Peppermint Lip Balm..Read More
Busy morning in the kitchen teaching a friend how to make tinctures, salves, and herbal vinegars. We made Yarrow Tincture (for colds and coughs in the winter), Lemon Balm (for upset tummys and anxiety), Purple Basil Vinegar, and healing salve.
Cover herbs in oil (I never measure - I use what I have and cover it making sure to cut up any fresh herbs. This salve has yarrow, plantain, calendula, lavender, and comfrey covered and rendered for 2 hours)
Render herbs in oil on very low heat for at least 2 hours. Stir occasionally and ensure all the herbs stay under the oil while it draws. (I like to allow mine to steep for 4-6 hours if possible ensuring the oil does not burn)
Allow the oil to cool and strain through a cheese cloth - measure the amount of oil you made - I strain my oil directly into a measuring cup
While oil cools bring a double broiler of water to a low boil. (I did not know what a double boiler was the first time I heard the term - it is two pots stacked. The bottom pot has water in it that comes to a boil and the inner pot is used for cooking).
Add the oil to the inner pan (you want to make sure there is no water bubbling or splashing into the inner pan.)
Once the water is boiling add the oil and begin heating it back up. Also add 4 tbsp of beesbax beads for every 1 cup of oil.
Allow the beeswax to melt and mix with the oil stirring constantly.
Pour into airtight containers. (You can add oils when you pour it if you wish - be sure to use oil that are safe for skin contact)
For Lemon Balm Tincture I packed this quart mason jar with very fresh lemon balm leaves and covered with vodka. I let it sit for four weeks in a dark cabinet turning it every few days. Once it was done tincturing I strained it several times through cheese cloth and poured it into a sterilized jar for storage. I will store it in a dark cabinet and use as needed.
I also made some smaller bottles for friends - because what's the point in making all these herbal goodies if we don't share them?
I don't measure anything...
I cut up two or three onions and begin cooking them in olive oil (I use bacon or sausage grease if I have it).
Once the onions begin to look tender and soft I throw in the garlic and a handful of basil leaves.
When the basil leaves have wilted I begin adding the tomatoes - skin and all and I add about a teaspoon of salt and a table spoon of black pepper corns. I let this simmer on medium low until it begins to thicken - stirring occasionally and crushing the tomatoes. (30 min - 40)
As it thickens I add about a 1/2 cup of homemade chicken broth and a second handful of basil leaves (though I usually cut these up). (another 10 minutes or so - consistency is up to you)
When the sauce is to the consistency we like I take it off the stove and let it cool.
We eat what we're going to for the evening and pour the remainder into mason jars and freeze for winter. (Remember anytime you freeze something in glass you have to make sure to leave room at the top of the jar for expansion while frozen or the glass will break)