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Do It Yourself

10 June 2015

Vitex: For Every Cycle of a Woman's Life

Written by Flora, Posted in Do It Yourself, Herbal Medicine, Women's Wellness

by Jessica Godino

vitex plant 600x400Outside my window a lovely little shrub with silvery leaves and clusters of purple flowers is just beginning to bloom. Not only is this plant one of the most beautiful in the garden, it is also one of the most valuable herbs in my medicine chest.

Vitex, also known as Chasteberry or Monk’s Pepper, has an ancient reputation as an an-aphrodisiac for men. The leaves were strewn at the feet of novices as they entered the monastery. However neither modern science nor practical experience supports this particular use of the plant.

28 May 2015

Fermentation Basics: Lacto-Fermented Apple Chutney

Written by Flora, Posted in Do It Yourself, Nourishing Foods, Women's Wellness

Lindsay Wilson brought so many yummy fermentation recipes to her class at the Fall Conference 2014. We're going to post them here in a series, so come back and look for more! For our last installment, here's a sweet tangy favorite.

apple chutney 450x600Lacto-Fermented Apple Chutney
Makes 1 quart

3 cups fresh cut apples
1/2 cup water
grated rind of 2 lemons
juice of 2 lemons
1/8 cup of rapadura, sucanat
2 tsp sea salt
1/4 cup whey (separated from curds in raw, whole milk ideally)
1/4 cup sunflower seeds or chopped pistachios
1/2 cup dark raisins
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp coriander seed
1 tsp fennel seed

Mix all the ingredients except apples. Add the cut apples and mix well.

Pour into glass quart jar. Cover with a little filtered water if they apples are not covered fully. Make sure there is at least 1 inch of space between top of apples and the lid.

21 May 2015

Fermentation Basics: Lacto-Fermented Pickles

Written by Flora, Posted in Do It Yourself, Nourishing Foods, Women's Wellness

Lindsay Wilson brought so many yummy fermentation recipes to her class at the Fall Conference 2014. We're going to post them here in a series, so come back and look for more! Our fourth installment: Pickles!

“Health and homeostasis require the humans coexist with microorganisms.” ~ Sandor Katz

pickles 450x600Lacto-Fermented Pickles
Makes about a quart

4-5 cucumbers (small/medium-sized)
2-3 cloves of garlic
2 Tbsp fresh dill or 1 Tbsp dill seeds
1 Tbsp sea salt
1-2 cups of spring/filtered water (or more if needed)
4 Tbsp whey
couple grape or oak leaves

If you don’t have whey, use one more tbsp of sea salt. I definitely prefer whey when I make my ferments, though.

Place the leaves (tannins in the leaves keep the pickles nice and crisp), garlic, and dill into the jar.

Pack the jar snug with quartered cucumbers (or smaller sections).

14 May 2015

Fermentation Basics: Ginger-Garlic Sauerkraut

Written by Flora, Posted in Do It Yourself, Nourishing Foods, Women's Wellness

Lindsay Wilson brought so many yummy fermentation recipes to her class at the Fall Conference 2014. We're going to post them here in a series, so come back and look for more! For our third installment, here's a standard favorite with a twist:

kraut 600x600Ginger-garlic Sauerkraut Recipe
Makes 1-2 quarts

1 medium cabbage head, cored and shredded
2” chunk grated ginger
2-4 cloves garlic, minced
1 T sea salt
4 T whey (if not available, 1 more T sea salt)

In a bowl, mix cabbage, garlic, ginger, sea salt and whey. Squeeze with hands for about 10 min to release juices.

Place in a quart-sized, wide-mouth mason jar and press down firmly you’re your fist (or a wooden pounder) until juices come to the top of the cabbage (add a little water if needed).The top of the cabbage should be at least 1 inch below the top of the jar.

12 May 2015

Make a Wild Salad

Written by Corinna Wood, Posted in Corinna's Corner, Do It Yourself, Herbal Medicine, Local Plants, Nourishing Foods

2015.4.3 corinna nettles - med cropI know many of you have already been getting out into the garden and woods to harvest the edible wild plants this spring. With so many abundant edible “weeds,” making a wild salad can be a simple, quick dish that delights the eye as well as the palette.

To make an easy wild salad, I usually pick one mild-tasting, wild edible herb for the foundation -- like chickweed, violet, or lambsquarters. Of course, it's fine to mix in some fresh, local spinach or lettuce leaves to get you started.

Then throw in smaller quantities of dandelion leaves, ox-eye daisy leaves, and/or other strong-flavored wild edibles that you’re familiar with. If you have violet or dandelion blossoms blooming nearby, by all means, garnish your salad with those beautiful blossoms!

07 May 2015

Fermentation Basics: Hibiscus Whey Cooler

Written by Flora, Posted in Do It Yourself, Nourishing Foods, Women's Wellness

Lindsay Wilson brought so many yummy fermentation recipes to her class at the Fall Conference 2014. We're going to post them here in a series, so come back and look for more! For our second installment, here's a fizzy, refreshing treat: Hibiscus Whey Cooler

hibiscus cooler 400x600In all traditional cultures, brews and natural sodas were easy and effective ways to get the nourishment and medicinal properties of plants into the community’s bellies. Make sure to use filtered or spring water when making your preparations, sing to your ferments or dance while making them, and be patient...magic is happening!

Whey Cooler Recipe
Makes 2 Quarts

1/4 cup dried hibiscus petals (or 1/2 cup of chamomile, nettles, mint, etc)
1/2 cup liquid whey 
Juice of one lime or lemon (optional for extra tartness)
2 quarts filtered or spring water
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/3 to 1/2 cup sugar

29 April 2015

Fermentation Basics: Kombucha

Written by Flora, Posted in Do It Yourself, Nourishing Foods, Women's Wellness

Lindsay Wilson brought so many yummy fermentation recipes to her class at the Fall Conference 2014. We're going to post them here in a series, so come back and look for more! We'll start with a well-known favorite: Kombucha!

kombuchaIn all traditional cultures, brews and natural sodas were easy and effective ways to get the nourishment and medicinal properties of plants into the community’s bellies. Make sure to use filtered or spring water when making your preparations, sing to your ferments or dance while making them, and be patient...magic is happening!

Kombucha Recipe
Makes 1 gallon

3 3⁄4 - 4 quarts filtered water (or spring water)
1 1/4 cups of sugar
1 Kombucha culture
3 tablespoons or 7-8 bags black tea
1/2 cup Kombucha from previous culture

27 April 2015

How to Make an Herbal Infusion

Written by Flora, Posted in Do It Yourself, Herbal Medicine, Nourishing Foods, Women's Wellness

An infusion is a potent, powerful, medicinal tea. To make an infusion, the plant material must be steeped for a long time. We find the easiest way to do this is to prepare before going to bed and drink in the morning. Instructions gathered from Susun Weed.
quart infusion

To prepare an infusion:
1. Put one ounce (approximately a cup) of dried herb into a quart jar.
2. Fill with boiling water and cover (this traps the important volatile oils).
3. Steep for 4-10 hours.
4. Strain and drink.
5. Refrigerate the remainder to prevent spoilage.

 

23 April 2015

Rainbow of Flavonoids

Written by Flora, Posted in Do It Yourself, Herbal Medicine, Local Plants, Nourishing Foods

Juliet Blankespoor explains all the delicious benefits of a flavonoid-rich diet in this highly informative handout from the Southeast Women’s Herbal Conference 2014.

raspberries 400x600Imagine a bowl overflowing with color: garnet cherries aside crimson and golden raspberries, blueberries the color of a summer sky, resting against the blush of rose petals. Juicy and alluring, tempting you with vibrancy that promises fresh sweetness. Our intuition is fine-tuned to spot vitality and nutritional density. Humans are naturally drawn to bright colors in our food—the invention of food coloring testifies to this phenomenon. There are a wide variety of compounds lending their color to food; flavonoids are some of the most researched and widely represented colorful phytochemicals in the plant world. It is refreshing to dive deep into the well of tradition and science, both of which describe the medicinal virtues of these tasty treats.

21 April 2015

Homemade Golden Granola

Written by Flora, Posted in Do It Yourself, Nourishing Foods

Here's one of the yummy recipes from the Fall Conference. It is super easy to make and is a delicious source of whole grains. Treat yourself.

golden granolaGolden Granola
Makes almost 2 quarts

2 cups rolled oats
1/2 cup slivered or sliced raw almonds
1/2 cup sunflower seeds
1/2 cup sunflower seeds
1/2 cup shredded coconut
1/4 cup sesame seeds
1/2 cup syrup
1/3 cup sunflower oil (can be replaced with safflower or coconut oil)

10 April 2015

Wildcrafting Tips

Written by Flora, Posted in Do It Yourself, Herbal Medicine, Local Plants

imm out 2015 6 536 cropped lo resWildcrafting is fun and exciting, a bit like a treasure hunt. You'll come home with lots of fresh, edible and medicinal treasures from your bioregion. Here are some tips to get you started.

1. Start with a few easily recognized plants, and get to know new plants slowly.

2. Study the poisonous plants that grow in your area, and always know whether the plant you're harvesting has any poisonous look-alikes.

3. Always be sure you have identified a plant correctly, either through the use of a field guide or an experienced harvester.

08 April 2015

Delicious Nettle Recipe

Written by Flora, Posted in Do It Yourself, Local Plants, Nourishing Foods, Women's Wellness

The first stinging nettles are starting to pop up! A renowned wild food delicacy, their sting is neutralized by cooking (wear gloves when harvesting!). Here is Corinna's favorite way to bring nettles into her kitchen...

Nettle cream soup 600 x 400Rich Russian Nettle Tonic
from Healing Wise by Susun Weed

4 cups stinging nettle tops
1 cup water
2 cloves garlic
1/2 cup sour cream
salt to taste

03 March 2015

Wild Green Garlic Medicine

Written by Corinna Wood, Posted in Corinna's Corner, Do It Yourself, Local Plants, Nourishing Foods

cw facebook profileHungry for a bite of green medicine? One of the most potent wild edibles of the cool season is actually wild garlic, a common volunteer in lawns and gardens. Wild garlic belongs to the same genus, Allium, as both garlic and onion, known for their medicinal benefits--from boosting immunity to tonifying the heart and circulatory system.

Tromping along my favorite walking path, I usually stop to marvel when I reach the cool spot along the path’s edge where the garden meets the woods--poking up through the dead leaves, are oodles of tangled clumps of wild garlic! I grab some of the savory greens to munch on as I walk. If I have a bag handy, I break off a large handful or two to bring back to the kitchen with me.

24 February 2015

Bone Broths

Written by Corinna Wood, Posted in Corinna's Corner, Do It Yourself, Nourishing Foods

2013.11 corinna  dylan at linville gorgeIn the winter, I always have some stock simmering on the stove. There’s something so comforting about that the delightful aroma and the simple, flavorful goodness of a hearty broth. It’s such a primal pleasure during these cold, cloistered months. It’s almost magical. My son came down the stairs one chilly morning recently, noted that I had three pots of stock going at once—chicken, beef and fish—and exclaimed, “Great! Let’s make some potato leek soup!”

Anything that can motivate a teen-aged boy to help chop vegetables has some serious mojo, indeed.

09 December 2014

Cooking Greens

Written by Corinna Wood, Posted in Corinna's Corner, Do It Yourself, Nourishing Foods, Women's Wellness

cw headbandWhen I cook greens, my technique tends towards the traditional Southern style. I use just about any dark, leafy greens, whether they’re cultivated—spinach, collards or kale—or gathered wild—dandelion, lamb’s quarter, yellow dock, sochan or nettle. When I say "Southern style," I mean chopped greens in a long, slow sauté (30 minutes or more) at low heat with olive oil, coconut oil, butter or ghee along with onions, garlic, a generous splash of vinegar and a dash of salt. When I’m feeling really daring, I’ll even add a little fatback. I cook those greens until the leaves are soft and limp (and yummy).

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