Category Archives: Garden Inspiration

Make Your Own Rosemary Water

I have been working on a couple of new face cream recipes using infused apricot oil with herbs/flowers from my garden. I thought the lotions would be even more nourishing if I used my own herb/flower waters instead of the rosewater I usually buy So, this morning I gathered a bunch of fresh rosemary from the garden and made rosemary water. It was so easy that I want to share what I did with you so you can make it. You can also use other herbs or flowers but just about anyone has rosemary growing by them.

Rosemary is rich in antioxidants that nourish the skin and help prevent premature aging (such as droopiness and age spots). It has antiseptic and astringent properties making it a natural face cleanser and toner. Rosemary essential oil is used in shampoos to promote hair growth.

You can use your rosemary water as a face toner or body mist. You can also use it in cream recipes instead of distilled water.

  1. Gather about 6 handfuls of fresh rosemary. I left the rosemary leaves on the stems.
  2. Get your biggest stainless steel or glass pot and place a medium glass bowl in it (I used a round Pyrex dish). Place the rosemary around the bowl and cover it with distilled water (just enough water to cover the rosemary).

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    Ice covering the lid.
  3. Place the lid upside down on top of the pot and fill it with ice (I used a glass lid since that’s the lid that fit the tightest) . Turn the stove on low heat and let it come to a simmer (don’t let it boil). Once the ice has melted (it took about 20 minutes), I removed it and added more ice.

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    Steam rich in essential oils from the rosemary rises to the lid, condenses and drips into your glass bowl. Do you see the drops?
  4. I changed the ice twice and then I turned the stove off and let the rosemary water cool inside the pot before taking it out.

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    You can see the rosemary water in the glass bowl.
  5. Once your rosemary water has cooled pour it into a glass jar and keep it in a cool place. It will keep for 6+ months.

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    About to pour the rosemary water in an amber bottle.

What do you plan to make with your rosemary water?

Weeds are Awesome- Check out their Nutritional Value

One handy chart to have when you need to convince others that lots of weeds are actually edible and highly nutritious (Thanks Joybilee Farm for sharing):

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I love my weeds regardless of their nutritional value though…free greens in the Spring and Fall (and sometimes summer if it doesn’t get too hot)…YES, PLEASE!! Check out this huge bowl I picked the other day for dinner (cleaver tips, dandelion greens and nettles):

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Nevermind that it cooked down to just 2 cups of tasty greens

An Awesome Weekend Spent Outside Learning

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Our set up (mine is the one on the right)

This past week and weekend I attended the Florida Earthskills Gathering.  I had an awesome time learning, hanging out with friends, meeting new people, dancing, singing, walking, camping, etc. There are not enough words to describe how much I like going to these gatherings, they always make me feel like I am at home among people that share similar interests and lifestyles.

This time I learned a variety of hand skills such as Naalbinding. It is an ancient technique for making socks, mittens, etc that predates crochet and knitting. It originated in Scandinavia. The beginning can be a bit confusing, but I found it pretty easy to catch on. I also took a class on finger weaving, which for some reason was harder for me to catch on  but I do want to try it again at some point.

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I also learned to make a rug with cloth and a toothbrush needle. This is really easy and quick to make. It does use a lot of cloth but I have enough old clothes/fabric, I think, that I can use. I am also going to make one with the plastic bags I have to take with me to future classes (to keep my butt dry).

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I went on two herb walks and they were both great and entertaining. The first walk was with Green Dean , which, if you live in Florida, I would highly recommend you check him out. He does a lot of walks throughout the state.  On the last day, I went on a walk with Doug Elliott. It was highly informative and entertaining; not only did he teach us about a variety of plants but he also sang songs and told stories. I also highly recommend taking his classes and checking out his books. Plus, I saw my first bald eagle so that was awesome!

I also took a class on fermented foods. Even though I have been fermenting a variety of foods and learning as I go, I wanted to take an actual class with someone. So, I took Marissa Percoco’s class and it was awesome! One of her mentors is Sandor Katz.  We got to try 19 different fermented foods, including cocoa nibs and bamboo.  The class gave me tons of ideas on what to make next, the sky really is the limit. So, I am looking forward to many new fermented creations. I highly recommend taking her class if you can.

Some other cool things that happened at this gathering:

  • I got a massage
  • I sold a bunch of my stuff in the Ancestor tent
  • I met new people and got to hang out with friends I only see at the gatherings
  • I got to know the First Aid folks quite well. I had hurt my finger prior to the gathering and they took great care of it and me. One of the herbalists there was the Herbalista, which if you live in Atlanta I would check out.
  • I probably walked several miles a day from and to camp, up and down hill
  • Stewart and I took a Contra Dance class on the last night and it was so much fun! I don’t think I have ever been so dizzy! It was lead by Michael Ismerio and a local band played.
  • I got to spend 5 whole days outside which was awesome and very much needed

I am looking forward to the next gathering.

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1st rug finished. We are using it as a bathroom rug.

Busy in the kitchen with food and beauty products

It is only Wednesday and I am amazed at the number of things I have already made this week (I am not always this productive)! Here is a tour in pictures:

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Queen of Hungary Water with flowers, herbs, and apple cider vinegar-ready in 1 month

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Bacon curing in the fridge; recipe by Nourished Kitchen-ready Saturday

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Green Soap colored with Parsley. I am also making a lavender soap this morning.

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Vanilla oil- cut up vanilla beans with fractionated coconut oil

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Sauerkraut made with leek and cabbage. Recipe from the last issue of Taproot Magazine

Dehydrated Muscadines + Ginger Beer

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On Monday, we went and picked 2 1/2 gallons of muscadines at Weaver Berryland Farm located south of Atlanta. Every summer I drive down a few times to pick the variety of fruits they grow. The season starts with blueberries and blackberries, then figs, and finally muscadines. They also grow tomatoes, squash, okra and beans that they sell. We have also gotten pecans from them in the past.

Dried Muscadines

While picking, I saw that some had dehydrated on the plant. I picked a few and fell in love with the flavor. So when we got home, I decided to dry some of them to recreate that better-than-raisins taste. And, guess what? it worked! Not only did they feel the house with a honey smell while drying but they also taste just like honey. I am so excited that I found a way to preserve them that we both enjoy.

Here is what we did:

  • cut  muscadines in half and lay them on a tray (without the teflex sheet)
  • Set the dehydrator to 145F for 12 hours or until they fell plump like raisins
  • Let them cool and put them in glass containers. I am keeping mine out of the fridge since I think that enough moisture came out and they won’t mildew.

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Ginger Beer on the left and root beer on the right (before I mix it with Jun)

One of the local farms has been selling ginger for the past month and every week I stock up on ginger. It is so good fresh! Since I have had an abundance of ginger, I started a Ginger Bug in order to make Ginger Beer (recipe from Wild Fermentation by Katz) and Root Beer. The last time I made Ginger Beer people were raving about it so I decided to make it again. This is the second time this month that I make a batch of Root Beer since it is pretty tasty. However, it taste a bit too concentrated by itself. So, I usually  mix a glass bottle with half Root Beer and half Jun and let it ferment for at least a day.  This way it is much more enjoyable and really tasty!