Even though the heat is on this Summer, we’ve had more success with Ginger, Turmeric and Galangal than we’ve ever
Nettles… Fresh picked from our front yard and washed… Just delicious! These go in the dryer. Tomorrow’s lot are for compost tea. It’s much easier to pick the fresh, young nettles than it is to pick and process older ones. All you need to do is wash the dirt off of the roots and they’re ready to go, whether they are to be used in a tincture, dried, composted, fermented or just used as a tea. Get them fresh from wherever you can and you’ll be rewarded with super nutritious greens, a remedy for many ailments, powerful fertilizer and a beautiful tea.
Mugwort (Artemisia vulgaris) is a herb with some ancient history. I’ll be writing a post about it soon but for now, here’s another use for it – ‘strong bones vinegar’. Mugwort contains a lot of calcium and magnesium, making it useful for strengthening bones and improving muscle function. As the two often go hand in hand, this is a good combination. A bit of caution: some folks are allergic to Mugwort, usually the same ones that have a Ragweed allergy. Mugwort can also affect pregnant women, so be careful here too please. If this is your first time dealing with Mugwort, take precautions. Handle the fresh herb for a little, wait for a while and if you’re not sneezing up a storm and your eyes aren’t red and watery in about an hour, you should be good to go. How to do it: Making herbal vinegars is just too easy! Here’s how to make this one… You need 2 things
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Herbs are best fresh, but that’s not always possible. Drying is most folk’s preferred option, having a long history of success in keeping the qualities of the herbs. One simple way I’ve worked out to keep dried herbs fresh is to make a small modification to Moccona coffee jars. Inside of the lid is a plastic seal and the lids themselves are hollow. We can use this space to our advantage. You can easy pop the seal off of the lid with a knife. When it’s off, make a few holes in it, large enough to allow airflow. As many as you want. Now place several silica gel packs in the lid and refit it. Now you can fill the jar with your herb or vegetable and the Silica gel will keep moisture away.
Cut Leaf Mint (Prosanthera incisa) is one of our favourite Native plants. This plant is commonly called Cut Leaf Mint, Native Thyme (not to be confused with Ocimum tenuiflorum or the closely related P. rotundifolia which also have that same common name) or Native Mint (I know, there’s a couple of those too…). We love to grow it because of its strong odour, even just passing a hand through a bush is enough to get that minty smell around you for an hour or so. Cut Leaf Mint is easy to grow and tolerates the Aussie Sun quite well. Regular harvesting of leaves and stem help to keep its low, bushy shape. Without this, Cut Leaf Mint can get really straggly and unkempt. Herbally, Cut Leaf Mint shares many of the characteristics of others in the same family. Its strong oil can be used as an antiseptic and antibiotic or antifungal, we can use the tea to help settle the
Had a couple of nice surprises today. I went with our friend Annie to recreate at Mt. Pleasant. recreate is an amazing place where artists reuse, recycle and repurpose all kinds of stuff into useful, inspirational or just quirky art They also have a very interesting range of plants for sale, with local herbalists Margaret Connington and Bev Lane being contributors to the collection. Another surprise there was catching up with Steve Oatway…well known sculptor of metal and junk. Haven’t seen him for a while. I found Saggitaria (commonly known as arrowhead, duck potato or katniss) of which I bought 3 pots full of tubers and Water Chestnut…an old favourite. When I got home, I found my eBay order for Oca (New Zealand Yam) had arrived, with 15 tubers to get us started. These are going into our ‘under-understorey’ of perennial roots and tubers. We tried to grow them a few years back, twice in fact. Both times our dogs,
Today I needed to harvest some of our unruly Lemongrass (one of the many Cymbopogonspecies). We had enough to process, so I thought I’d share it with you in a short post. Leaf showing the two main parts. Lemongrass has long leaves that are essentially in two sections. It is clear where the leaves open from the leaf base into the ‘proper’ leaves. There’s probably proper scientific words for all these parts. Comment below if you know any!Below this division is the thick, succulent leaf base, it isn’t really a stem. Above this are the drier ‘proper’ leaves. The whole plant can be used, but often there are many dry and discoloured leaves, especially on older plants like ours. The rhizomes are delicious and useful too, but this time I left them in the ground. I won’t bother you with a long tutorial on removing the dry leaves… Short chunks for freezing for teas.With the lower stem, if we’re