Thursday, May 05, 2011

Herbsteading 101/ Herbal oils



            I'm not sure herbsteading is even a real word, spell check is having a fit, but it's perfect for my next endeavor: a herb farm! We have 2 acres on top of a hill with alot of sun, we've always wanted to do something on the side that would bring in a little extra income, plus this would cut down on the mowing alot since I plan to turn most of the yard into herb beds, perfect! This is in the planning stages now, a infant of a dream but one that can be easily turned into reality. 

     Herbs are easy to grow, most are drought friendly and grow like weeds! I've had this passion for herbs for 2 decades now, and I'm not getting any younger, so it's now or never! With little overhead to get started, this just makes sense. Labor will be the biggest issue but by starting now, I hope to plant the beds next spring. I'm preparing the beds by marking them, covering them so the grass will die back and by adding the lasagna method over the next 3 seasons, the beds should be ready next spring. 

     With all the excitement, I can't wait to play with herbs and have such a positive response to herbal crafts that I'm going to learn to make soap this year, using my own herbs and flowers. I've aways wanted to learn so now is the time. I have already made my own herbal oils and salves, which I love to make and give as gifts. I've had a peek interest in this subject so I thought I'd share how easy it is to make your own herbal oils, the first in herbsteading lessons.

Herbal Oils 101
Oil infusions are made my simply adding herbs to oil and allowing the sun to slowly blend the two. Start by filling a quart size mason jar 1/3 full with your herb of choice, pick one you will use in your cooking or salve making, the next lesson here. A popular choice would be rosemary, great for grilling too! Fresh is always better but with this herb, you can get away with using dried. Fill jar with olive oil. I buy mine at the dollar store and usually stock up at that price. Place jar in a sunny window, shaking once a day for about 2 weeks. To use the oil, strain with cheesecloth as needed and refill as needed also.  Another method is by placing ingredients in a small or old crockpot and allow to simmer all day on low. Both ways work well and once you have your oil ready to use, salve making can begin.

     Stayed tuned to salve making 101 next,  and follow us along on our herbsteading journey, I just know this will be beneficial to us and many others who enjoy herbs and lessons learned from them. May the power be with you! :)

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