Archives for category: Recipes

Now that my poplar buds have been infusing in olive oil for a month, (see Part 1) it’s time to move on and actually make the balm.  In her Boreal Herbal, Beverley Gray calls this Boreal Balm, and also Balm of Gilead, and simply Poplar Bud Balm.  (I will never stop recommending that book. Go! Buy it!)

No matter the name, this balm is good for dry/itchy/cracked skin, burn treatment, minor cuts & scrapes, soothing inflammation & rashes, and generally preventing infection and speeding up healing.

Ingredients:

1 cup poplar-bud-infused olive oil

2 Tablespoons grated beeswax

contents of 2 vitamin E capsules image I’m sure pros either buy little beeswax granules, or have a much better grater set-up, but in a pinch, my kitchen cheese grater works fine.

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If you have a double boiler, great!  If not you can probably rig something up like I what I did with a sauce-pan and a Pyrex glass bowl.  Just be sure the upper portion can handle the heat. Strain out the buds from the oil (top up with more olive oil if you have to in order to get a whole cup), and SANITIZE whatever you’re going to put the finished balm in.  I had sort of an odd collection of little containers.  SANITIZE!  Just like for brewing – no sense wasting all your time and effort through laziness at the end.image

Fill the saucepan about halfway with water, and put your bowl or glass measuring cup or whatever you’re using on top.  Heck, a Mason jar would work fine.  Put the burner on about medium heat and melt the wax.image
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Then add the oil.  The temperature difference will make the wax go all lumpy, which is fine.  Let the wax & oil melt together, stirring periodically.image

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When the wax and oil are nicely melted together, add your vitamin E oil.  From what I understand it helps the balm last longer.  Then carefully pour your hot melted mixture into your sanitized jars.image Let them cool completely before you put on lids and label them.
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Easy-peasy, simple balm!  image

Do you ever look at those giant bags of garlic at the grocery store and think “Sure it’s a great deal, but I’ll never use it all before it goes bad”? Well here’s a super-easy way I’ve learned to preserve it, and avoid buying garlic powder ever again. (Learned from this article at Mother Earth News.  Really all this info is there, but I like pictures :-p)

Fair warning, your entire house will reek of garlic if you do this. It took me about half an hour of prep work and 4 hours of actual drying time.

First you have to peel and slice a lot of garlic. You want it sliced as thin as possible, and enough to cover a baking sheet in a single layer.

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The peeled stuff in this picture is nowhere enough.  It took me 5 whole heads to cover my baking sheet.

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Then you pop it in the oven on the lowest bake setting you have, and leave the door cracked open.  Remember, you’re trying to dehydrate, not cook it. Mine were on at 170ºF. I checked it and stirred it around a bit every hour and declared it done after 4 hours. Your timing will probably vary if you live in a really humid climate.  You want it DRY DRY DRY to where it crumbles or snaps when you try to bend a piece.

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Let it cool once it’s dry before you jar it.

You can grind it all up for powder now if you want, but it holds flavour a lot better if you just grind what you need as you go. It grinds up quick and easy into a fine powder in an old school mortar & pestle.

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I have no idea how long this stuff keeps, cause I always use it up before it turns, but at least three months so far with no signs of deterioration.

Jar, label & store out of direct sunlight. Use just as you would pre-made garlic powder, tho maybe a little less at first. I find this stuff packs a heavy flavour punch!

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This evening I finished up a batch of meditation incense that I’d ground up a couple days ago and then left to sit. The scents blend like flavours in stew if you let it sit overnight.

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I won’t actually buy Dragon’s Blood anymore, much as I love it, since I’ve learned about how badly overharvested it’s become, but I have a bit left from before that I figure I might as well use up. I’ve also made this blend with no Dragon’s Blood but double the cinnamon, and was still happy with it.