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Calendula Cream

Calendula’s blooming so it’s time to make soothing cream.

Soak the dried flowers in a cup of olive oil for a couple of weeks. To speed up the process the oil and flowers can be gently heated for an hour.

Drain the oil. I added in dried lavender with the calendula petals.

Put the oil in a bowl in a pan of hot water. To get a thick cream add one ounce of beeswax to one cup of oil.

Pour into a container with a cover and enjoy!

Now that you have dried herbs making your own blends is easy! These make great gifts as well as stepping up the flavor of your own dishes.

Lavender

Lavender

Here are some of my favorite blends:

Herbes de Provence

Herbes de Provence usually contains basil, bay leaf, marjoram, rosemary, summer savory and lots of thyme. Lavender can be included too but don’t add too much as it’s pretty strong.  Here is a base recipe to start with but feel free to play around to get the flavor you like.  If you don’t have all of these herbs it’s fine to leave some out.

  • 2 Tablespoons dried basil
  • 1 Tablespoon dried marjoram
  • 1 Tablespoon dried summer savory
  • 2 Tablespoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon lavender flowers
  • 1 bay leaf
  • ½ Tablespoon dried rosemary
Rosemary

Rosemary

Rub for Grilling

  • 3 Tablespoons dried basil
  • 2 Tablespoons dried rosemary
  • 1 Tablespoon dried savory
  • 2 Tablespoons dried oregano
  • 2 teaspoons dried fennel
  • 1 bay leaf
Oregano

Oregano

Italian Seasoning

This tastes great in spaghetti sauce, on pizza or in salad dressings.

  • 4 Tablespoons dried basil
  • 2 Tablespoons dried oregano
  • 1 Tablespoons dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon dried garlic, (you can leave this out and use fresh instead when it’s time to cook)
  • 1 bay leaf

You can put these blends into small jam jars or metal containers.  Keeping air and light out will help the flavors stay bright.

 

Kimchee

What’s crunchy, spicy hot and really good for you?  Kimchee!  Here’s how to make your own.  It’s much easier than you would think.

The first step is to chop your veggies and spices:

Next mix the spices together:

Mix in the veggies:

Once all is well mixed put in a jar and let sit until it’s fermented:

Once your kimchee is ready invite friends over and eat!

Here’s a recipe with more detailed instructions.

Garlic Braids

Right now is a good time to harvest garlic.  Braiding it then hanging it in a cool, dark place is a great way to store it for later.

how to make garlic braids

If the garlic isn’t well dried it will rot.

First dry the garlic until the leaves are limp and the outside of the bulb is getting papery.

how to make garlic braids

It’s ok to leave some of the dirt on the bulbs.

Gently brush off the dirt and trim the roots off.  Be careful not to bruise the garlic as it will spoil more quickly if damaged.

how to make garlic braids

If you’re new to braiding then getting someone to help will make a smoother braid.

Line up three bulbs with good long stalks and begin to braid.

how to make garlic braids

Make sure there is some space between the bulbs so they can continue to dry.

With each cross over add in another bulb until you have a braid that is about a foot long.  If you go longer it can be quite heavy and hard to hang.  It’s also nice to keep the braids a bit shorter to have more to give as gifts.

how to make garlic braids

Ready to hang. If you are a big garlic user then hang in your kitchen, if not put in a cool, airy place and take off heads as needed.

Here is the finished braid!

Summer Squash Pickles

So much squash! It’s pickle time.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 large garlic cloves
  • 2 teaspoons dill and/or mustard seeds
  • 1 teaspoon black peppercorns

Directions:

  • Bring vinegar, salt, water, sugar and garlic to a boil, simmer for two minutes
  • Put spices into jars
  • Pack jars with squash
  • Pour in vinegar mixture and put lid on jars

Let sit for a few days for flavors to blend. Keep this in the refrigerator up to two months. (Because it’s not water bath canned it needs to be in the fridge.)

Plant Dyes

How do you know if a plant might make a good dye? Rub it between your fingers and see if it stains. If it does give it a try!

To help the dye “bite” the yarn or fabric you need to use a mordant. Pickling alum is one I like to use; easy to find and non-toxic. Different mordants will give various shades so try a few!

Use the least processed, non-machine washable wool you can find. If it’s been treated it won’t take dye well.

Believe it or not this is grey from bright red day lillies!

Oregon Grape – I’ve just tried the berries but I’ve read the leaves and roots can be used for a yellow dye.
Purple from Oregon Grape with alum mordant.
Oregon Grape

Deep yellow from mature dock seeds.

Pale green from fennel
Walnut
I used some alum but due to the natural tannin in the walnuts a mordant isn’t needed. The color is fairly long lasting and it’s a good idea to wear gloves!
Walnut stewing
Mulberry from Richland, WA.
Here’s wool dyed with mulberry. The different colors result from longer and shorter times in the dye bath.
Lady’s Bedstraw
Here’s the color when the roots are used.
Here’s the color produced from using the flowers with an alum mordant.
Tansy makes a nice yellow and it’s a noxious weed so no guilt in picking it!
Bracken fern
Tansy in the middle and Bracken fern on each side.
Bracken in a cast iron pot.

A Great Cracker Recipe!

This is still one of my favorite recipes! These crackers rival the 5 dollar a bag ones from the market and you can experiment with all sorts of herbs and flavors.

Panzanella Croccatini

  • 1.5 cups of flour
  • .5 cup very cold water
  • 1 tsp salt, play with this so it is to your taste, I am using less salt
  • dash sugar
  • 1/8 c rosemary chopped
  • 1/8 c olive oil

Preheat oven to 450 degrees and put a pan for water in the bottom of the oven.

First put flour, salt, sugar and rosemary in a food processor fitted with the cutting blade and pulse to blend.

Next add the oil and pulse to blend.  Add the water in a stream until the dough comes together and run for about twenty seconds.

Turn the dough out and knead to a smooth ball.  Divide it into four pieces and cover with a cloth to let rest for five minutes.

Roll each section in a pasta roller.  The next to thinnest one tastes very good.

Cut into sheets and place on parchment paper.  Spray with water water and sprinkle with herbs.

Put parchment paper directly into the oven on a baking stone, add a half cup of water to the pan in the bottom.  Turn crackers from front to back after about two minutes.  Watch them closely as they burn easily.  You just want a hint of brown.

Enjoy!

Hawthorn Berry Ketchup

There are lots of things you can do with this versatile berry from ketchup, to syrup to a deep purple dye.

Black Hawthorn Berry – ripe late July

First find the berries. As with any gathering be absolutely sure you’ve correctly identified the plant. If you have any doubt don’t use it.

Sharp thorns help identify this plant.

Here’s the recipe:

  • One cup washed berries
  • 1/3 cup cider vinegar
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • Pepper to taste

Put the berries, water, salt and vinegar in a pan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until berries split. Add sugar and stir until thickened.

Push through a sieve to remove seeds and season. Enjoy!

Bring to a boil then simmer until berries soften.

Push through a sieve then season to taste.

All ready for dipping!

Beacon Food Forest 2019

The BFF is maturing and bearing fruit. You can sign up to be a summer steward now.

Map

Sage

P-patch

Borage

Grape

Fava beans

Willow and dogwood

Berries

Apples

Meeting area

Comfrey

Currants

Rhubarb Crisp

The rhubarb is exploding out of the ground – it’s time to make a crisp!  There are many ways to eat this tangy plant but my favorite way is in a crunchy, nutty, sweet and sour dessert.

Ingredients:

  • Fresh rhubarb stems
  • 1/4 cup tapioca or flour for thickening the juices
  • 2 cups sugar
  • One cup flour
  • 1/2 cup melted butter
  • 1/2 cup rolled oats
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • One cup nuts

Here’s how to make this tasty dish:

Harvest rhubarb stems by pulling them firmly up and out of the base of the plant.  Trim the leaves and the ends off so you are left with the ruby stems.

    • Wash and cut into pieces about 1/2 inch wide.
    • Put the cut pieces into a baking dish, set the oven to 375 degrees
    • Sprinkle tapioca or flour and, depending on the amount of rhubarb and the degree of your sweet tooth, about one cup sugar over the cut rhubarb
  • Streusel topping directions:

    • Mix melted butter, oats, remaining sugar, nuts and flour together so it is a crumbly mixture.
    • Sprinkle this over the cut rhubarb
    • Dust with cinnamon

    Bake for 50 to 60 minutes until the dish is bubbling, the top is brown and the rhubarb is soft.

    Ready to bake!

    Let cool a bit then serve as is or with ice cream or milk.