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Many herbs are neither cold-hardy nor perennial. For those of us with frost and freeze dates on our calendars, the time comes in the fall when we must decide what to do with our plants. Besides using fresh or dried culinary herbs in cooking, here are some other ways to utilize a bountiful harvest of herbs.
Herbal baths and itch remedies --
To make an herbal milk bath, place a handful of chamomile flowers and a handful of jasmine flowers in a small pot of warm milk to steep for a few hours. Add to the bathwater. Other favorite herbs can be used as well.
For a case of dry skin, itches, bug bites or heat rash, combine 1/4 cup of lavender flowers, 1/2 cup oatmeal, and 1/2 cup cornstarch in a muslin bag and place in a tub of warm water. Use the bag as a washcloth and don't use soap or rinse off. Other herbs and plants touted for their itch-relieving properties include catnip, comfrey, lemon balm, mugwort, chickweed, and jewelweed.
Facial mask --
An herbal clay mask can be made by pouring one cup of boiling water over one tablespoon each of lemongrass and rubbed sage to make an infusion. Simmer in a pan (avoid using aluminum pans and utensils when processing herbs) for one minute, turn off heat, stir, and cover. Steep for 10-15 minutes. Strain and reserve the liquid. In a bowl, combine a teaspoon of honey and a teaspoon of yogurt with a teaspoon of French clay powder. Add 1 teaspoon of the herbal infusion to the clay mixture, stirring well. If too thick, add more infusion; if too runny, add more clay powder. Smooth over face, let dry, and rinse off with warm water.
The basic steps are as follows: Combine dry ingredients in a bowl; add fixatives and mix gently; add essential oil, drop by drop, until satisfied with the aroma and mix again. Store in a glass jar in a cool, dry, dark place for at least two weeks to age the potpourri mixture.
Some popular choices for herbs to use in potpourri are lavender, lemon balm, lemongrass, bayberry, licorice root, purple basil, sweet woodruff, feverfew, hyssop, and mint. Other things that are frequently used are orange peel, lemon peel, rose petals, hibiscus flowers, allspice, star anise, lime, sandalwood, pine cones, large seed pods, and dried berries.
A fixative is an aromatic ingredient that blends the scents of the potpourri together and will also hold volatile essential oils, thus keeping the smell from fading. Common fixatives are orris root (a dried root of one of several species of iris), angelica root, calamus root, myrrh gum, benzoin gum, oak moss and vanilla bean.
Essential oils are used to enhance the scent and may be any fragrance you like. It is helpful to choose essential oils that are similar to your potpourri ingredients. For example, use a citrus essential oil such as orange or lemon for a potpourri featuring citrusy and spicey herbs.
Sleep pillow --
Soporific sprays --
Summer skin splashes --
Pest repellant in the kitchen--
Host plants for butterflies--
These are just a few of the many fun and fascinating ways to use your bounty of herbs, fresh and dried. Once you try a few of the ideas, I can almost guarantee that you'll be hooked on herbs.
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Comments and discussion:
|Subject||Thread Starter||Last Reply||Replies|
|One for me ....one for you....||Sheila_FW||Sep 12, 2011 11:45 AM||13|
|Some perennial herbs||Tallulah_B||Sep 9, 2011 8:40 AM||4|