be sure to give " Thanks " for those beautiful blossoms and the medicine they provide before or after gathering. I put them in a large bowl with cold water and let them soak for about 30 minutes , then I pull the leaves and stems off , just like capping strawberries. You'll probably see a few bugs , but don't worry about the bugs , you should get rid of most by soaking. But you'll be straining the infusion after cooking and your pillowcase should catch any remaining critters after they've cooked (LOL).


I fill my quart jar with blossoms as I cap them , you'll put the quart of blossoms into a stainless steel pot and add a quart of water. Heat on hi until they start to boil and reduce heat to med-lo , let them simmer covered for about 20 minutes. Use a wooden spoon at this point to stir and punch at the blossoms to loosen the clover. Turn heat off , put lid on pot and let sit overnight.

This is what it'll look like come morning , then it's time to strain.

The easiest way I've found to strain large batches of herbs is to put a pillowcase in your pot or bowl and pour it in.


Squeeze out the infusion into the pot , I was using a black enamel pot for this and it doesn't show up well in pictures.


You should have about a quart of infusion , you may add a little water to it to make a quart if you come up with less.


Pour infusion into a stainless steel pot and add 4 cups of sugar , stir until dissolved , bring to a boil , turn heat down and allow it to cook down to a honey like consistency. This is the part I'm having trouble with , I've made 3 batches this year and so far I've not reached the consistency I would like. So , you're own your own from here , unless I find a method that works (LOL).
~ Update ~
I think I've figured it out , let it boil " uncovered ". I think that was my problem , I kept the lid on and it cooked to fast with to much heat. Keep checking and putting a dab in a small glass bowl , as it cools in the bowl , you'll see how thick it really is. I've finally got 2 pints of delicious red clover syrup and hope to make a few more pints if the clover keeps blooming.


Pour into sterilized canning jars , put lids on and process in a 10 minute boiling bath or refrigerate once cooled. Red clover syrup can be used on pancakes , toast or anyway you enjoy your honey or syrup.
~ Happy Herbal Blessings ~
JoyceAnn


Friday, July 9, 2010

Monday, May 24, 2010

You might enjoy ............................


these chickweed recipes. Click Here to visit " Naturally Simple Blog " and view the recipes ~ http://naturallysimple.org/blog1/2010/05/17/chickweed-salad-dressing/ . Both recipes sound yummy to me , I have added chickweed to my egg salad before , but the other ingredients would probably add some zing. Let me know if you try these recipes.
I'll have to wait until Fall , our chickweed dried up early due because we haven't had rain for a month or so.
~ Happy Herbal Blessings ~
JoyceAnn

Friday, May 7, 2010

Comfrey and Lamb's Ear

~ Comfrey Sprouting ~


~ Lamb's Ear ~



A few weeks ago I won a comfrey root in a giveaway at the " Herbal Roots Zine " website. Leslie over at " Comfrey Cottages " donated the root for the giveaway. I had asked Leslie about another herb I had saw on her blog awhile back and she remembered us discussing it , so when she mailed the comfrey root , she also sent me a clump of lamb's ear. That was so sweet of her , Thanks again Leslie.

The herbs are doing well as you can see , the comfrey has sprouted. I did move the lamb's ear , it's been very dry so I moved it to the spiral herb bed , were the lamb's ear can be watered more often.
~ Happy Herbal Blessings ~
JoyceAnn

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Saturday, April 17, 2010

~ Wild Violet Jelly ~




4 cups of Wild Violet infusion ~ 4 cups of petals infused with 4 cups of boiling water overnight


1/4 cup lemon juice ( fresh or bottled )


5 cups sugar


1 pkg of sure-gel


Pour violet infusion into a 6 or 8 qt stainless steel pot , add lemon juice , stir mixture well. Add 1 pkg of dry sure-jel , bring to a boil that will not stop as you stir , add 5 cups of sugar. Let it come to a rapid boil again , stir for 1 minute during rapid boil. Remove from heat , let it cool for about 5 minutes or so , skim foam off top. Ladle into sterilized jars , wipe rims and put lids on , process in hot water bath for 5 minutes. It will make 7 - 1/2 pints of jelly. I use the same recipe for Dandelion jelly.
~ Happy Herbal Blessings ~

Monday, April 12, 2010

~ Wild Violets ~

Common Blue Violet ( Viola sororia )

American Dog Violet ( Viola conspersa )


Blue Marsh Violet ( Viola cacullata )


I found this article about Wild Violets I thought some of you might like to read. It has nice photos of the many different types of violets and some of the ways they were used by Native Americans. We have 3 species growing here that I've identified.

http://americanvioletsociety.org/Violets_In_America/Ethnobotanical.htm

~ Happy Herbal Blessings ~

JoyceAnn

Saturday, April 10, 2010

* Comfrey *


I just happened to blop over to Herbal Roots the other night and she was having a giveaway for comfrey roots , so I left a comment. I was so surprised when I saw that I had won. I'm looking forward to learning about comfrey , I've read some great info on this herb. This months " Herbal Roots " is about using comfrey , I plan to order the April issue today. If you're interested in herbs , blop over to ~ http://www.herbalrootszine.com/2010/04/winner-of-comfrey-roots/~ and checkout her website and " Herbal Roots Zine ".


~ Herbal Blessings ~
JoyceAnn

Winner of Comfrey Roots

Winner of Comfrey Roots

Thursday, April 8, 2010

~ Air Drying Herbs ~

Earthy Purple Nettle (left )
Spearmint (right)

I have several different processes for air drying , the easiest being tying them in bundles and hanging in a dark , dry area. This little closet is perfect for drying most of my herbs. You can also spread them out on a screen in a dark place to dry , sometimes I do that too. I've also use paper bags to dry them , bundle the herbs up and put a paper bag over them , tie the top and hang , this method is used for saving seeds mostly , but if the area is not dark enough , this is a good method to use also. I have dried them in an old truck we have parked out in the field , they dry quickly this way but don't retain as much color because of to much light , so I usually put them in paper bags when I use this method. Sometimes I have just left them sitting in a basket and they dry out just fine , if they don't have any moisture in them.

Flassie , I liked your suggestion about renaming the Dead Nettle , so " Earthy Purple Nettle " it will be (LOL).

~ Happy Herbal Blessing ~
JoyceAnn






Sunday, March 28, 2010

~ Oregon Grape Holly (Mahonia aquifolium) ~


Two weeks ago when I went hiking I noticed the plant above growing next to the stream. We have them bordering our yard and they have spread through the woods. I didn't know what they were , I always thought it was some type of holly. I did a google search to find out what kind of holly it was , but it's not really holly. This plant is called Oregon Grape (Mahonia aquifolium) , although sometimes it's called Oregon Grape Holly. The leaves are holly like , but it's actually a member of the barberry family. It has the same medicinal properties as Golden seal which is a threatened herbal species. It has a yellow bloom that matures into grape like berries which are edible when they turn dark blue. If you would like to learn more about this plant here are two links with some great information.
Backwoods Home magazine has a article about making Oregon Grape Jam , Click here to read ......................................................................
http://www.backwoodshome.com/articles2/okeefe_joyce0808.html . I'm looking forward to making this jam come Fall.
~ Herbal Blessings ~
JoyceAnn

Thursday, March 25, 2010

~ Dead Nettle Tea ~


I don't know why this herb is called " Dead Nettle " , it's a beautiful plant with some great healing properties , but the name doesn't fit it , the name makes it sound deadly. I made a cup of tea with the leaves and blooms today , it taste just as it smells , very earthy. I'm out of honey at the moment , but I imagine it would have been very tasty with a spoonful.


While I was gathering some dead nettle , I also gathered chickweed , violet leaves , flowers and wild onions. I plan to cook the chickweed , the violet leaves will be dried out for teas and I'm going to dehydrate the wild onions. I'm so " Happy " it's herb season !!
~ Herbal Blessings ~
JoyceAnn

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

~ Dead Nettle ~


Thank-you so much Jeanne , I've been trying to i.d. this plant for two years or more. I'm so glad you knew what it was , found a great article about it's medicinal properties here ~ http://www.naturesherbal.com/Purple_Dead_Nettle.htm ~.


Tuesday, March 23, 2010

What is This ?




Does anyone recognize this plant , it looks like some kind of mint. I haven't been able to positively i.d. it though. I have lots growing around here , everywhere I find chickweed , I find this plant.


~ Herbal Blessings ~

JoyceAnn

Saturday, March 13, 2010

~ It's almost Dandy Dandelion time ...............................



if you're looking for some new dandelion recipes , blop over to Flassie's blog ~ http://wwwflassiesfila.blogspot.com/2010/03/dandelion-in-my-soups.html ~ and check-out the link she has on her post about dandelions. There are some terrific recipes at that link. I plan to try a few soon , I've seen a few dandy's starting to sprout up (Yay).

And here's another link with recipes and tips about adding wild greens to your diet ~ http://www.herbcompanion.com/Cooking/Edible-Wild-Greens-Recipes.aspx ~.
~ Herbal Blessings ~

JoyceAnn

Friday, February 26, 2010

Saturday, February 20, 2010

1001 uses for White Vinegar

Click here ~ http://www.vinegartips.com/Scripts/pageViewSec.asp?id=7 ~.

Hope you find some useful tips !!
~ Greenest Blessings ~
JoyceAnn

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

~ Mother of Vinegar ~


Leslie over at ~ http://comfreycottages.blogspot.com/2010/02/making-homemade-vinegar-and-mothers.html ~ blogged about making vinegar last week. I accidentally made red wine vinegar a couple of years ago. I made a few batches of wine from some grapes a friend had given me , the first few batches of wine did well , but the last gallon fermented into vinegar. The pic above shows the " Mother " that developed , the vinegar was very strong tasting but has mellowed out over time. I've been thinking about it and believe it may have fermented to vinegar for two reasons , sugar content and letting it work to long. I was making what is called " Prison Wine " ( LOL) , very cheap and easy to make , you add 6 cups of sugar to a gallon jar , fill with grapes and add water. You can google prison wine if you're interested in the details of making it. After the first few batches , I decided I would try to make it with less sugar. I don't like a sweet wine , so I added 5 cups to 1 gallon and 4 cups to another. The last gallon with 4 cups is the one that fermented to vinegar , the gallon with 5 cups of sugar did wonderful. I didn't add any yeast to my wine or mother starter to the gallon that turned to vinegar. The last two gallons did ferment longer than it should have , so that and the sugar level probably caused it to develop a "Mother". At the time I had never heard tell of a vinegar "Mother " , but I did a google search to see if wine would become vinegar , since it smelled just like vinegar. I found a wealth of information , including all the health benefits from vinegar. I also found out that vinegar was known as a natural by product of wine , the name is derived from the french word " vin aigre " meaning sour wine (LOL) . Who would have thought sour wine would be so good for you , so I've been using the vinegar and it taste great now that it has aged some. I hope to make some different kinds of vinegars from the " Mother of Vinegar " , she's not very pretty and actually slimy , but she's waiting to help me make more vinegar. The link below tells you how you make red wine vinegar and some of the health benefits it has.



More Information can be found here ........ http://www.answers.com/topic/vinegar and if you want to make apple cider vinegar , here's a link that tells you how ....... http://www.apple-cider-vinegar-benefits.com/vinegar-making.html.


~ Natural Blessings ~

JoyceAnn

Monday, February 15, 2010

~ All About Garlic ~

Next months Herbal Roots Zine will be about garlic , if you would like a chance to win a free copy , click here ~ http://www.lunaherbco.com/herbal_roots//?p=508 and leave a comment. The giveaway sign-up ends Feb. 16th at 8pm , the winner will be announced Wednesday , so hurry over and leave a comment if you would like to learn more about Garlic.

~ Green Blessings ~
JoyceAnn

Sunday, February 14, 2010