Just Plain Living…

Stories from our gentle Home…

Elderberry Syrup September 19, 2009

Some people run straight to the doctor when feeling ill. I run into the forest. Gather. Return home.  Make magic.  Today was filled with Kitchen Witchery. Me, in the kitchen…preparing medicine for the winter. It just so happens that Taige was not feeling so well today…at all this week for that matter. I decided upon Elderberry Syrup because it is so yummy and my kids take it easily. This tree has been called “the medicine chest of the common people” because the flowers, leaves, berries, bark, and roots all have been used in traditional folk medicine for centuries. Elder flowers and berries are antiviral and immune-stimulating. There is also a lovely story about “Elda” in one of my herbals and my kids love to hear it over and over.

Our day in photos…as well as the directions for making Elderberry Syrup:

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Loading the dehydrator with another batch of applesauce…

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The first batch of applesauce fruit leathers turned out beautifully! These are pure…and my kids love them.

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My Herbal Formulas…(maybe a real book one day…)

 

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 This is my SUPER Immune Formula tincture…it is a vital part of the Elderberry Syrup…like most medicine-makers, I have odd jars of tinctures in dark corners of my home…this one is intense as it has a menstruum of Everclear. It will never go “bad”. I often gift this tincture to friends and family who are in need. Alone, it is an amazing immune booster both for prevention and in acute situations. I mix one ounce of this tincture in with my Elderberry Syrup for these reasons as well as to preserve the syrup.

Elderberry Syrup 018       For today since I was in need of Elder and I needed it right away, I made a stop at the FBFCElderberry Syrup 015  Ahhh, Elderberries

Local honeyElderberry Syrup 014

Herbs galore…I love this room.Elderberry Syrup 016

 

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Photos of ginger (both whole and then grated -yes…I made that bowl, and I love it…)

 

 

To make Elderberry Syrup, you will need these ingredients:

3 cups fresh Elderberries or 1 cup dried, 3 cups filtered water, 1 ounce of fresh grated ginger, 1 cup of local (to you) honey, the juice of 1 lime and 1 ounce of Echinacea tincture (ideally pick this up from a local herbalist…if not, Gaia Herbs makes a nice product).

Just simmer the Elderberries and ginger in the 3 cups of water until the liquid is reduced by half (an hour or so)…if you do not stir it while it is simmering, you will see the original water ring on the pot and can easily tell when it is halfway. Strain it well. Let it sit in the strainer over a glass bowl for a while, really working the juice out of the cooked berries. I have a wonderful strainer that is perfect for straining herbs…here it is:

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After you have the medicine out of the berries, compost them. Add the juice of 1 lime (you must strain this too):

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Elderberry Syrup 073 Let it cool completely and add the tincture. Stir well and sterilize a glass bottle (I do this in boiling water),  fill it with the syrup and refrigerate (it will keep for a year). Now, I sometimes sell this magic potion so I have a nifty label as well as a little herbal business ‘ApotheCareys’…so,  I label it and date it.  And it looks so beautiful and simple…

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The dosage is not tricky but, that you will have to look up. I am an herbalist…not a doctor…and I do not prescribe! 

And last but definitely not least…my Spiritual Syllabus books came today. These go along with Kindergarten and they are just amazing. Lono and Coco Boato is the autumn book and we will begin on Monday!

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Now, if I can just get Taige feeling better..

 

Lavender Lemonade July 4, 2009

Yum. Lavender. Lavandula Angustifolia. It is one of my favorite plants. Not just because of it’s beauty or scent…but because it is one of those herbs that works for almost everything.  Did you know that in WWI,  the essential oil was used to disinfect the floors and walls of the hospitals!?  It is also anti-inflammatory and antiseptic. In our home, lavender is good for any boo-boo or bad mood, bug bite or bath soak…but it doesn’t stop there. At the height of summer, there is nothing more refreshing than an ice cold glass of Lavender Lemonade.  In years past (before my big kids got so big), we had an old window-you know…one with really beautiful glass and chipping (lead) paint…I painted the reverse side of the glass with the words “Lavender Lemonade” and that was their “sign”-for the lemonade stand. They would set up at the end of the driveway and would sell out within an hour or two. Yesterday, the kids and I made a batch and it reminded me that I should share this recipe…it is just too delicious to keep to myself!

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Lavender Lemonade

Ingredients:

Lots of lemons (20 or 25)

Lots of Sugar (get a big bag)

Lavender Flowers (2-3T)

Good clean water

First, you will make the “concentrate”. Do this by putting a half gallon of filtered water to boil. Remove it from the heat and add 2-3 tablespoons of Lavender flowers (I like dried). Put the lid on the pan and let it sit for 20 minutes. Next, juice the lemons until you have about a liter of lemon juice…(this takes a lot of lemons-probably 20!).  Then, strain the lavender flowers out of the water and compost them. Combine the lavender water and lemon juice (this is your concentrate). Now…from here it is all about your taste preference…how tart do you like it…how sweet do you like it?  I like to add the sugar (because I only use real sugar-that other stuff will kill you!) when it is still warm…so, go ahead and add…but…do it a little bit at a time…and remember, you still have to add water to the mix. What I do is get out my 2 quart pitcher, fill it about halfway with the concentrate…then add about a half a cup of sugar…fill it up with water…stir well and taste. If it is not sweet enough, I add more sugar…or if it is not strong enough, I add a bit more concentrate. You must decide for yourself! I store the rest of the concentrate in the fridge until I am ready to mix it. Whatever way you do it…be sure to have fun…!

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