Products and Processes

butter: To make herb butters, start with either salted or unsalted butter, as you prefer. Soften the butter and cream into it finely chopped herbs to your taste. Chives, minced garlic, or watercress are fine additions. You may want to add a little lemon juice. Use 1-2 T. (well-packed) fresh herbs or 1-2 t. dried ones per lA c. butter. Use the herb butter on bread or hot meats, or with eggs. Unsalted butter won't keep as well as salted, but it's best for people who are watching their blood pressure. Candying Leaves and Flowers: Mint leaves, rose petals, and the blossoms of borage, orange, lemon, lilac, sweet pea, and violet can all be candied. Dip in an egg white that's been stiffly beaten, flavored, and colored to suit. Coat with sugar. Then dry in a 110°F oven (door ajar) or dehydrator.

Candy, Herb-Flavored: For a basic recipe, see "Horehound" under "Alfalfa to Yucca—Garden to Table." crystallizing: To crystallize angelica stems, very thin slices of fresh ginger root, rose petals (damask and cabbage roses are especially good), etc.: Cover the item to be crystallized with water. Boil 5 minutes. Drain. Repeat that process 3 more times. Save the liquid used to boil the item the fourth time. After cooling, measure the liquid and its herb contents by volume and add sugar equal to its volume plus a half more. Boil the herb/water/sugar until the herb gets a translucent quality. Drain the herb, dry it, and roll in white sugar. This keeps well if stored in sealed jars. (For another recipe, see "Angelica" under "Alfalfa to Yucca—Garden to Table."

Dye: Homemade colorings from herbs and other food products are more soft and subtle than artificial ones. Here's what you can use to make different colors:

• Black: barberry leaves

• Blue: blueberries

• Brown: nut hulls (walnuts are best), tea, coffee, rose hips, tobacco, hickory chips

• Green: beet tops, sunflower seeds, birch leaves, Spanish onion skins (outer leaves only), elderberry leaves, spinach, cabbage, rhubarb leaves

• Orange: orange juice

• Pink: cherries; beet and sassafras roots

• Purple: blackberries, cherries, huckleberries, cranberries, raspberries, grapes, purple cabbage

• Red: red onion skins, bloodroot, fresh beet juice, madder root, and logwood

• Yellow: the stem, leaves, and flowers of apple bark; barberry stems and roots; cinnamon; curry; ginger; the stems, leaves, and flowers of goldenrod; hickory bark; mustard; paprika; pear leaves; saffron; tanglewood stems; turmeric

For more information about dye plants, see Weeds: A Guide for Dyers and North American Dye Plants by Ann Bliss. There's also The New Dyer by Vinroot and Crowder, I'd Rather Dye Laughing by Jean M. Neal, Hands-On Dyeing by Blumenthal and Kreider, The Dye Pot by Mary Francis Davidson, and California Dye Plants by Marilyn Wilkins. Natural Food Coloring. For a brown color, use a little browned flour, a little burnt sugar, or caramel. Pounded, uncooked spinach leaves make a rich green. Adding some spinach leaf puree makes a lovely deeper green. This green can also be used to tint icings, desserts, etc. Another way to make a cooked-spinach green coloring is by washing some spinach, boiling it until tender, and pouring off the juice for your coloring extract. For a stronger green, let the spinach cool, squeeze dry, mash by pounding, and then put through a sieve. Cooked green peas make a lighter shade of green; split pea soup makes a very pale green color. The coral of a lobster pounded and put through a sieve yields red, as does vinegar or water that has stood on sliced boiled beets. See "Easter Eggs" in Chapter 9 for more information. Color Blending Chart. Commercial vegetable colorings can be varied like this:

• 2 drops yellow, 1 drop green, and 1 drop red = blue

• 1 drop red, 2 drops green, and 1 drop blue = gray

• 3 drops yellow + 1 drop blue = light green

• 12 drops yellow and 1 drop green = olive

• 3 drops red, 4 drops yellow, and 1 drop green = tangerine

Secrets of Dyeing Fabric with Herbs

NOTE: Dyes and mordants (substances used to set the dyes) are often poisonous. Keep them out of the reach of children. Don't use them in regular cookware.

1. Use an enamel kettle for dyeing. Don't dye in aluminum, iron, or tin pans; these metals can affect the mordant chemistry and color.

2. Herb dyeing is not an exact science. Plant colors can vary, even between one batch and the next. The soil the plants grew in, the amount of rainfall, the light intensity, and the time of year all can affect the color yield.

3. Flowers are the best bet for getting color from a plant, but stems, roots, leaves, fruits, and vegetables may make color too. In general, start with a weight of plant product equal to the weight of fabric you plan to dye.

4. Steep, heat, or even boil the plant until you have a heavily colored liquid; that is your dye. Experiment with a small amount to see if boiling improves extraction or if it makes the color dull.

5. A mordant sets the dye into the dyed substance, making it permanent and often brighter, even under the stress of machine-washing. Alum, acetic acid (from vinegar), and ammonia are mordants. Different mordants can give you completely different colors. Coreopsis plus alum results in a beautiful yellow. Coreopsis plus potassium dichromate (another common mordant) gives brick red. In a pinch you can use lemon juice, salt, or white vinegar as mordants.

6. Natural fabrics like linen, wool, and cotton, jute, silk, and rayon (which is cellulose-based) take herb dyes best.

7. Make your dye first and have it ready. Then wash the material to be dyed, soak it with the mordant, and finally dye it.

8. To dye fabric, heat it very gradually in the colored water up to almost the boiling point, and then cool it down equally gradually. Don't actually boil it. Or soak in the color for at least 1 hour. In the case of silk, keep below 160°F.

extract: An herbal extract is an herb's essence or oil in a solution, usually with alcohol. Extracts and pure oils are used to make scented candles, soaps, and cosmetics like peppermint-flavored toothpaste, and to flavor candies and baked goods. Certain ones are also used in mixtures to repel insects from people and plants. Gather fresh herbs and pound to a pulp with a mortar and pestle. Let the plant parts concerned stand in pure distilled vinegar, alcohol, or corn, sunflower, or olive oil. Getting 180-proof edible alcohol to make an alcohol-based extract isn't as simple for us as it was for Great-Grandmother, but you can substitute vodka—it's half water and half alcohol, equal volumes in 100 proof. Use 2 T. pounded herb to 3A c. liquid. Or put your herbs, berries, etc. into a bottle and cover with liquid. The liquid then gradually absorbs the soluble parts of the plant. Shake daily for 3 weeks. Keep at a warmish temperature—in the sun, for instance.

<i> CITRUS EXTRACT Peel away the fruit's outermost skin, called the zest. (There's a special tool for this at kitchen stores.) Don't use any of the white pith. Fill a wide-mouthed bottle one-third of the way up with zest. Pour in vodka for the other two-thirds. Soak 2 weeks, shaking twice daily. Strain and bottle your extract.

flowers: Edible flowers are fun. Learn more in the brochure "Edible Flowers," free from ATTRA (800-3469140). You'll find recipes in Cathy Wilkinson Barash's 1993 book Edible Flowers from Garden to Palate and Coralie Castle's 1994 Cooking from the Gourmet's Garden: Edible Ornamentals, Herbs, and Flowers.

W> CLOVER-ROSE "HONEY" For this old-time homemade honey substitute, in the summer gather and dry about 90 white and 90 purple clover blossoms, plus 25 sweetbriar rose leaves. Add 10 c. sugar, 5 c. water, and cook together. Sieve out solids. Cook to a syrup consistency. Ground Herb or Spice: Ginger root was once invariably sold intact, and people grated their own. The same cooks also crushed their cinnamon bark and ground their cloves. Now you can take your choice, but the more freshly ground, the better tasting. So when buying, figure the more whole the better, and grind it yourself at home as needed. Whole spices store well and keep their strength a long time. Once they're ground, though, they start to weaken. It's best to grind no more than a 6-month supply of spices at a time, preferably far less. If you don't believe me, I suggest the sniff test: Grind some whole allspice or peppercorns. Sniff. Then sniff your kitchen container of preground spice.

So equip yourself with an old-fashioned mortar and pestle, "spice mill," or pepper or salt grinder; or grind herbs in your blender or juicer. With those you can also mash seeds, crush dried herbs, and so forth. You grind in your mortar by crushing with the pestle—just pure elbow grease (available from 719-962-3228; The old-time spice mill was a little hand-cranked grinder with a box to catch the ground spice.

hand Lotion: Immerse V* oz. gum tragacanth (from Indiana Botanic Gardens) in water and soak for several days. Combine 2 oz. glycerine and 1 oz. alcohol. Strain the gum tragacanth solution and add the liquid to the glycerine/alcohol solution. Scent with herbal or floral extract (rose, lavender, rosemary, etc.). Add enough distilled water to make it the thickness you want; 2 cups is about right. See also "Quince" in Chapter 6 and "Sheep, Lanolin" in Chapter 11.

jelly: Basically you combine a juice (grape, orange, cranberry, etc.) with an herb or spice (or both). Tarragon, mint, sage, rosemary, and thyme are good for this; allspice, ground and whole cloves, ginger root, and stick cinnamon are good spices.

<i> MODERN Prepare 4 half-pint jars. Heat I cup of your juice to boiling. Then pour it over 14 c. fresh herb (or iViT. dried herb) or 2 T. whole spice. Let soak for half hour. Strain into nonaluminum pan. Add 2 more cups of juice, 2 T. vinegar, and 3 c. sugar. Mix and boil, stirring constantly. Now mix in Vi bottle pectin; boil another minute, still stirring. Remove from heat Stir in food coloring at this point if you want it Pour immediately into Vi pint canning jars. Put on lids. Process 10 minutes in boiling-water bath.

<i> OLD-TIME Prepare jars to hold 10 cups. Coarsely chop 6 lb. tart apples, put into non-aluminum pan, add just enough water to cover, and cook half hour or to softness. Then pour into jelly bag over bowl and let drain overnight On the next day, measure the juice. Add 2 c. sugar for each 2Vi c. of juice. Stir sugar into solution over low heat Add herbs or spices, or a mix of them, tied into porous bag, and simmer until jelling point is reached. Remove bag and pour into jars. Process 10 minutes in boiling-water bath. OlL: Herbs get their flavors from their natural oils. When herbs are dried the oil is still in there, but it's concentrated, which is why it takes less in volume of dried herb to give the same amount of flavor. In general, one drop of an "essential oil" is comparable to one handful of fresh dried herbs. Rose, lavender, violet, and lemon balm make good oils. If you do it right, the oil will have a strong scent of the plant, and you can use it like perfume or add a drop to your potpourri or homemade cosmetics. To make an herbal "oil" or "essence," there are several methods. For any particular plant, one works better than another, so experiment. Best of all, read Potpourri, Incense and Other Fragrant Concoctions by Ann Tucker Fettner, a thorough, accurate collection of everything you need to know about perfume ingredients and the extraction of scents, including recipes.

<i> SUN-EXTRACTED OIL Start with as much as possible of your fresh herb or flower. Lavender or lilac flowers, mint leaves, rose petals, rosemary, thyme, and basil all work well. Press them into a crock, using enough pressure to slightly bruise them. Carefully pour rain or distilled water over them until they are covered. Set the crock outside in full sun, in a place where it will be undisturbed, (bring inside only to avoid rain.) It takes around a week for oily scum to develop on the water's surface. Using a small bit of cotton to absorb it get that oil out of the crock. Squeeze it out into an appropriately small, dark<olored glass bottle. Don't put the lid on yet The next step is to cover that container with cheesecloth to keep dust from getting in but allow all the water to evaporate. After a few days, you can go ahead and seal the bottle tightly.

<i> COOKED-OUT OIL Put your crushed ("bruised") plant materials—flowers, leaves, bark, or roots—into a bag. Put the bag into a kettle of water and simmer about 24 hours over a slow fire. Then slowly cool. Skim the oil that rises to the top of the water. The bag is used because it almost invariably floats, and it's easier to get the oil separated that way. Squeeze the bag to help get the oil out You can even put it through a clothes wringer or use a cider press. For pine oil use pieces of wood cut fine. For birch oil, use the inner part of the tree; for cedar oil, use the tips of the branches. To make sunflower seed oil, throw seeds in premashed to help the oil come out

OIL BY EVAPORATION Boil your materials in a tea kettle. Strain. Boil more. The principle is that you are separating out substances that vaporize at a higher temperature than water; that's the oil. After the water evaporates, the oil is left behind because it hasn't yet vaporized.

ALCOHOL-EXTRACTED OIL Soak the herbs in a capped bottle of pure alcohol for 10 days or so. Strain. Leave the alcohol and its contents in a wide, open container in a warm place. Put a cheesecloth over it to keep the contents clean. After the alcohol evaporates, your oil remains.

CITRUS OIL You can collect citrus oil by turning rinds inside out to squeeze them just a little and then wiping the outside (now inside) surface with a bit of absorbent cotton.

^ OIL INTO OIL Because the essential oil can be so minute in volume, here's another option if you have only a small quantity of herb to start with. Pulp your fresh herb thoroughly using a mortar and pestle or some such. Place it in a small bottle—about 2 T. herb for a I <up bottle. Pour a quality cooking oil over the pounded herb until the bottle is nearly full. Add I t distilled vinegar. Cover tightly. Place where it will be in hot sunshine every day. Shake twice a day for 3 weeks. Strain and it is ready to use.

Oil, Herb-Flavored for Cooking: Make the above oils by the pint or quart for wonderful herb-flavored oils for salad dressings and cooking. Ointment: See "Salve."

pastilles: Also called scent balls. Same contents as sachets, herb pillows, and potpourri, except that they're melted together with a gum resin that makes them hard. Any size from a tiny bead up. Pound your ingredients in a smooth-sided mortar together with gum tragacanth, and moisten with a little rose water until you have a mixture that is like a dough. Shape and dry. Can be polished on a lathe. Can be sculpted into jewelry and so on; to make beads, pierce pastilles with a needle while they are still soft. physick: An old-time word for any plant-based medicine. Pillows, Herb: See "Sachets and Herb Pillows." pomander: A mixture of aromatic or fragrant substances enclosed in a bag or box that has holes in the sides. A pomander is used to scent clothes or linens; in old-time usage it was worn on the body to guard against infection. The pomander ball was most often made of amber or a partially dried orange with cloves stuck into it. To make one, start with a thin-skinned, small orange and a handful of cloves. Press the point of each clove into the orange as you would a thumbtack into a wall. Continue until the orange is quite covered with cloves, with only their large "heads" sticking out. Now roll the orange in ground cinnamon, getting as much on it as you can. Set on paper in an airy place and let dry for 3 weeks. Then your pomander is done. It can be placed in the traditional box or hung by a ribbon. potpourri: That's pronounced "poe-purree" (it's French). The purpose of a potpourri is fragrance, but sometimes it can be very beautiful too. One formula is Ve any flower petals, Vs herbal leaves, and then just a few added spices and/or dried citrus zest. (For more potpourri recipes, see "Geranium" and "Rose" under "Alfalfa to Yucca—Garden to Table.") The container should be china or pottery with a lid you can close tightly. Keep that lid on tight after the potpourri is made, except when you want to scent a room; then uncorking for half an hour should do it. I don't recommend using a glass container because light deteriorates potpourri; on the other hand, I've seen beautiful potpourris in glass bowls that were wonderful to both see and smell. When they deteriorated, the potpourri was simply replaced.

Using Herbs. A tablespoon or two of fragrant leaves adds to your potpourri's interest, but be cautious of adding more, because they may get overwhelming. Try rosemary, bay leaf, marjoram, cedar or balsam needle, basil, mint, sage, lemon verbena, scented geranium, sweetbriar, lavender, southernwood, sweet cicely, lemon balm, bergamot, myrtle, cost-mary, eucalyptus, chamomile, thyme, or anything else that catches your nose's attention. Also consider adding the flowers of rosemary and thyme.

Using Flowers. Although potpourris may contain many different ingredients (flowers, fragrant leaves, and spices), traditional potpourris were at least four-fifths rose petals— especially damask, moss, or gallica roses. You can make the other one-fifth any kind of sweet-smelling flower, or just use straight rose petals, or create your own flower mixes. Suitable additional flowers are acacia, bergamot, calendula, carnations, heliotrope, honeysuckle, hyacinth, jasmine, jonquil, lavender, lemon verbena, lilac, lily of the valley, mignonette, myrtle, narcissus, lemon or orange blossom, pansy, peony, philadelphus, pinks, stocks, thyme, violet, wallflower—or any combination of flowers you want to try. Use any fragrant petals so long as they're thin enough to dry well. Patricia Wiley, Watsonville, CA, wrote me, "Don't forget to include some small buds, as they add their personality to the dried mixture."

Drying Herbs/Flowers. Choose a dry morning to collect the herbs and flowers—after the dew has dried. Pick blossoms that have just fully opened early in the day. Don't pick roses that have already been fully open for several days. Don't use roses that have been in a vase for a week; most of their fragrant oils will be gone. Collect about four times as much as you expect to need, because they shrink in drying. Use the petals and buds of flowers only. Pull them carefully from the rest of the flower, which you discard. Dry them away from light, spread them out in a shallow layer on clean paper or cloth, and stir a couple of times a day. Dry to a papery state.

Using Spices. Two or three teaspoons of crushed spices add fragrance, but be careful not to use too much. Good spices to use are cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg, mace, coriander, aniseed, or allspice. Or you could put in a slice of lemon or orange peel stuck full of cloves. Using Liquids. Traditional potpourris were either dry or moistened with fragrant oil. You can add a few drops of a fragrant oil like eucalyptus, lemon verbena, peppermint, rose geranium, or rosemary oil, or another strong scent like brandy or attar of roses. Add 1 drop at a time, and stir with a wooden spoon.

Fixatives. The fixative both acts as a preservative and helps to hold the scent. Rose expert Patricia Wiley wrote me, "A

modern fixative is isopropyl alcohol, sprayed on. Do not use any fixative until potpourri fragrances have had time to sit and blend together, about 3 weeks." Combine the scented materials with the fixative by layering—a layer of potpourri, then a layer of fixative. Pack into jars, seal tightly, and let rest 2-4 weeks. Your fixative can be a few dashes of orrisroot, or much more. You can grow and process it yourself or buy from an herbal supplier. An orris/salt fixative is made by mixing one-third orrisroot powder with two-thirds uniodized salt for your fixative. An antique Elizabethan fixative was made by combining oz. gum benzoin, 2 oz. orrisroot, and a spoonful of brandy. Gum benzoin can also be used alone for this purpose.

Using Potpourri. Stir it. Moisten it with a little rose water, add a drop of fragrant oil, use as is as a source of room fragrance, or pack it into little cotton sachet bags. Every couple weeks or so, stir the potpourri bowl a little to release new fragrance.

poultice: a poultice is a bag of hot herbs held against an aching or infected portion of the body. Comfrey leaves make a healing poultice. Another traditional one is a bowl of hops mixed with a cup of hot vinegar. A poultice of boiled mullein leaves is good for cuts on animals. Chop green leaves finely and soak them a bit in almost boiling water. Let them cool before you put them on so they don't burn the patient. Then put them on the hurt place. You can make the poultice stay on by putting a cloth over it or wrapping the leaves in a clean cloth. Don't leave a cold poultice on; have a fresh one ready to go on when you take off the cooling one. Don't reuse the herbs. This may sound spendthrift of herb, but comfrey (the #1 healing herb) grows huge, so you'll have all you want once it gets a good start in your garden.

<i> LINSEED POULTICE To help aching bodies, scatter A lb. linseed into 2 c. very hot water, stirring constantly. The mixture will gradually turn into a dough. Mix in Ai oz. olive oil. Spread that thickly over a piece of prewarmed cloth. Fold over the extra ends of the cloth to make a sort of bag, and place the poultice on the hurting part powder: An herb powder is simply bark or dried herbs pulverized to a powder in your mortar. Sachets and Herb Pillows: These are cloth "pillows" made to hold dried, crushed herbs and flowers. Sachets are tiny bags meant to be placed in a drawer or closet to scent clothing, sheets and pillowcases, or stationery. Herb

pillows are several times larger and are traditionally used to overcome a sickroom smell and soothe nerves.

You can experiment to get your favorite scent. Lavender is traditional, but don't be afraid to try other mixtures. Lilac, rose petals, sweet peas, mint, rosemary, and thyme are all suitable. Or use lavender, sage, peppermint, and lemon balm in some combination, or sage, peppermint, and lemon balm without lavender. (For more ideas, see "Potpourri.") If you are making sachets intended to keep moths away, try a mixture of the insect-repellent herbs: cotton lavender, mint, rosemary, rue, southernwood, tansy, and wormwood.

As in the case of potpourris, the scent, whatever its source, will not last. To renew scent, every couple weeks or so, crush the sachet bag a little between your fingers to break some herbs and expose a new supply of their fragrant oil for scent. The aromatics will eventually run out; potpourris need to be refilled at least every year. Preparing the Contents. Follow potpourri instructions. Once your planned ingredients are harvested and dried, mix them and grind to a powder in your spice mill, mortar, or blender/food processor. Add a fixative like orrisroot. (See "Fixatives.") If you are making a quantity of powder at once—more than you need to fill your sachets or pillows— store in a small tightly-lidded bottle in a cool place and protect from the light.

Making the Sachet. Pack the powder into "pillowcases" of cotton, and sew up the open side. You can make a large herb pillow by sewing together two men's handkerchiefs. You can cover the inner pillow with velvet, gingham, percale, ribbon-trimmed lace, or any other scrap material you have. To hang or pin in place, sew a loop of ribbon or bias tape into one corner as the fourth side is sewn. Just make sure the material and the seams are tight enough so that dust from the contents doesn't leak out.

& HEADACHE PILLOW A midwestern pioneer recipe. Mix together A2 oz. cloves and 2 oz. each of lavender, marjoram, rose petals, and betony rose leaf Proceed as above. You're supposed to sniff it to cure your headache.

<g> TO-EASE-MELANCHOLY-AND-PUT-YOU-TO-SLEEP PILLOW Mix 2 oz. rose petals, I oz. mint, and !4 crushed clove for pillow.

<i> HERB SACHET Mix I part each dried sweet basil, dried thyme, dried marjoram, and dried rosemary leaves. With this one you don't need any fixative.

salve: This is a mixture of herb with a carrying agent that you rub onto the problem area. Gen MacManiman, who sells all sorts of food-drying information and supplies, is not only a food drying expert but also an herb lady! She wrote me, "For the base, salves and ointments use various wax/oil mixtures. An olive oil and beeswax combination is most commonly used. Freshly rendered lard is an excellent salve base. It has healing virtues and is just the right consistency. If stored in a cool place, it will keep a long time."

CHICKWEED OINTMENT Gen MacManiman's recipe: "Warm one cup lard in the dehydrator. (Lard becomes fluid at low temperatures—80-100°F.) Add Vi c. dried, powdered chickweed, and mix well. Return the mixture to the dehydrator and dry it for two days at 100-110°F. The fluid will then be quite green (the greener, the better) and ready to strain and place into containers. Store in the refrigerator or a cool cupboard. This is very healing for any abrasion or scratch, but best of all, it instantly takes the itch out of a mosquito bite! Try it on any itch."

BALM OF GILEAD SALVE This is good for cuts, scrapes, and chapped hands. The main ingredient is the sticky, brownish buds of the black cottonwood (Populus trichocarpa), commonly called balm of Gilead. It grows wild, west of the coastal Rockies, from California to Alaska. Pick the buds in spring before the green leaves form. Make sure you get the buds at the sticky stage. Put them into a big tin can, because the container will be almost impossible to clean out and it will be easiest if you can just throw it out after you're done. Add enough lard to just cover the buds when the lard has melted. Don't use cooking oil—you'd get liquid instead of solid salve. Simmer the buds/lard mix on low heat 2-3 hours. Then strain into sterilized jars or cans. You'll end up throwing out the straining cloth, so make it something you can do without shampoo: You can make your own herbal shampoos. Start by finding a jar with a lid. Pour into it 1 T. olive oil, 1 bottle Castile soap, and 2-3 t. of your favorite culinary herb. Lemon verbena, rosemary, and thyme are good choices. Mix your ingredients well with a wooden spoon. Put the lid on the jar and let the contents rest in a dark, cool place for about a week. Then strain to get the solids out. What remains is your herbal shampoo. Or you can use it as a hand or body soap. simple: a plant medicine.

spirit: A solution of an herb made with brandy is called an herb spirit. The basic recipe for herb spirit is to use fresh herbs, picking just before flowering or when otherwise appropriate. Strip the leaves from the stems and pack lightly in a jar. Fill the jar with brandy and cover tightly. Let rest for a month. Strain and bottle.

HERB SPIRIT FOR SEASONING SOUPS Equal parts sweet marjoram, basil, thyme, savory, and parsley. Measure and mix before filling the jar. Proceed as above. syrup: You make an herbal syrup, used as a beverage or a medicine base, by adding simple syrup (sugar and water) to the herbal infusion when hot and somewhat evaporated. Bottle and seal when hot. Violet flowers make an excellent syrup.

teas: We gather wild mint for tea down along Brady Gulch Creek, which runs along the bottom of our canyon, and wild strawberry leaves from the tender little plants that grow in the timbered places. You can drink teas and coffees made from the dried leaves and stems of many plants, from barks and nuts, and from grains too. In colonial America, when tea drinking became unpatriotic during the Revolutionary War (remember the Boston Tea Party!), the conventional China tea leaves were replaced by raspberry leaves, loosestrife, hardtack, goldenrod, dittany, blackberry leaves, sage, and many others. Some other homemade drinks enjoyed on the frontier were teas made from wild rose hips, mint, oat straw, sarsaparilla, and the marrow from beef bones. Rye and chestnuts, ground and roasted, or roasted crushed barley alone, were made into "coffees." Those alternative teas and coffees contain no caffeine. Of Infusions and Decoctions. Those two aren't exactly the same thing. A decoction is made by boiling an herb in water (an average of 10 minutes) and straining while hot. Coffee is a familiar decoction. An infusion is made by pouring hot water over an herb and then letting it steep. In general, leaves and flowers are steeped; roots and seeds are boiled. That's why flower/leaf drinks are "teas" and dandelion/chicory root drinks are "coffees." Leaf Teas. They're easy to make. Just boil water and measure out your herbs: from 11. dried to 1 T. fresh herbs for a cup of water, or from 1 T. dried to 1 c. fresh for a quart, depending on the strength of the herb. Then use one of the following methods.

• Pour water directly over herbs in teapot. To serve, put a little strainer over your cup and pour through that.

• Put your leaves or flowers into a tea ball or into a strainer. Set that into the cup and pour the hot water over it. Pour over leaves and let set 2-10 minutes. You really must experiment to get it just right. Every herb is a little different, and so are tastes. On average, the leaves are steeped in the hot water for 5 minutes. Get to know your teas, and you'll be able to judge by the color when you have the desired strength. Too little soaking and the tea will be too weak; too much and it will be bitter. Sweeten with brown sugar or honey to complement the taste of herb tea. You can freeze your leftover tea to use for quick servings, but strain out the herbs first, or it will get too strong.

• For health tea, add to just-boiling water 1 handful fresh chamomile, 1 bunch lemon balm (or V2-I oz. dried, or lA c. lemon juice), and 1 bunch peppermint. Cover and steep 20 minutes. Add honey to taste. (If lemon juice is used instead of lemon balm, add it before honey.) Stir well. Put in jug in the refrigerator and dilute to taste as you drink it.

• For herbed lemonade, add any concentrated herb tea to lemonade and chill for a nice, different drink.

• For sun tea, fill a gallon jar with water. Add your tea or herbs. Screw on a lid tightly. Shake a moment. Let set in the hot sun 4-5 hours—or more, like a day ... or two ... or three. Shake occasionally. Now strain out the tea leaves or herbs. Add honey or lemon juice. This is also a good way to fix dried fruit such as prunes, plums, or apples; just combine fruit, water, sweetening, and cinnamon, and let it set in the sun all afternoon.

I got these recipes from listeners to a phone-in radio program I appeared on in Wichita, Kansas, in January 1975.

Folks in Wichita also recommended mint leaves in lemonade, raspberry leaves for when you're in labor, and sarsapar-illa for any fella who needs more manhood! tincture: Here's Gen MacManiman's expertise again: "Vinegar tinctures are inexpensive, easy to make, and will last for many years. I have many tinctures which are over ten years old. They are simple to make. Herbs can be used in combination or individually. I use either vinegar or vodka and always use the dried herbs, finely crumbled or powdered. Basic proportions are 1 pt. vinegar or vodka to 2 oz. powdered herbs. Sunlight energizes these tinctures. Set the jar in a window for two weeks and shake twice daily. At the end of two weeks, strain and bottle the mixture. Dropper bottles are great."

TlSANE: An old-time herb tea, often used with medicinal intent. It's a strong brew given by the tablespoon several times a day.

Vinegar, Herb-Flavored: Vinegars can be flavored with leaf herbs, seeds, spices, or combinations thereof. Secrets of Making Herb Vinegar

1. You can start with store-bought cider or wine vinegar or with your homemade. Match strong-flavored herbs to red wine vinegar, mild-flavored ones to white wine vinegar.

2. In general, use 3 T. seeds, 1 c. fresh herbs, or lA c. dried herbs per 1 qt. vinegar.

3. Gather your herbs fresh, if possible—the flavor will be more pungent. Crush just before steeping.

4. If you must use dried leaves, moisten them with a little hot water in a bowl before steeping.

5. Heat vinegar to boiling. If you are using seeds or spices, crush them with a mortar and pestle (or crush them in a wide-mouthed jar with a wooden spoon). Boil them in the vinegar for 10 minutes.

6. Pour the vinegar and seeds/spices over the herbs.

7. Cover and let stand several weeks in a warm dark place. Shake the bottle gently twice a day.

8. At or before the end of the recommended period, taste the vinegar. If it doesn't seem flavorful enough, strain and start over with more seeds or leaves.

9. When straining, first use a sieve and then a cloth. 10. When the vinegar suits you, bottle it: Place a fresh sprig of herb inside your long-term storage bottle. Strain your steeped mixture in on top of that. Herbal vinegars are best stored at room temperature.

Here are specific recipes for herb vinegars (in alphabetical order by herb). Burnet (leaves or seeds), marjoram, dill, lemon balm, and chives are other possibilities. Mix and match to suit yourself. For chervil and tarragon vinegar recipes, see "Chervil" and "Tarragon" under "Alfalfa to Yucca—Garden to Table."

<i> BASIL VINEGAR Combine 3A c. leaves and I qt wine vinegar.

CARAWAY, CARDAMOM, CELERY SEED, OR MUSTARD VINEGAR Combine 3 T. seeds and I qt white wine vinegar.

<i> GARUC VINEGAR Combine 4 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped, A t salt 2 t ground cloves, I t freshly ground peppercorns, I t caraway seeds and I qt. wine vinegar. Give it 2-3 weeks before you strain and use.

MINT VINEGAR Combine 2 c. mint leaves, I c. sugar, and I qt. cider vinegar. Or pack the leaves into a pint jar and fill the jar with wine vinegar. Let stand 2 weeks or more, then strain. Bottle.


Use 24 green onions (shallots are best if you have them) or 4 cloves garlic or 2 c. celery leaves, peeled and chopped. 2-3 weeks in I qt vinegar. Strain and use.

& MULTI-SPICED VINEGAR Combine I qt cider vinegar, A oz. celery seed, A3 oz. dried parsley, I clove garlic, 3 small onions, grated, 2 whole cloves, I t peppercorns, I t nutmeg salt to taste, I T. sugar and I T. good brandy. Cover in jar. Let stand 3 weeks, strain, and bottle.

HOT, HOT VINEGAR Add horseradish, onion, paprika, pepper, chili peppers, cayenne pepper, curry powder—any or all as suits you. Strain and bottle when you like the taste. These aren't for me, but some people love anything that scalds their gullet.

Continue reading here: Seasoning Mixtures

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