All you Last year I made a batch of dandelion mead.
It was my first time and I had no idea what I was doing!
But it turned out great. Best thing you can do is at least try!
The other day was the first time I cracked open a bottle and got to enjoy it. It was light and crisp and super refreshing! The best thing I can compare it to is white wine. I think it will go quickly this summer.
To make it I picked several cups of dandelion flowers, put them in a big ceramic crock, poured roughly half a cup of honey over it and filled it almost full with filtered water. You can also use spring water for a better taste and more nutrition.
After mixing all the ingredients together to introduce some air flow, I covered it with a dish towel and let it sit. Stirring it a few times a day, I noticed after a few days that it bubbled and fizzed. Those were the natural yeasts getting to work!
After a week or so, when the bubbles started to wane, I strained it into a growler with an airlock and let it sit for four months. After four months I bottled it in old wine bottles and VOILA!
Excellent, hand made drink that is practically free.
I whipped up this boutique drink, pictured on the left, with the mead because I wanted something a little bit prettier.
I filled this glass with ice, squeezed some frozen elderberries through a strainer and picked dandelions and violets. That's it!
It was so delicious and I drank a bunch.
Ahhhh, spring. There's no better feeling than everything bursting into life. I couldn't wait to get out of the house this year and was so excited to get my bare feet in the dirt. There's so much to love about spring. Getting the garden started, watching the young flowers bloom, watching the birds return, listening to the bees being busy...the list goes on and on.
Another beauty of spring is how the plants that are blooming are the best ones for our bodies at this time of year. We've been hunkering down all winter, reading, binging on Netflix, overeating, driving our loved ones insane...the second we have a chance...BAM! Out we go and into the wild. I love the flowers that bloom at this time of year and it's a welcome change to the bareness of my cupboards. Renewing my supply of all the teas and flowers that I use throughout the winter is an amazing feeling and one that our ancestors were all too familiar with.
Nowadays, things are a little different. We can easily stroll into the supermarket at 11 PM on a Wednesday and grab avocados, frozen blueberries and asparagus. It boggles my mind that we have access to so many foods at any time of the year!
But, then again, we really don't use that many foods anymore. We are down to only a few handfuls of different types of foods that we eat. We are missing out on so many amazing and delicious tastes and textures and vitamins and minerals!
That's another reason why I love spring. Dandelions, purple dead nettle, violets, chickweed, Japanese knotweed, young leaves of trees, catnip...delicious!! And these are all amazing spring tonics that your body is craving. Instead of depleting your stomach flora with cookouts, hamburgers, hotdogs and boring old corn on the cob, you should try a dandelion flower! If you are just starting I'd recommend picking off the green calyx because it can be bitter for some people, but that is another thing I want to tell you!
Bitter is a good thing. It stimulates our digestive juices, helps the good bacteria in our gut digest our food and heal our tummies. It cleans out and supports all the organs and cells in your body and gets things going again.
Now, I know. Food products these days are absolutely delicious. Like, addictingly amazing. It will be hard for you to swallow those new bitter foods when you can just go to the store and eat hydrogenated oils and corn syrup solids. It's going to take a while for you to adjust. But that's okay!
All you need to do is try something.
Take that first step and springtime will become even more incredible for you.
Now is a great time to garden plan! It's winter, the sky is grey and we all just want warmth and sunshine. Planning your garden now can be a great way to beat those wintertime blues.
Grab a notepad, your garden books, colored pencils if you are artsy and get to playing around! Think about redesigning your beds, companion planting or trying out a new crop; it can be so much fun.
I know many people love to have seed catalogs in their laps but this year I am going green and just using the internet. I have always loved a company called Sustainable Seed Company for many reasons. They are organic, they have free shipping under 40 lbs, tons and tons of old heirloom varieties and no seed catalog.
No seed catalog? But what will I do without a magazine in my lap and fun photos and descriptions?! How will I know what to order?!
We are an internet driven world these days and so many of us scroll through our phones all day, checking facebook and using wikipedia to outsmart our friends. But I love the idea of no paper waste and the fact that I can just use a website to see ALL of the seeds a company has to offer. Some companies will selectively include seeds in their catalog too, one so that they get you to buy a certain variety and two because that would be insane to give out free catalogs that are book size. Plus, searching is a breeze.
So why have another catalog when you use the internet anyway? Try it out this year and see what you think. You won't miss the feel of paper and that musty book smell if you have gardening books all around you!
What are you doing to help reduce waste?
Do you have a favorite plant that you cannot wait to see emerge from your compost rich soil?
It's Super easy to make your own scrub!
Ridiculously easy. When I first started making this I was flabbergasted at how easy it was and why I hadn't done it before. Plus, now I know that there are no chemicals or preservatives in it and I can play with ingredients throughout the seasons. Pumpkin spice scrub, anyone?
Find a container or jar that you enjoy.
Combine equal parts sea salt and oil.
That's right. You can play around with the amounts if that is too much oil for you but the sea salt I use is hand harvested and really seems to love the oil. You can use olive oil, argan oil, jojoba oil, walnut oil, anything really! I have not tried coconut oil yet but I'm sure if you melted it before mixing it in, it would be great too.
Slap a pretty label on that hog and gift away!
What have you tried? Anything else work for you?
Want to try mine out to see if you like it? Click here!
It's super simple to make your own body butter.
Yes, that's right, you heard me. SUPER SIMPLE. And I bet you have the ingredients already laying around because there is only one; coconut oil.
Coconut oil is everyone's obsession lately and for good reason. It's nourishing, it smells great and it does a lot of stuff. You already know about the oil pulling, split ends nourishing, skin quenching, teeth whitening power of coconut oil. I don't need to tell you!
But I do have a great way to make it easier to get out of the bottle.
I know, right? It's impossible to get out of the bottom of the jar! And forget about it if it's below 76 degrees.
Whipped Coconut Oil Body Butter Recipe:
Spoon coconut oil into mixer bowl.
Use wire whisk attachment.
Whip on high for a few minutes, 5 or more, depending on what consistency you like.
Once it looks like whipped cream and makes you drool, spoon it into jars.
That's it, babe! You did it and now you have a great home made gift for this Christmas as well. Whoop whoop.
Do you not own a mixer? I got you.
It's time to gather nuts here in New England! There are many foragers out there who are so used to scanning the ground, but what about looking up? There are many trees out there that go overlooked (no pun intended), that can offer us so much food and medicine.
Did you know that you can get fresh water from a sycamore tree?
Did you know that you can stun fish in an emergency situation (it's illegal, fyi) with hickory nuts?
Did you know that the crushed husks and leaves of the black walnut tree treats worms and other parasites in humans and animals?
Did you know that you can chew on black birch twigs for mouth health? They taste like wintergreen!
That outstanding vegetable oil can be squeezed from the kernels of beech trees?
That acorns were a huge staple food and can help lower blood sugar?
Did you know that Hemlock needles contain huge amounts of vitamin C?
Betcha didn't know that a bark poultice made from the hazelnut tree can help close cuts and wounds.
Or that Ginkgo Biloba was used externally as a wash to remove freckles and the tea and nuts boost oxygen circulation, even out mood, and help Alzheimers and attention span?
There are so many weird and fun uses for trees; just like there are for the shorter shrubbery that we encounter on a daily basis. If you only do one thing this fall, try and notice Oak trees. Look up and see how many there are and how different their leaves can be. The picture below has red oaks on the left and white oaks on the right.
White oak acorns have less tannins and need to be processed less than red oaks. You could pick up the acorn off the ground and eat one without it being too bitter! Where as red oak acorns have more tannins and will require leaching more so than white oaks.
Just noticing this small difference in oak trees can help you open your eyes to the many types of trees around you. And you can be so proud of yourself for properly identifying these! It's not hard; just crane that neck of yours up.
Autumn is such a great time. What are you favorite aspects about it?
Hyyge (Danish word roughly translated to coziness, Google it, it's amazing)? Brisk air? Warm apple pie? Bright blue skies with fall foliage? Honey crisp apples?