Valerian Root Tincture

We’re currently potting up some of our young valerian and tincturing some of the older plants.  We’ve got plenty to share with you!  Small pots are $3, medium pots are $5 and large pots are $8.

Valerian grows very tall with beautiful, showy flowers in the summer.

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Valerian is one of my favorite herbs to help bring on peaceful, deep slumber or to relieve anxiety.  I keep it by my bedside to use when I wake up in the middle of the night so I can go back to sleep more quickly.  I also have a blend of valerian mixed with hops and chamomile that is nice to take in preparation for sleep.

Some people say valerian flower can be used to make tincture  (I have made one, but have yet to try it out), but the root is used more traditionally.

We made some tincture today so I thought I would share the process.

In spring, before the plant flowers, dig up the roots of a plant that has been growing for at least a year.  Some people find the smell very unpleasant (like dirty socks), but others don’t seem to mind!

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Margaret helps to wash the root.

Wash the roots very well to remove the dirt.

Chop the roots into smaller pieces.  At this point, they could be placed into the dehydrator to dry for tea, or you can place them into a jar to make a tincture. (It might be worth wearing some gloves for this process in case cutting the roots makes you sleepy!)

Fill the jar 3/4 full with the fresh root (if you’re using dried root to make a tincture, you’d only need to fill it halfway full).

Pour 50% alcohol (I use vodka) to the top of the jar.  Shake regularly and let sit for at least 4 – 6 weeks.

At that point you can strain and bottle and take about a teaspoon before bed.

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I like to suggest to people to start with a smaller amount and work your way up. It is said that about 5-10% of the population actually has the opposite reaction to valerian and it makes them excited!  For sleep troubles, I generally recommend trying 5-10 drops an hour before bed, and repeating the same amount of drops right as you go to sleep.  You can always increase the amount taken if you find you need a little bit more.  The standard dose is closer to a 1 – 1.5 teaspoons.

This is by no means an exhaustive look at valerian. Check out this article for more information and let me know if you have further questions!

If you’re local, come on out and pick up your own pot of valerian to grow in your garden!

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Make Your Own Chive Blossom Vinegar

Starting in late May and lasting through June, the garden is speckled with the vibrantly purple blossoms of chives.

Chives are a welcome addition to salads, vegetables, and eggs by adding their mild onion flavor.

Their blossoms are edible as well and can also be added to salads by pulling them apart into smaller bits.


Another simple way to use the flowers is to make a chive blossom vinegar.

Start by snipping the blossoms.  You’ll need a cup or two to fill a pint jar 3/4 full with the blossoms.

After collecting the blossoms, it’s a good idea to soak them for an hour or so in water.  This way any resident bugs can evacuate . We didn’t find any bugs in our freshly-opened blossoms, but if you do find them, consider changing the water another time to make sure they’re all out.

Towel dry the blossoms.

Lightly pack a sterilized pint jar with the blossoms and cover with vinegar.  I wanted the color of this vinegar to be lovely so I used white vinegar,  but generally I make my herb-infused vinegars with apple cider vinegar as if offers numerous health benefits on its own.

Place a piece of wax paper underneath the lid so that the vinegar doesn’t corrode the metal top.


For best flavor, infuse the chives into vinegar for 2-4 weeks before straining them out. After, keep the chive vinegar in a cool, dark location.

24 Hours Later

 

one week later

 

To recap, you’ll need:

  • 1-2 cups chive blossoms, soaked to remove any bugs and then towel dried
  • a sterilized pint jar
  • wax paper
  • enough white or apple cider vinegar to cover the blossoms

And then:

Add the chive blossoms to the pint jar and cover with the vinegar ensuring that all of the blossoms are completely submerged.  Place wax paper over the opening and screw on the lid. Wait 2 -4 weeks before straining out the chives. Store the vinegar in a cool, dark location.

This vinegar can be used wherever you might use vinegar, but I plan to use it mostly for salad dressings.

A simple Chive Blossom Vinaigrette could be made like this:

(for one cup)

  • 3/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup chive vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Dried herbs and snips of fresh chives (optional)

Place all ingredients into an empty jar, make sure the lid is on, and shake away!

 

 

 

Back to the Garden (+ the Littlest Permaculturist)

Today was the first day I really dug my hands into the soil for quite some time.  I’ve been putting it off for a few reasons — mostly because of the weather, but also because I’ve felt conflicted about whether or not I should invest the time when we will hopefully be moving in the next couple of months.

However, the soil still calls asking me to dip my hands in, refresh my immune system, and connect with the Earthly energies.  I couldn’t resist.

A lot of today was just clean-up.  I was very pregnant last fall and didn’t get the beds taken care of the way that I should have.

There were also little surprise tasks like baby garlic plants ready to be separated and begin life anew.  Hopefully somebody will be able to harvest these culinary delights in the fall!

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Healing Herbal Liniment

For me, the word “liniment” conjures up images of a very old-timey medicine cabinet.  But that certainly doesn’t mean that this old-time remedy won’t work well!  The fact that liniments have been around for so long just speaks to their effectiveness.

So what are liniments? Liniments are healing external applications that can be used for a variety of issues, depending on what herbs are included in the mixture.  Liniments can be used as a disinfectant for cuts and wounds, while they can also help to soothe sore and inflamed muscles and joints.  Some liniments are formulated for helping with circulation problems, arthritis, rheumatism, sprains, strains, and bruises. Continue reading

Farm to Table Through the Year – Free Ebook!

Today I’m happy to announce the debut of a new ebook, Farm to Table Through the Year: 12 Months of Fresh Food From the Garden.  This helpful book is a collection of growing tips, recipes, and inspiration for each of the 12 months of the year.  Continue reading