Sunday, July 17, 2011

Tinctures, Salves, and (love) Potions

Beautiful, lily-white Elderflower

Two weeks ago while at my foraging class, we were taught about Elderflower and it's many uses.
Elderflower honey, wine, and tinctures.

I had some local honey here at home, so some of the elderflowers have been sitting in it for a couple of weeks. Eventually I will strain them out and have infused elderflower honey for tea this winter.

Elderflower Tincture

So, basically a tincture is an infusion of your herb/flower of choice and alcohol.
I chose cheap vodka, as that was the most accessible.
Fill up a quart jar with elderflower and top off with 3 parts vodka to 1 part water.
Leave in a dark place for several weeks, shaking the jar every day.
After several weeks, strain the elderflowers and store the tincture in dark bottles in a cool place.

Elderflower tincture is said to be useful in slowing down viral infections and may prevent flu.
Also reported to lessen the symptoms of hay fever in the spring.
Dosage may vary with the symptoms.

I don't have allergies, and I am not prone to the flu...
I just thought it would be a fun, easy way to learn a little something new!

I also made some elderflower syrup, which was delicious in the stinging nettle tea!

Calendula oil
Salve in the making....

Another item on my "to try" list is Calendula salve.
Reported to be excellent for diaper rash, it is also used to treat minor cuts and scrapes and for chapped lips, of which I have pretty much all winter here in Michigan.

Easy peasy to make, I simply pulled the petals from some organic calendula flowers.
Gathering a full 1 cup, I then covered with 2 cups of olive oil. (extra-virgin not necessary)
Let sit in a sunny window for anywhere from 1 week to several months.
It will eventually get mixed with some local beeswax to produce a salve.
The plan is for a small jar of this to be on my nightstand for my nightly ritual of a heavy coating of lip balm.

Vanilla bean infused vodka

Tho the container is an old bourbon bottle I found, the ingredients for my homemade vanilla are excruciatingly simple...
vanilla beans (gifted to me), and the cheapest vodka I could find.
Leave it in a dark cupboard, and shake as often as you do the elderflower tincture!

I am quite certain really good vodka (or bourbon!) would be preferable, but the budget does not allow for that!
So, we make do with what we have, and I am sure it will be just fine.

(love) Potion
aka: Strawberry Vodka Schnappes

A combination of several recipes, this is a wonderfully aromatic after-dinner libation.
2# of organic strawberries, stemmed and cut into pieces in a 1/2 gal. jar.
Cover with 4 cups of (again) cheap vodka.
Leave in a cool, dark place for several days, shaking the jar each day.
After anywhere from 4-8 days, strain fruit from liquid.
Place liquid in a separate jar and put back in the dark place.
Take your berries and sprinkle with about 1/2 cup of sugar and place in it's own jar.
After a couple of days, liquid will have oozed from the berries.
Strain the liquid, and add it to the original vodka/berry mixture.
Repeat with the sugar and berries up to 4 times, straining every couple of days and adding to the
beautiful ruby colored vodka.
By the time all is said and done, you should have about 6-7 cups of the most wonderful tasting, fruity vodka EVER.
No fake strawberry flavorings....yuck.

Bottle and keep in the freezer for those wicked hot evenings out on the deck.
Just a small glass now....cause I think it could pack a little bit of a punch!

This would work with pretty much any fruit you could think of....
I am thinkin' apricots?

We might be having a few of those wicked hot nights this week, with temps forecast to be in the mid 90's

See you out on the deck?

In Christ alone,

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Ruby Jean said...

WOZERS...You never cease to amaze me... : ) You need to put a little book together in PDF form...I would certainly buy it.. : )

Have a blessed day..

KathyB. said...

I keep meaning to do this, now that you've reminded me of the wild blessings around here just waiting to be harvested, I will head to the liquor store to make these. I have wild strawberries and also a garden full of freshly ripe organic strawberries.

We have 2 kinds of elderberries here, I think I might need to do some checking up on them because I think some are not good for human consumption...blessings to you today , thank-you!

Jayme said...

I just love all of this stuff! My sister-in-law made some clover wine last year. I have always been so interested in herbal tinctures and medications. Good for you taking a class and all!

Ann at eightacresofeden said...

I have an elderflower just outside my kitchen door but so far have only used the flowers to make cordial. I'm very tempted to make that tincture - better go and check the price of vodka and let my husband know why I need to purchase it!
I use a commercial organic calendula cream for nappy (diaper) rash and absolutely swear by it, should really check their ingredients list and see what else they add to it and try and make my own. The brand I use is fairly expensive but is far superior to any other calendula cream I have tried - doesn't just prevent rashes, actually clears them up.

Regan Family Farm said...

Goodness girl! Did you find the elderberry flowers while foraging, or on your property? One of the first things I did when we moved here was to try to get the Calendula under control...dumb me, it NEVER came back. Too aggressive???
Blessings, Kathy

Holly said...

Alas, no elderflower grows here but I do grow Calendula flowers and use them in my home-made soap. I've just got to try the salve though. I've a recipe coming from our son-in-laws friend for lip salve and since you've inspired me I think I'll add Calendula flowers to it.

mandi said...

Oh, I wish we could grow elderflower more successfully here. Calendula doesn't much like our heat either, but I can get it to grow a little in the fall.
Your foraging class sounds neat!

Maria said...

Hi Cindy ~
You surely have been busy!
Your amazing at learning new things and then teaching them to the rest of us! The many uses of vodka are something else!
The homemade vanilla sounds sooo easy... I also love the infused olive oil.
Thank you for all the time you take to share with us. I learn so much when I visit you. Too bad we don't all live a little closer, you could host classes for us!

~wishing you summertime joys~
stay cool and take care!
♥ Maria

Mika said...

I haven't been able to start any calendua here yet, but it's on my list too. My daughter has a skin condition called icthyosis (it's like REALLY REALLY REALLY bad exczema..but worse) and I found a salve made by wishgarden that has calendula and comfrey root as the 2 main things in it. That salve has made SUCH a huge difference in her skin and comfort level, I really want to try making my own. But first I need to plant calendula and comfrey! We just moved into our little homestead this past winter, so we've been BUSY!

Kathleen From Eggs In My Pocket said...

Just love all that you do and make with what you have around you! You should make a cookbook of sorts, folks would love it!

Ellen said...

Just sort of stumbled upon your blog. These 'recipes' sound good. In the past, I've made cordials and given as gifts. Never done a tincture before. Do you drink it or apply it to your skin?

Donna said...

We love making our own vanilla and it makes a great present at Christmas time for folks! You have certainly been busy!

safety shower eye wash station said...

My grandmother have wild strawberries and also a garden full of freshly ripe organic strawberries.

Michelle (Health Food Lover) said...

You know it's synchronicity because just today I was thinking of buying some more liquid extracts and I thought maybe I should just make an Elder tincture! Also I have my own calendula oil the cupboard!! I love how bright and beautiful it is. It's great in salad dressings too. I love the strawberry love potion! Sounds delish!

Promosyon said...

Every-time I was buying from market and its price is high in small to big markets. Now onwards I think to make it at home and searching for that, your photographs are easy to understand better than description.