The holidays are almost here, and for those who prefer to give thoughtful, hand-made gifts rather than supporting the commercialism of Christmas, herbal options offer a wonderful range of ideas. Here are some of the best:
Take a large handful of aromatic dried herbs based on your choice of fragrance and the properties of the plant. Mint, for instance, is refreshing and stimulating on the skin, while chamomile is soothing and relaxing.
Grind the herbs with a pestle and mortar, add 2 to 3 tablespoons of coarse sea salt and grind them together until they are well-blended. Stir in 4 tablespoons of water followed by half a teaspoon of extra virgin olive oil.
Seal it into an attractive jar and package it up with a label of dried flowers, or make it part of a gift set for your favourite bath lover.
These are great herbal gifts for honey lovers, and anyone else who has a sweet tooth. The honey can be drizzled over ice-cream, used as a spread or dropped into a cup of herbal tea or dark, aromatic coffee. It’s best to use raw, locally-sourced honey that has all the characteristics of your area. For the herbs, choose something flavourful like lavender or rosemary, combined with chamomile for relaxation. Fill a clean quart jar about a third of the way with dried organic flowers. Pour the honey over the flowers, making sure the flowers are completely covered.
Close the jar and stand it in a sunny spot, where the warmth will encourage the infusion of the herbs and keep the liquid from thickening. Turn the jar over one or two times every day for two weeks. For a stronger flavour, let it infuse for three or four weeks. During this time you may have to top up the honey, as it settles into the air pockets between the flowers.
When you achieve the level of flavour you want, strain out the remains of the flowers, seal it tightly, and store the honey in a cool, dark spot to keep it as fresh as possible.
From sweet herbal honeys to infused carrier oils and not-so-sweet vinegars, herbs show off their versatility. Mix champagne vinegar with rose petals and the leaves of lemon balm for a perfect accompaniment for salads, or infuse basic white wine vinegar with garlic, ginger root, and lemongrass for a powerful palate kick.
To make your infused vinegar, fill a 16-ounce mason jar with 1 cup of your chosen herb blend to 2 cups of vinegar. Press the herbs to remove air bubbles, which can harbour bacteria and cause your creation to spoil.
Cover the jar with a double thickness of waxed paper to prevent the fumes from corroding the metal, and store the bottles in a dark place at room temperature for up to 30 days, shaking regularly. After about two weeks you can start tasting it, and when you feel the flavour is right strain the vinegar through a coffee filter into your presentation jar.
To purchase your herbs or discover more ideas for hand-made herbal gifts that will save you money while thrilling your loved ones this season, contact us today. We have all the herbs you need.