Welcome to the CRAFT-y Corner of my Web!
A place for my Workings, my Weavings ...
oh, and my more mundane crafts as well.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Herbalism: Elderberry Syrup

I noticed yesterday morning that Kara was coming down with a cold. Being that I have no intention of sharing in said bug, I started last night in dosing her with the organic Peppermint leaf & Elder flower tea (sweetened with honey as she isn't a tea fan).

I have made her spend the day napping on the sofa while I occasionally approach her with food, water and more tea. She's making good progress through the day, if only I could get her to stop throwing the blanket off when her body kicks into bug-fighting mode and her internal temperature goes up. I'm not frustrated with her, though, it's not her fault if she's not awake when she kicks the blanket off ... but fever serves a useful purpose in helping make the body an inhospitable place for a foreign invader (microbe).

To help bolster the fact that, at best, I'm going to get her to take 3 mugs of herbal tea (and I know she's only doing that to humour me) ... I decided to use the small stock of elderberries I had on hand and make up some Elderberry Syrup.

The ingredients are easy:

Gathered the ingredients together.
That funny looking red dish with the yellow brush-like thing  sitting
on top of it is my current culinary pride and joy. It's a grater that originates
in France and works like a dream for things like chocolate, nuts, garlic, ginger and
just about anything else I need to have grated really fine.

  • 1/2 cup of dried Sambucus nigra (Black Elder) berries -- they are the only variant of the Elder which has the scientifically proven flu fighting effect. The other variants make a tasty wine, syrup, or jam with lots of beneficial nutrition to them but not the medicinal effect that we're looking for here.
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup honey
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 tablespoon of freshly grated ginger
  • 5 whole cloves
You also need a non-aluminum pot to cook with, a wooden or bamboo spoon, a jelly straining bag (or cheesecloth) and clean jars to bottle the end result. 

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Herbalism: Making Tinctures ... pt1

So, I decided to do a little herbal brewing today.

Specifically, I'm making three different Tinctures: dried Echinacea root, dried Peppermint leaf, and dried Elder flowers ... or, at least, getting a start on them. It will take six weeks before they are ready for bottling.

I start by gathering my ingredients together. The herbs I picked up at Gaia Garden, an Herbal Apothecary in Vancouver (along with a few other supplies) ... eventually, I'd like to be able to garden (as in actually have space to have a garden) and these are three plants that will for certain be included. I'll explain the uses of the different tinctures when I reach the decanting/bottling stage.

Vodka, empty jar, label, dried Echinacea root.
It is really important to make sure to clearly label the infusion to show what is in it, when it was started and when it needs to be decanted. If it's the only thing I have on the go, it's easy to remember what's in it ... however, once a number of jars of various chopped fresh or dried herbs begin to accumulate, it becomes difficult to remember them all. Getting into a habit of labelling helps to prevent any confusion later.